Cruising into fundraising for The Longest Day®

By Sloane Ruuska, BSN, RN

Have you ever seen a fleet of Corvettes cruising together in the East Bay? If so, you may have witnessed Larry’s fundraiser for The Longest Day®. This April, Larry and his fellow Corvette enthusiasts came together to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association®. Through social media, friends, and new introductions, Larry was able to amass a significant amount of Corvette owners to show their support. Larry shares his story on how he participates in The Longest Day.

Corvettes out for The Longest Day car cruise

Working alongside others living with Alzheimer’s disease
Seven years ago, Larry was renovating assisted living facilities and developing memory care centers. Through his many years of work, he felt a connection to the people living with the disease and wanted to help in any way he could. Larry described his time renovating the memory care facilities, “You spend enough time in memory care and it really helped me [understand what people living with the disease are going through].”

His experience gave him a deeper understanding of the disease and he became interested in helping the cause. Larry said, “It didn’t touch my family, but it still touches me in one way or another.”

Turning his hobby into a fundraiser
Larry is part of seven Corvette Facebook groups and moderates the main group of over 4,000 members. About two years ago, Larry started hosting Corvette cruises to meet people with similar interests. For his first couple of cruises only five or six people showed up. Each time he hosted a cruise it got bigger. Eventually, he organized a cruise that had nearly 40 Corvettes.

Larry thought that all these expensive cars might be a way to bring attention to the Alzheimer’s Association and raise money. He began advertising the Corvette cruise on Corvette Facebook groups and reached out to friends to support the cause. “Once you put the word out, it’s amazing how many people have been touched by Alzheimer’s,” said Larry. “[People are either going through it] now or [know] someone [who] had it. It’s a far-reaching disease.”

Choosing The Longest Day for fundraising
The Longest Day is a fundraising event hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association. The event is celebrated on June 21, the summer solstice, and the longest day of the year. However, events for The Longest Day can take place at any time throughout the year. Activities can include barbeques, sporting events, picnics, or anything that brings people together to raise funds for the cause.

Despite his father not having Alzheimer’s disease, Larry wanted to have the event around his father’s birthday in April to honor his life. Because of this, Larry didn’t think his Corvette cruise qualified for The Longest Day because it wasn’t going to be held on June 21.

Luckily, after speaking with a representative from the Alzheimer’s Association, Larry learned that The Longest Day could happen at any time of the year, not just exclusively during the summer solstice. This allowed Larry to both honor his father and support the Association.

Cruising with the Corvettes
For those who have never been a part of a cruise, the event works by having everyone meet at the same location and then leave at the same time. It attracts a lot of attention which helps participants promote the cause. “We always meet in a parking lot,” said Larry. “People will come by and we tell them it’s a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s. Last year a lady in Calistoga [told me her] husband died of Alzheimer’s, and she gave $5. It draws a lot of attention and moving forward, it will continue to grow.”

This year, participants met in Concord, California and drove to Fairfield with a quick stop at Lake Berryessa and finally on to Calistoga where everyone met back up. There they ate lunch and went home.

The Longest Day Corvette drivers on the route

Plans for next year’s cruise
Larry is still perfecting his fundraiser, “There are two distinct groups of people, the ones that drive fast, [and the ones] that wants to enjoy the scenery and take it all in. From this point forward the people who want to go fast will get there first and the other people who want to take their time, that’s up to them.”

When asked what it feels like to have everyone driving at the same time, he said “It’s awesome, it’s really amazing and people will stop and take videos everywhere.”

Community support of The Longest Day
While Larry hoped to find sponsors for the event, he found that his biggest supporters were his fellow enthusiasts. Larry encouraged participants to donate money to the Alzheimer’s Association, but it was not a requirement for the drive. Furthermore, guests could make donations regardless of if they owned a Corvette.

Whenever Larry saw someone who owned a Corvette, he would approach them to see if they would be interested in joining the cruise. On one occasion, he met a man at the post office with a Corvette that ultimately joined the cruise and donated to the cause.

Together, Larry and his Corvette cruise raised more than $1,300 for The Longest Day. While it wasn’t the goal Larry was hoping for, he is still grateful for his generous donors and hopes to raise more at future cruises.

“I want to raise more [money] than I did,” said Larry. “I keep putting [the event] out there and posting the link to the donation page. Some [people] are not going to donate, it’s not their thing. As long as the money ends up [with the Alzheimer’s Association], I’m ok with that.”

The fundraising activities are limitless when participating in The Longest Day. Make your everyday activities into a fundraising event that can help further research for Alzheimer’s Disease. From family barbeques to arts and crafts, you can turn any activity into The Longest Day event to spread awareness about the disease.

Interested in raising funds for The Longest Day? Find fundraising tips and start your own team at You can also make a donation to donate to Larry’s team, Cruise for a Cure.

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