Individuals and organizations from Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes held events for The Longest Day throughout June to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, and raise funds to find a cure.
Kim Bannister, of Irondequoit, organized fundraisers at Relph Benefit Advisors, Holy Cross School, Aquinas Institute and I-Scream for Ice Cream.
“It has been extremely painful for our family to watch my grandmother slowly fade away throughout the years,” Bannister said. “The success of each of these fundraisers has been humbling. I’m advocating for Alzheimer’s research, and raising money to help dementia caregivers. I am proud to be involved with the Alzheimer’s Association and hope to support the cause for years to come.”
The Hideaway owner Max Gordon, who lost his grandmother to dementia, held a guest bartending night and a yoga class at his restaurant on Park Avenue. All bartending tips and yoga class proceeds supported the Alzheimer’s Association.
Kelly O’Brien, of Hegedorns Market in Webster, helped organize a week of sales and informational events for customers to raise awareness and money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Patsy Edwards, of Rochester, hosted an education event at Pentecostal Memorial Baptist Church for members to learn about dementia resources available in the community.
Mary Miller, of Canandaigua, a member of the American Contract Bridge League, held two bridge games with about 60 participants that raised $4,000. This is Miller’s fifth year holding The Longest Day events as part of ACBL’s global initiative.
Julie Murray, of Irondequoit, hosted a run/walk and a post-race party in memory of her father, who died from Alzheimer’s in 2018.
“I’m hosting this event to raise money for research, and to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” Murray said. “My hope is that someday other families won’t have to watch their loved ones suffer from the disease.”
Reagan Gensiejewski, of Victor, hosted a picnic in honor of her grandmother Louis Reese, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the late ‘90s and died in 2015.
“As a young girl, I saw how the disease affected my family and it really impacted me,” she said. “I decided it was time to take action and help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s.”
Sigma Kappa Sorority hosted a Quiz for a Cause at WhichCraft Brews in Webster. Sorority member Melanie Cerra, of Rochester, has supported the Alzheimer’s Association for 10 years.
“Learning about the impact Alzheimer’s has on women, especially as caregivers, has solidified my commitment to raising awareness about the disease,” Cerra said.
The Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studio held a wine tasting and a dance party to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. Owners Joe Born and Kathryn Kearney-Born, of Irondequoit, each have childhood memories of grandparents who lived with Alzheimer’s. These personal experiences motivate the couple to welcome individuals who live with the disease and their care partners at their dance studio in Rochester.
Several senior living communities joined The Longest Day initiative. Legacy at Maiden Park in Greece held a volleyball tournament for residents. St. Ann’s Community in Irondequoit celebrated The Longest Day with music therapy, arts and crafts. Elderwood held a golf tournament in Brockport. Jewish Senior Life in Brighton hosted a lunch, held The Longest Ride on adaptive bicycles and offered free massages to caregivers. Baywinde in Webster organized a 1950s sock hop dance party for residents and staff. The Highlands at Pittsford held a cookout to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.
The Genesee Brew House donated 10% of its Cheers for Charity proceeds to The Longest Day and held a concert by Thurlow to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. Bankers Life hosted a Netsins truck, inviting employees and customers to an ice cream social.