Alzheimer’s Association staff share how they raise funds for The Longest Day

We asked Alzheimer’s Associatio staff how they raise money to support one of our signature fundraisers, The Longest Day®. While the Alzheimer’s Association does not require staff to participate in fundraising, many staff members have personal connections to the cause and/or want to do their part to end Alzheimer’s. From bike rides to barbecues, our staff go above and beyond as part of the movement to end Alzheimer’s disease and all other dementias.

The Longest Day
The Longest Day is the day with the most light — the summer solstice. On June 21, people from across the world will fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through a fundraising activity of their choice. Whether you’re participating at home, online or in-person, there are plenty of fun ideas to engage family and friends in The Longest Day.

The Longest Day fundraiser at the office
The Longest Day fundraiser at the office

Lauren Hibdon

Family Services Manager
10 years with the Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s at home
While Lauren doesn’t have a direct family member who had Alzheimer’s, her mother was a caregiver for three women with dementia that lived in her home. Lauren said, “Although they were not my family, we considered them to be.” While working at the Association, Lauren’s husband’s grandmother was diagnosed with and died from Alzheimer’s disease.

Fundraising
Lauren loves to be creative when it comes to her fundraising, and over the last several years, she has come up with many different types of events. Some of them she does with her kids and some of them she does with her coworkers and members of the support groups she facilitates.

Lauren's daughter bowling for The Longest Day
Lauren’s daughter bowling for The Longest Day

“My kids usually sell baked goodies that we make from leftover Girl Scout cookies,” said Lauren. “They are both Girl Scouts who love to bake so we have turned the cookies into truffles, brownies etc.”

Here are few of Lauren’s favorite ways to raise funds:

  • Selling baked goods made by her kids.
  • Creating videos to post on social media asking friends and family to make a donation.
  • Setting up a “dine and donate” at one of the local restaurants (many restaurants will turn a portion of the proceeds into a donation).
  • Partnering with a local wine and paint company or bowling alley who will waive their registration fees for a donation.
  • Hosting a food truck party at the local Alzheimer’s Association office for volunteers, support group members, Association staff, and staff of the surrounding offices to enjoy. A portion of the proceeds will be donated.
  • Hosting virtual events for friends and family such as cooking and mixology classes.

“Without money there is no mission for the Alzheimer’s Association,” said Lauren. “I try to take things I enjoy and turn them into fundraisers. I am always looking for new ideas on how to fundraise.”

Lauren’s big event this year, a bowling fundraiser, has yet to happen. However, that hasn’t stopped her from raising funds. As of the posting of this blog she’s raised almost $500.

Hiking for The Longest Day

Eric Dowdy

Vice President, Public Policy for California and Nevada
3 months with the Alzheimer’s Association

Hiking with friends and family
Having worked in aging policy for decades, Eric has seen the need to do more to find a cure and support those struggling to provide care. Inspired by the flexibility of The Longest Day to create your own event, Eric decided to base his event around what his friends like to do: hike.

“My group of friends and family like to get outdoors and hike,” said Eric “So, I thought this was a great opportunity to marry our group’s personal interest with raising money for a great cause.”

This is the first year Eric has participated in The Longest Day. He set up an event on Facebook asking family and friends if they’d like to join him on a hike in Point Reyes. They were asked to either donate or join him. “I was amazed at how quickly everyone made their donations,” said Eric. “With this organization’s reputation for its work there was no hesitation by anyone I asked to contribute.”

As of the posting of this blog Eric has raised almost $2,000.

Elizabeth walking for The Longest Day
Elizabeth walking for The Longest Day

Elizabeth Edgerly

Alzheimer’s Association Executive Director
26 years with the Alzheimer’s Association

Challenging herself and inspiring others
During her time at the Alzheimer’s Association, Elizabeth’s mother was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. In 2019, on Mother’s Day, her mother died with the disease. “We’ve also lost close family and friends to Alzheimer’s,” said Elizabeth. “With every year, another friend or relative seems to be impacted.”

By participating in The Longest Day, Elizabeth is able to take the painful experience of losing her mother and turn it into something that can create positive change. The Longest Day helps Elizabeth feel like she is helping others while also raising funds for research.

To honor her mother, every May Elizabeth does a 100-mile fitness challenge where she invites friends and family to participate. “Together we each bike, run, or walk 100 miles during the month, and raise funds to support the cause,” said Elizabeth. “For me, it’s a win-win! I get out and exercise AND I raise awareness and funds for The Longest Day. Once I’ve put my goal out there and my friends support me, I know I have to actually do it! It’s very motivating.”

As of the posting of this blog, Elizabeth has raised over $1,400.

Barbecuing for The Longest Day

Grace Liu

East Bay Site Director
9 years with the Alzheimer’s Association

Barbequing
Grace has a family history of dementia: her grandmother had Alzheimer’s, her aunt has dementia, and her mother has mild cognitive impairment.  However, when it comes to fundraising for The Longest Day, Grace does it in honor of her sweetie who died with Lewy body dementia.

Grace’s sweetie loved to barbeque, which is why she hosts a barbeque every year as her fundraiser. Friends and family are invited to stop by any time on the day of the barbeque to hang out and make a donation. Grace loves that The Longest Day allows you to choose a type of fundraiser that works best for you.

As of the posting of this blog, Grace has raised over $3,200.

Tiffany is ready for The Longest Day barbecue

Tiffany Mikles

Family Care Specialist
6 years with the Alzheimer’s Association

Bike parade
Originally, Tiffany’s only connection to the disease was her grandfather. Unfortunately, she is finding that more and more of her friends are being diagnosed. Last year was no exception as a close friend told her of his diagnosis. To show her support, Tiffany helped organize a parade and barbeque for him and his friends to participate in.

“We had 35 bike riders in the parade,” said Tiffany. “They decorated their bikes with streamers and balloons, wore tutus, had stuff on their helmets, and of course, wore their purple t-shirts. I wasn’t on the ride, but I heard it was really cool to see all the bikes going past. Cars were honking and there were people waving, it was great!”

Celebration party
After the parade, people were invited to Tiffany’s annual barbecue that she does as her main fundraiser for The Longest Day. “The BBQ was attended by 60-70 people,” said Tiffany. “A local brewery made a special brew for the event and donated 2 kegs of beer. At the end of the day, the food was gone and the kegs were dry. 

“I think we were successful [in our fundraising] because of the person being honored and because of the dual event. For folks that didn’t want to ride a bike, they could still participate in the event by attending the barbecue. It was a glorious day and my heart is happy.”

As of the writing of this blog, Tiffany has personally raised almost $2,000. Her team, Scott’s Peloton, with more than 60 members has raised over $16,300.

No matter your hobby or passion, you too can turn it into a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It’s not too late to sign up for The Longest Day. Visit alz.org/thelongestday to start your team.

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