Worldwide, there are an estimated 47 million people living with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and more than 5 million of them are in the United States.
“The Longest Day,” an annual event of the Alzheimer’s Association, aims to be a day of hope dedicated to all those affected by the disease. It’s meant to symbolize the challenging journey of those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. The goal is to ignite a conversation about the disease, the brain and other types of dementia as part of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month (which runs throughout June).
Participants will raise funds for Alzheimer’s Association care, support and research programs. Each chooses what activity they will do in exchange for donations. Some people will bike, hike or swim. Other will play games or pursue hobbies such as knitting. Each will do so in honor of someone living with Alzheimer’s, a caregiver or in memory of someone lost to this devastating disease.
Ann Dunkin, of Kingsport, a support group facilitator who has heard touching stories from local families about their journeys with Alzheimer’s, will dye her hair purple — the official color for Alzheimer’s awareness — on “The Longest Day.” Just how purple it gets depends on how many donations Dunkin is able to raise: if she totals $1,000 or more, it will be full-on purple; if she totals $500, she will dye purple streaks.
Mac’s Medicine Mart will be doing a fun day of raising awareness at the store on “The Longest Day,” and Molly Ebbert will be hosting a lemonade stand at the front of the Alzheimer’s Association Mid South Chapter, 2020 Meadowview Parkway, Suite 100.
In Johnson City, Richard H. J. Long Sr. will be raising awareness among his friends, family and community.
“The Longest Day is the future of fundraising,” said Kelsey Williams, manager of development for the Alzheimer’s Association Mid South Chapter. “It allows people to honor those they love in a truly unique way. Participants have the power and opportunity to design how they want to raise awareness and funds in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.”
If you want to join a team, host an event or register as an individual, visit alz.org/thelongestday for facebook.com/fightalz.