CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of people went to Montrose Harbor Sunday morning to raise money for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Organizers say the charity 5K walk brought in at least $1 million from the more than 5,000 people who registered.

Walkers wore purple shirts and carried flower wind spinners in different colors to represent whether they had lost someone to Alzheimer’s, had it themselves, cared for someone with it or just want to see a cure.

20170924 093852 Chicagos Walk To End Alzheimers Raises $1M

Colborn says research has taught us how to detect the disease, but they’re still looking for a way to stop it. (Photo: Nancy Harty/WBBM)

Erna Colborn, the CEO of the state chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says such private fundraising events are becoming more important as government funds for healthcare are under threat in Washington.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest non-profit funder of research in the world,” she said.

Colborn says many of the studies they support in the beginning are then funded by the National Institutes of Health.

In addition to research, money raised at the event will help caregivers through support groups, message boards and a hotline.

220,000 people suffer from Alzheimer’s in Illinois — the state has 27 such charity walks.