A Hudson Valley woman is planning to walk 115 miles in Italy to help end Alzheimer’s disease.

Karen Ganis of Mahopac plans to walk 115 miles from Palermo to Agrigento in Italy to honor her father who died 20 years ago from Alzheimer’s disease in June.

“I miss my dad every single day. My mom died from cancer. People ask me, ‘Why do you fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Association?’ Really, it’s because when my mom died, we were able to have a conversation; we were able to say goodbye. We could be at peace with the situation. But when my dad died, he was just taken from us. I do what I do so another family will not have to have that experience," Ganis said.

Her 115-mile pilgrimage will be a Longest Day fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley Chapter. The Longest Day encourages people to do any activity they choose, any time they choose to raise awareness and funds to help end Alzheimer’s.

Ganis hopes to raise $10,000 and plans to shoot short videos of herself on the trail in honor of different people every day.

“There’s eight days of hiking. I’m doing video myself doing little snippets of who I’m doing it for on each particular day. The first day and the longest day, I’m going to do for my dad. The next day, for my grandmother, my father’s mother. Then for three of my father’s siblings and my cousin, one of my aunts who had Alzheimer’s, and now her daughter has it. So for me, it’s a very personal mission," Ganis said.

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