Criminal Minds Actors Make TV Spot for Alzheimer’s Awareness Event Called the Longest Day

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by Ana de Barros PhD |

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Actors on CBS’s hit television series “Criminal Minds” have made a commercial to promote an Alzheimer’s Association awareness event called the Longest Day on June 21.

The public service announcement builds on the show’s use of a character with Alzheimer’s to educate people about the disease. The commercial invites the public to take part in the Longest Day.

One of the series’ characters is Diana Reid, a woman with Alzheimer’s portrayed by Jane Lynch. Several episodes have depicted her struggles and those that her disease imposes on her son, Spencer Reid, an FBI analyst who is portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler, according to a press release.

In addition to inviting viewers to participate in the Longest Day, cast members in the commercial encourage the public to raise money to combat the disease and raise awareness of it. The actors in the commercial include Joe Mantegna, who plays David Rossi in the series; Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Penelope Garcia; and Paget Brewster, who plays Emily Prentiss.

The Longest Day is held every year during the summer solstice — the earth’s longest period of sunlight — to symbolize the challenge Alzheimer’s poses to patients, families and caregivers.

Those participating in the event can do what they enjoy the most – biking, hiking, playing bridge, swimming, knitting or any other activity – to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s.

To participate, choose an activity you love or that you used to do with someone you lost to Alzheimer’s. Anything goes: The only limit is your imagination.

Once you select an activity, you can join a team pursuing it, start your own team, or participate as an individual. If you’re team-minded, you can even start an anywhere team that includes friends worldwide.

Each participant is asked to raise funds to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s work. Its staff can help with tips and resources if you need them.

If you plan to host an event or be part of a team, please start organizing now, including sending out invitations. If you will be participating on your own, think about support you might need, like a photographer. Ask friends and family to help. Most likely they will.

Even if you participate by yourself, remember that you won’t be alone on The Longest Day. You will be part of a global movement to help Alzheimer’s patients. So share your photos, videos, stories and memories on social media, using the hashtags #thelongestday and #endalz.

The number of people with Alzheimer’s is soaring worldwide, and researchers have yet to come up with an effective treatment. The surge in patients adds billions of dollars to global healthcare costs.

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s, which is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The number of patients could rise to 16 million by 2050, the association said.

You can watch the Criminal Minds public service announcement below: