Combat veterans march to Ann Arbor raises record amount to help fight Alzheimer’s  


Meet Tim Welbaum – he’s someone you are going to want to meet.

Welbaum is a local combat veteran who recently marched 33 miles from the Visiting Angels in Adrian to the Ann Arbor Alzheimer’s Association’s Great Lakes Chapter to raise donations toward riding the world of Alzheimer’s. Welbaum is owner/director of Visiting Angels South Central Michigan which provides elder care services to families all over the area.

During the spring of 2018, Welbaum and Scott Doney, who also is a combat veteran and is administrative director for Visiting Angels South Central Michigan, developed the “Vets March to End Alzheimer’s” Campaign.

“We took our campaign and partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association Great Lakes Chapter out of Ann Arbor to raise donations for furthering research toward ending Alzheimer’s, in addition to funding free support programs throughout our local communities for those impacted by Alzheimer’s and their family members,” said Welbaum.

The idea quickly gained recognition which led to an abundance of support and encouragement from communities throughout Michigan.

“We established an extremely lofty goal for 2018, determined to raise $33,000 which would represent $1,000 for every mile we planned on marching,” Welbaum said.

After fundraising from countless street corners under the blazing sun, hosting numerous bake sales, cheer leading about the march at the fairgrounds, being invited to interview on various radio shows, telling our story in multiple media outlets, and ruck marching 33 miles, their campaign crushed its original goal, raising $68,404 throughout 2018 toward ending Alzheimer’s!

The duo didn’t just walk from Adrian to Ann Arbor – they “Ruck” marched the 33 miles, military style while wearing 35-40 pound “Ruck Sacks” on their backs.

“It was the most difficult physical task either of us had ever taken on throughout our military careers,” says Welbaum. “The pain however is nothing compared to those who suffer on a daily basis from Alzheimer’s disease, and the sorrow it causes so many family members trying to understand the unfair disease.”

One of the funny challenges that Welbaum tells of the 33-mile adventure, includes hitting a dead end road along the route, and having to actually march an extra mile, bringing their actual total marched to 34.1 miles. They were also stopped by police in Tecumseh around 4 a.m., after dispatch had received numerous calls from concerned residents who didn’t understand why two guys were carrying military back packs through town.

After stepping off at 2 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2018 the Vets wrapped up their 34.1-mile ruck march in Ann Arbor, ending with loud cheers and cow bells ringing throughout the parking lot of the Alzheimer’s Association from a warm and welcoming crowd full of friends, family and staff hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association. The duo decided to make this an annual event, one they plan on continuing to grow.

The Vets March to End Alzheimer’s Campaign helped Visiting Angels South Central Michigan become the top fundraiser in Michigan, and place within the top 10 fundraisers nationwide. Welbaum and Doney were recently invited in January to attend the 2019 National Alzheimer’s Association’s Summit where they were recognized for their achievements, and educated on the latest exciting advancements in the battle to rid the world of this dreaded disease.

“We have been humbled and amazed with the generosity from so many people who supported us,” Welbaum said. “Every day was a feel good story that ended with a smile and additional donations raised for this beautiful cause.”

The march toward the 2019 campaign has already begun. To donate: 

1) Send a check made out to the “Alzheimer’s Association” to the following address: Visiting Angels, 235 N. Main St, Adrian, MI 49221

2) Make an online contribution for immediate credit to the Vets’ Campaign through the Alzheimer’s Association at the following link:

All Donations made to the Alzheimer’s Association are tax deductible. The Alzheimer’s Association is a not for profit, 501c3.

“The best part is that these funds will be dispersed back into our local communities for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and their family members through programs and support groups offered at no cost,” Welbaum said. “I believe our success was due to many generous residents throughout Ann Arbor and I’d like to thank them and let them know what they helped us achieve.”

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