The last words her mother spoke to her before dying in 2017 are tattooed on Magda Rios’ right arm.
In Spanish, Ramona Rios had said that her two daughters are her two angels.
Sporting matching wings, the women — Magda Rios and her sibling Miriam Rios Santiago — were two of hundreds who attended Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Myrtle Beach.
Joined by friends and family, the sisters had shirts reading “Ramona’s Wings” with a photo of their mom. From Puerto Rico, she was diagnosed in her native state and initially hid the disease from her daughters. When visiting Myrtle Beach a few years ago, her family noticed when she didn’t recognize her granddaughter.
The event itself takes place each year in more than 600 communities in the U.S. and benefits the Alzheimer’s Association. The group provides care and support to those facing Alzheimer’s, drives research and speaks up for the needs and rights of people affected by the disease, according to the organization’s website.
Over 900 people and 100 teams participated in this year’s local fundraising efforts. More than $149,000 had been raised as of Saturday afternoon.
At Grand Park in The Market Common, walkers joined as they lifted colored flower pinwheels in the air, each shade signifying one’s reason for walking.
A blue pinwheel means one has the disease — a form of dementia — orange meaning one supports the cause and a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s, which organizers said more than five million Americans have.
Purple ones were held by those who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s like Summer Klein and her mother Ruth Klein, whose mom and grandmother had the disease.
Yellow meant an attendee supports or cares for someone with the disorder, with such a pinwheel being held by Kristie Zander. She attended the event with her husband Steve and walked in honor of her brother-in-law who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
A single white pinwheel is meant to show the hope for a cure.