x
Breaking News
More () »

Colorado man hiking 486 miles for his grandmother

Allan Harper is walking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — A 32-year-old house painter from Colorado Springs made it his mission this summer to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and funds to find a cure. Allan Harper is also a long-distance hiker and is making the 486-mile trek from Denver to Durango along the Colorado Trail as part of his fundraising effort with the Alzheimer’s Association.

“I planned to hike this year and thought, 'What's a better thing to do than to do it for a cause,'” Harper said. “I’ve got a few family members that have either passed from Alzheimer’s or are currently suffering through it.”

Credit: Byron Reed
Long-distance hiker Allan Harper is hiking 486 miles along the Colorado Trail for his grandmother Connie who has been living with Alzheimer's for the past 7 years.

Harper’s grandmother, Connie, was diagnosed at age 66 and has been living with the disease for the past seven years. He said he’s grateful to be hiking the trail from Waterton Canyon to the southwest corner to advocate for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families.

“It’s something that nobody should have to live with, the person that’s suffering with it or the family,” he said. “It’s such a sad thing when your grandmother… she doesn’t know who you are.”

Credit: Allan Harper
Allan Harper's grandmother Connie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease 7 years ago at age 66.

RELATED: Broncos players, staff to wear special cleats on Sunday

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 76,000 Coloradans are among the 6.5 million people across the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. They project that number to increase in Colorado to 92,000 by 2025, and to nearly 13 million nationwide by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh-leading cause of death and the only major disease without a prevention or cure.

“If we could find a cure, that would be excellent because nobody should have to deal with this,” Harper said. “But it’s going to take some work and hopefully more people like me will go out and at least just try to advocate for it at the very least.”

Credit: Byron Reed

RELATED: CU Anschutz researchers' Alzheimer's drug shows improved cognition for patients

Harper said he has a goal to raise $1,000 on his journey, collecting donations on social media platforms along the way. He said he thinks about his grandmother every stride he takes, and hopes the funds he raises are a step in the right direction to finding a cure. Harper said expects to make it to Durango by early September.

Credit: Byron Reed

“She’d be proud of it if she knew what was going on and that’s my motivation is to just make her proud,” Harper said. “(Alzheimer’s) can happen like that and just hold them dear and close and let them know how much they mean to you.”

Anyone who would like to donate to Allan’s journey can go to his Facebook page or the Hilltop Hikes team page on the Alzheimer's Association website, or give money through Buy Me a Coffee.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Latest from 9NEWS

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out