About six years ago, Julia Torres was a 26-year-old mom with a second child on the way when she realized something just wasn’t right with her own mother, Diana.

At first it was small things, “quirky behavior,” Julia recalled, like Diana forgetting she had promised to babysit or being uncharacteristically argumentative. Then Diana gave Julia flowers.

“She bought me a bouquet for my birthday. In August. My birthday is in April,” Julia said through tears on Friday.

After recommending her mother see a doctor, Diana was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, becoming one of the five to 10 percent of people who are identified with the fatal degenerative disease before 65.

Julia assumed full-time responsibility for her mother’s care until Diana needed round-the-clock professional care. Diana is in Alzheimer’s late stage.

She doesn’t know her fearless, go-getter approach to life inspired her daughter to apply to law school, or that Julia earned a full-ride to attend Thomas Jefferson School of Law and is a third year student.

And she doesn’t know that Saturday Julia be walking in Diana’s honor at the Alzheimer’s San Diego Walk4ALZ event in Oceanside and will also be singled out as one the top earning first-time walking team leaders.

Julia’s 20-member team has pledged $2,265 toward finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and providing education and support for local families.

An estimated 65,000 San Diegans are living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia and another 200,000 are caring for them, most of them n the home. And every year, thousands of San Diegans participate in the walk — 700 are expected in Oceanside Saturday, with 3,000-plus more signed up for the Alzheimer’s San Diego Walk4ALZ in Balboa Park on Oct. 21.

Julia, who lives in Carlsbad, said it wasn’t easy taking the first steps to put a team together.

“I’m finally ready to scream to the world ‘we need to change something, we need to figure it out.’ Nobody knows what causes it, nobody knows how to fix it,” she said. “At this point, I’m just ready to yell to the world, ‘Help’!”