“It rained all day,” Glass said of his walk from Calhoun to Cleveland.
Without much of a route planned out, Glass is charting his course on the advice of those he meets.
“It puts a smile in my face to know I’m out here doing something good,” he said.
Saturday night found him at the Bradley County Fire-Rescue Tasso Road station, where Lt. Mika Vaughn let Glass stay for the night.
“Anytime I can’t find a camping spot I always stop at a police station and fire departments. First, for safety reasons, and they know [the local area well enough] they can usually find a place where I can go camp,” Glass said.
He said he was surprised at how nice people have been on the trip.
Glass said he has talked to others who have done long-distance walks for the cause of fighting other diseases and they have not received the response he has.
“Which tells me people want something done about this,” Glass said.
As he travels from city to city, Glass is working to promote local walks to end Alzheimer’s disease.
Cleveland’s walk will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway.
Glass’ journey began Aug. 5, after four months of planning.
He started to plan the route with stops along the way. Later, he decided to take a more spontaneous approach.
“I just stop and ask people what they think the best route would be from point A to point B,” Glass said.
Walking 20 to 25 miles a day is his goal.
“There are days I’ve only walked five. There are days that I have walked 30. Days I’ve only walked five, I am talking to everyone I come in contact with,” Glass said.
The walker said he was not prepared for the stories he would hear on his journey.
“Nothing could have prepared me … for the mental anguish of this walk. There are no good stories [about Alzheimer’s] I hear along the route,” Glass said.
He said everyone he has met has been affected in some way. Glass said the caretakers are “the unsung heroes of this disease.”
“I talked to a caretaker, he takes care of his cousin who is 26,” Glass said.
Three months of preparation were spent walking with the backpack he planned to use throughout the trip.
“I would walk eight miles to work and I would walk eight miles back from work every day,” Glass said.
Visiting larger Alzheimer’s Association chapters and going with them to visit local congressional offices is also a part of his trip.
Glass visited the Knoxville and Chattanooga offices during his time in the region.
During these visits Glass encourages the congressmen to pass the Hope for Alzheimer’s Act, which would provide additional funding for researching a cure.
He said billions of dollars are spent each year, mostly by Medicare and Medicaid payments.
“Right now Alzheimer’s disease is the No. 6 killer in America,” Glass said.
He said instead of decreasing in number, related deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased.
The disease has no known cure.
Glass said he wants to see a cure developed so other families do not have to go through what his family is going through.
Glass hopes to raise $10,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association through his donation page http://act.alz.org/goto/flowersformom.
“My mom has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed at age 69. She is 74 now, and she lives in Atlanta. I was in denial for a few years. I just really didn’t do a lot for my mom. I was just thinking what can I do to help my mom out,” Glass said.
Glass has developed a Facebook page where he gives updates on his journey.
“I am calling this Flowers for Mom, because, as a kid, I would always pick flowers in the fields around the house to bring to her to cheer her up. Even if they were weeds, she would always put them in a vase and set them on the dining room table or in the living room. I will be taking a single flower for her from Chicago,” he posted.
The journey will come to an end with the Alzheimer’s Association of Atlanta on a visit to a congressional office.
He said family and friends have been amazed and supportive.
For more information or to register for the Cleveland Walk to End Alzheimer’s visit http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=3694&pg=entry or contact Cindy Lowery at 423-265-3600.