A few weeks back, we celebrated the 72nd anniversary of “The Longest Day” — the Western Allies’ D-Day invasion of Normandy during the Second World War — its moniker popularized by war correspondent Cornelius Ryan’s same-titled, bestselling book (and the subsequent 1962 cast-of-thousands film adaptation of it).
But did you know that there is another Longest Day that we observe every year in June? No, we don’t mean the summer solstice — at least, not directly — although the other Longest Day and the summer solstice always (and intentionally) coincide.
We of course mean The Longest Day fundraising and awareness-raising event, promoted by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Calling attention to the long fight by people with dementia and their caregivers
Occurring on the day that, in the Northern Hemisphere, has more hours of sunlight than any other day of the year, The Longest Day “symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with [Alzheimer’s] disease.”
Just as the sun keeps many of us awake longer on the summer solstice, giving us little rest, there is little rest for people with Alzheimer’s, nor for the loved ones and providers who care for them.
The Alzheimer’s Association asks everyone to take time on this day to take action and raise funds that can be put toward finding better treatments for cognitive disorders. The event lasts from sunrise to sunset. This year, it falls on June 20.
How The Longest Day works
On The Longest Day, self-organized teams from around the world commit to perform 16 hours of consecutive activity; many solicit monetary pledges from the community, with the proceeds thereafter donated to the Alzheimer’s Association’s care, support and research efforts.
Teams choose the activities they will perform. There’s no set format. Charity walks, marathon music performances, bowl-a-thons, sitting silent in one place — anything is on the table, as long as the team performing it commits to do it from sunrise to sunset on the summer solstice and to use the event to raise funds and awareness.
At sunset, the activity ceases and teams take time to reflect on how Alzheimer’s affects the lives of so many patients, caregivers, family members and healthcare workers worldwide. To give you an idea — in America alone, more than 5 million people are living with the disease; another estimated 15 million people are full or part-time care providers for people with Alzheimer’s.
The Longest Day in the Queen City
Here in Greater Cincinnati, the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association does a wonderful job of promoting the event and encouraging participation.
According to Lead magazine, 29 Tristate teams participated in The Longest Day last year, raising over $42,000 for Alzheimer’s disease research. Many of the teams that participated did so to honor loved ones or friends who have Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders.
Teams in Cincinnati participated in a number of creative ways last year, including dances, aerobics and an all-day walk-a-thon. The “EndAlz Sessions” team played music in a Cincinnati garage for 16 consecutive hours. And the Cincinnati Bridge Association and Northern Kentucky Bridge Association jointly hosted a marathon bridge game.
Will you be participating in The Longest Day this year?
The fight to find more effective memory care treatments for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia is of course near and dear to us here at Episcopal Retirement Services.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Cincinnati chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association — and to the national organization as a whole — for all the work they do to promote awareness and fund support services and further research.
We’d also like to thank all the teams throughout the Tristate that participated last year, and that will participate in The Longest Day this year. Will you be among them, standing against Alzheimer’s?
Search here for a Greater Cincinnati team to join. Or, form your own team and plan your event today!