Across California and the Globe, Staff Team Members Pursue an End to Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day

0B2E17F5-98C3-48DF-A82A-F3EFD33B73A9Today is The Longest Day of the year and teams are doing activities from sunrise to sunset across the country and the world to fight Alzheimer’s. Staff members of the Alzheimer’s Association in Northern California not only work Monday through Friday to End Alzheimer’s, but pursue this passion to #ENDALZ in our everyday life as well. We have raised nearly $8,000 with 46 team members participating in activities from running, hiking, belly dancing, ice skating, painting, and more!

One of the things we enjoy most about this event is the flexibility, anyone can participate from any location, the options are endless! Each staff member on our team signed up for a time shift during the 16 hours and is doing a different activity in a different location. We may all be in different places today, but we are in all in the fight to end Alzheimer’s Together!

0D547A7B-D342-4B37-8FB7-30E8A057AB6ECheck out our Development Director, Dagmar, who is running in Germany “I just finished my run here in Germany in honor of my Grandma who passed away with Alzheimer’s disease. I started and ended at the house my Grandma lived in and I grew up in. It was a great and meaningful start to my day, and I hope you enjoy your The Longest Day Activity today.

Team member Stephanie shares what The Longest Day Means to her…

Hello from San Clemente!

FullSizeRender (8)I just finished a run on the Pacific Coast Highway along San Clemente Beach.  It was beautiful – warm, sunny, and scenic!  Beachcombers were searching for treasures, the lifeguards were setting up their stands, surfers were waiting for the next set, and dolphins were frolicking in the water.

I am a member of the AlzActive, the staff team for the Alzheimer’s Association Northern California Northern Nevada chapter. Our team of 22 staff members will be continuously active for the 16 hours of daylight today – Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The Longest Day honors the people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.  y being active for 16 hours, we symbolize the journey that our families are on. The event also raises awareness of the disease and much needed funds to provide support services and monies for research.

My connection to Alzheimer’s is through the work I do as a Family Care Specialist with the Alzheimer’s Association. I work with and support people with Alzheimer’s/dementia and their families by providing counseling and consultation to help them navigate their way on this long journey. I also facilitate support groups, for people in the early stages and for caregivers, and provide disease education and training to the community and professionals. My job is the easy one – our folks with the disease and their support systems have the difficult challenge of living and coping with this disease.  

One of the best parts of my job is the 2 support groups I facilitate for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. You might think that this would be depressing but it’s not. There are times that we shed tears but, for the most part, it’s hopeful and fun. We discuss their symptoms and challenges and we find ways to cope with these changes. We talk about things that are going well, the small victories they experience. We have friendly competitions on how many miles they’ve walked that week.  And we laugh a lot – laughter is the best medicine. I am participating in the Longest Day and running to honor and show my support for my friends in the Early Stage Support Group and all the people with Alzheimer’s/dementia and their support systems that I work with on a daily basis.

I chose to run because I am traveling this weekend – spending the weekend with my family to celebrate my niece’s graduation from high school and Father’s Day. Running is an easy activity to do when you are traveling and this event is easy to do with family and friends who are not geographically near one another. That is one reason it’s unique – you can be part of a team, part of a community, part of the solution, without physically being together. And with technology and social media, it’s easy to stay connected and see how my teammates are doing throughout the day. And, at sunset, I will celebrate the end of the Longest Day with them virtually.

Stephanie Bonigut