“The Longest Day” is the summer solstice — the day with the most light — which falls this year on June 20. It’s also the day each year that people all over world battle “the darkness of Alzheimer’s” through fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association (AA).
All proceeds raised in the annual daylong fundraiser go to patient and family care and support, and for research into the progressive neurological disorder that affects about 5 million people in the United States and more than 50 million globally. Efforts to find a disease-altering treatment for Alzheimer’s, let alone a cure, have long been confounded.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the association is recommending that Longest Day participants this year try virtual fundraising efforts and adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when planning in-person activities.
“While participation in The Longest Day may look a little different this year due to physical distancing, we have plenty of fun ideas you can do at home to engage family, friends, and coworkers,” the Alzheimer’s Association states on its website.
Community members are encouraged to turn an activity they like to do into a fundraiser. Once participants come up with an idea, they can visit the AA website here to get started. The process involves registering, establishing a fundraising page, and inviting people to either donate or help raise funds. Longest Day staffers will help with tools, tips, and coaching.
There are a half dozen categories of possible event activities from which to choose: exercise, games, hobbies, sports, parties, and the arts. Ideas include indoor cycling, live-streamed video games, baking, bowling, cookouts, and crafts.
Suggestions specifically for at-home fundraising include creating a contest or sporting event using supplies from around the house, and asking friends to do the same. Those fundraising can try live-streaming a yoga routine or dance class, hosting an online talent show, using their skills to virtually teach a class, hosting a live cake-decorating contest, or playing bridge online.
In addition, participants are asked to share their reason for fighting Alzheimer’s, and to be featured in the AA gallery. To do so, supporters can take a selfie or a photo of someone being honored, or make a video letting people know why The Longest Day is important. Posts can be shared on social media using the hashtags #ENDALZ and #TheLongestDay.
After registration, participants will be provided with a fundraising web page and tips and tools to help them reach their goals. Resources include a participant kit to help turn a favorite activity into a fundraiser, help with creating a Facebook Fundraiser, a mobile app for text messages or check depositing, posters and flyers, email templates, and ways to connect with other supporters. Go here to request more information about participating.
“Look at this time as an opportunity to involve more people than ever before. You’re no longer restricted by proximity — friends and family from around the world can join your online activity!” the AA website states.
In lieu of an activity, supporters may simply set up a fundraising page, perhaps incorporating an upcoming event such as a birthday or graduation.
The Alzheimer’s Association is an international organization, and global teams, listed here, are involved in this year’s fundraising effort.
According to the organization, the annual global cost of dementia is $818 billion. This year, Alzheimer’s disease will cost the U.S. $305 billion, a figure expected to rise as high as $1.1 trillion by 2050. By 2030, the number of people living with dementia worldwide is expected to reach 75 million.
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