Alzheimer’s Walk honors fallen supporter

Rachel McAuley Staff Writer

October 26, 2013

LAURINBURG — On a crisp Saturday morning, about 60 people walked down Laurinburg’s Main Street to help raise money for Alzheimers research — and in honor of a fallen facilitator and former chair of the Pilot Club of Laurinburg.

Gillie Edwards, a member of the Pilot Club for 20 years and a friend, a mother and grandmother recently was remembered for her dedication to promoting brain awareness. She was instrumental each year in organizing the annual Alzheimers Walk, which raises money for Alzheimers North Carolina Inc.

“Everything we’re doing today is in her memory,” said Alice Watkins, executive director of the statewide organization. “She will be missed.”

As participants of the walk registered and gathered inside a conference room in the Gibson Education Center, Watkins and Margaret Herring, co-chair of the Pilot Club, spoke about Edward’s unwavering dedication to the Pilot Club, their mission to support and educate about Alzheimer’s and thanked all of the participants for coming.

Everyone started walking around 10 a.m. When they returned, refreshments were set out and they regrouped back in the conference room to rest as Watkins explained that the more than $6,000 received in donations this year would be given to The University of North Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and Duke University, among other schools, for research and to assist families that have been affected by Alzheimers. According to Watkins, all money raised is used in North Carolina.

It was important to the friends and family of Edwards to honor her during this year’s Alzheimers Walk.

“She was a sweet, smiling, happy lady,” said Linda Simmons, Pilot Club member.

Alzheimer’s North Carolina Inc. is an organization dedicated to providing education, services and support to individuals with dementia, their families, health care professionals and the general public.

The Pilot Club of Laurinburg has a support group for the victims of Alzheimer’s in Scotland County and they meet every second Tuesday night at Scotland Memorial Hospital. They offer support and educate caregivers of the disease as well as provide a speaker to help with their mission.

Watkins said that the meetings are “to teach and learn from each other.” The club’s “mission is to promote brain awareness” and the money donated at the walk will go to research, educational outreach for families, professionals, clergy and law enforcements, caregiver support, counseling and support groups.

For more information about Alzheimer’s North Carolina, Inc. go to