GREENVILLE — The weather was perfect for The Longest Day Alzheimer’s Association fundraising event at the Brethren’s Retirement Community (BRC) Wednesday. The wind persistent but welcoming for BRC residents and staff, State of the Heart Care staff, and community members walking around the pond at the back of the building.
Holly Hill, BRC Chief Marketing Officer, explained how six laps around the pond equal a mile with laps to be logged all day. The plan was to keep at least one person walking around the pond from sunrise to sunset to raise awareness and funds in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, primarily affecting those 65 and older, though it does affect younger individuals, and currently has no cure.
“We see people every day impacted by that disease, caregivers living with that disease,” said Hill, explaining that to hold the event at the BRC is, “a good way to raise money, awareness, and to give back.”
The daylong event, inspired by the longest day of summer, included several entertainment venues from Mandy Rismiller singing in the afternoon to Noah Back in the evening, a fundraising pie-in-the-face, with food trucks a new addition, along with an evening butterfly release.
The closing ceremony included the lighting of 65 luminaries.
This year’s The Longest Day was the first co-partnership with the State of the Heart Care with Megan Stull, Community Outreach Specialist, and Erica Wood, Business Development Specialist, taking an opportunity to walk around the pond, while also providing information on the event for attendees.
Other fundraising walkers included Cheryl Hughes and Phyllis Buckingham.
“Our goal is to see the first survivor,” said Hughes, a BRC employee for the last 38 years. “There are some great things on the horizon, new injections they are looking at.”
For Hughes, the day hits close to home. She cared for her husband, who suffered from the disease before passing last November.
“He had a seven-year journey, so it’s personal,” continued Hughes who was grateful for the opportunity to take care of her husband until his passing. Her work in the BRC enhanced memory care provided her with ideas to take care of him at home.
Buckingham was also a BRC employee, recently retired after 58 years, showcasing her love for the work and her passion for patients in the community’s memory care. She shared how employees would draw names and purchase gifts for the patients at Christmas, with Santa Claus handing them out.
“Always makes their eyes light up when they see Santa Claus,” said Buckingham.
Katie Luce, BRC Director of Assisted and Enhanced Living, was another individual doing her part to represent and support the event.
“It’s something that we see every day [Alzheimer’s disease] and the impact that it has on the people themselves and the caregivers,” said Luce, explaining staff would participate throughout the day too, “do our part to find a cure.”
While a few individuals made a stop at the food trucks or began to assemble for the first afternoon entertainment, another set began their first lap including Karyl Woolery, BRC Assisted Living Activities Coordinator and BRC resident Bob Boyd.
At 93 years young, Boyd was more than ready to put in a few laps for the cause.
All proceeds from The Longest Day benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, Miami County.