Dementia awareness

From left, David Klecka Jr., Jackie Klecka, David “Jack” Klecka Sr. Tomorrow, one year after David Klecka Sr. passed away from dementia, his family will host its first organized walk at Kiwanis Park near Guadalupe Road and All American Way in Tempe. 

An Ahwatukee Foothills family is hosting a walk in Tempe tomorrow, raising money for dementia awareness.

After the loss of her father last year, Jackie Klecka and her family were left with questions about their father’s rare type of disease. Klecka, owner of Red Mountain Steakhouse in Mesa, was diagnosed with Pick’s disease about 10 years before he passed.

Like the bigger scope of the disease, Klecka’s symptoms ranged from forgetfulness, depression, and an overall loss of focus and cognition.

“With every case it’s the same story,” Klecka said. “You watch them waste away.”

The family’s first organized walk will be tomorrow, Oct. 27, at Kiwanis Park near Guadalupe Road and All American Way in Tempe. Klecka said tomorrow will be one year exactly since her father’s death.

“Were trying to help people become aware of dementia,” she said.

The walk will feature booths for learning about dementia’s symptoms and signs, local support group information, as well as raffle prizes. All who attend the walk are also going to receive a Big Jack Klecka “Go Irish” T-shirt.

Proceeds from tomorrow’s walk will benefit the Chandler Village Oaks Memory Care Unit.

According to Klecka, about 50 people have already signed up for the walk.

“I’m excited,” she said, noting that the purpose is to educate the community about dementia’s warning signs.

“We have spent the last year researching this disease,” Klecka said. “We all have realized that we wish we could go back with what we now know.”

Kiwanis Park sits along the canal between Guadalupe and Baseline roads, just west of Rural Road. An entrance to the walk’s registration will be located off Baseline Road.

The walk requires a $5 donation. For more information about the walk or how to register, email Klecka at

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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