Ten-year-old writes about The Longest Day® in middle school application

Brandon, an elementary school student in San Mateo County, shares how easy it was for him to get involved with The Longest Day. Based on his family’s experience, Brandon wrote an essay on how important it is to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research and care.

Brandon, who fundraises for The Longest Day, and his family
Brandon (left), Bert, Celina and Mom

Finding The Longest Day
Brandon first became interested in Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 after his mother heard about the Alzheimer’s Association® through her work. She mentioned it to her family and Brandon knew he wanted to learn more.

With the help of his dad, Bert, Brandon learned about The Longest Day. The Longest Day is the day with the most light — the summer solstice. On June 21, people from across the world fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through a fundraising activity of their choice.

Something the kids could do
Bert knew this was an event his seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter, Celina, could easily participate in. As a family they decided to set up a lemonade stand. “Our neighbor has a lemon tree,” said Brandon. “She let us get the lemons from her tree. We gave them to mom [to make the lemonade] and then sold them.”

Selling his lemonade for $1.50 per cup, Brandon and Celina raised more than $100.

Brandon and Celina at The Longest Day lemonade stand
Brandon and Celina at their 2019 lemonade stand

The next year, in 2019, Brandon’s family expanded their lemonade stand to include a musical performance. Bert invited family friends over to have their three daughters play their musical instruments while Brandon and Celina sold lemonade. This helped them double their previous year’s efforts, raising more than $200.

Since COVID-19 Brandon and his family have not been able to host another lemonade stand. However, they still encourage their friends and family to donate to The Longest Day. 

Writing an essay
In 2021, Brandon was asked to submit a writing prompt for an application to get into a middle school. Brandon wrote about his experience with The Longest Day. When Brandon was asked why he chose to write about The Longest Day he said, “It makes me feel good that I’m helping people who are in need. I thought it was an important thing to do in my life.”

Here is Brandon’s essay:

Prompt: Write about the biggest surprise of your life.
By Brandon

Have you done anything surprising to help some else? Maybe you have donated to a charity. Or, you may have participated in a food drive. I have donated money to the Alzheimer’s Community by selling lemonade, and it was very surprising to me. During the summer of 2018, my dad wanted me to help the Alzheimer’s Community by donating money. At first, I was confused. What was Alzheimer’s, and what did it do? I pondered over these questions at night, when I was on my bed. The next day, my dad patiently explained what Alzheimer’s was. It was an illness that removes chunks of your brain, killing your neurons. This makes the victim to lose some of their memory. Upon hearing this, I was shocked and sad. The people with Alzheimer’s would forget their good childhood memories, like going to a beach. They would forget about their relatives’ names! At that moment, I was determined to help the Alzheimer’s community. First, we went to our friendly neighbor. She had lemons for the lemonade, so we went to her house. I knocked on the door, and she came out. Our neighbor was very generous, and allowed us to take about ten of them. Second, my mom had to make the lemonade. I helped her mix up the juice. She then gently placed the cup in the fridge, making it colder. Third, my dad had to carry a table to our driveway. This was to hold the lemonade and posters. My dad is a strong man, with a lot of muscle, but he needed help on the table. With my little sister, we heaved the table inch by inch, the table crept closer to the sidewalk. After, my dad stopped the table. After setting the event up, we started selling the lemonade. A church is next to our house, so many people supported our cause. At the end of the day, we had earned a lot of money for the Alzheimer’s community. From this event, I have learned to show empathy to people in need. In the future, I hope I can share my experience with my community, bringing the problem to light.

Drawing of The Longest Day water bottle by Celina
The Longest Day water bottle drawn by Celina

Encouraging others
While Brandon is still waiting to hear if he was accepted, he encourages other kids his age to come up with their own events for The Longest Day. “The first time we did the lemonade stand, I thought it was hard, but it wasn’t that hard,” said Brandon. “The world and families [who have a loved one living with the disease] will be happier with a cure. They’ll be able to remember their families.”

Bert thinks The Longest Day is a great opportunity to help Brandon grow as a person and give back to his community. “The Longest Day has been a positive experience for Brandon,” said Bert. “I like that he is helping other people. It’s a good thing to start with other people’s needs.”

Brandon and his family plan to continue to support The Longest Day and hope that one day soon they’ll be able to start selling lemonade again.

The Longest Day is celebrated on June 21, but you can raise funds year-round. Start your fundraising today by visiting alz.org/thelongestday or join Brandon’s team, BCFA.

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