GREENWICH — For the caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, every day is the longest day.
“Every day. There is no respite,” said Mary Madison, a retired nurse who watched her mother and several other family members die from the disease that destroys memory and other functions. mental.
Madison, along with other members of the Greenwich community, are painting the town purple June 17-21 to celebrate the longest day in Greenwich.
The Longest Day is an event held annually on the brightest day, the summer solstice. On this day and before it, communities around the world come together to oppose the darkness of Alzheimer’s disease and honor the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 410,000 in New York State, and their caregivers.
“I watched my mom, who was this vibrant, kind, sweet woman, my best friend, spiral down,” Madison said. “I cared for her at home for as long as I could, which didn’t take long, really. I had no option. There weren’t the services then that there are now. The Alzheimer’s Association offers so many services.
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The longest day in Greenwich began five years ago with Breanna and Reid Lundy, an Argyle couple whose grandparents had Alzheimer’s disease. The Lundys mobilize the community of Greenwich to “Paint the Town Purple”, the official color of the cause.
And that’s exactly what the Greenwich business community does.
June is Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain Awareness Month.
The first year, the Greenwich group raised about $1,000. The group has doubled its goal every year.
Event organizers hope to raise $24,000 to be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association, which provides respite, wandering sitters, support groups and many other services to families struggling with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Half of the donations come from businesses donating a portion of their weekend sales. The other half comes from individual online donations at https://act.alz.org/goto/TheLongestDayinGreenwich.
There is also a “The Longest Day in Greenwich” page on Facebook.
“Our reach has expanded,” said Lundy, a financial planner at Greenwich. “At first we were just focused on Greenwich, but now that we have this hybrid model where we have an online link, we all share it, and we have friends from all over the country who now donate to our little event here in Greenwich. .”
This year, the Lundys created a “Paint the Town Purple” committee made up of local business owners, a graphic designer, a staff member from the local Alzheimer’s Association and Madison, who leads the local caregiver support group.
The Lundys created the “Lundy Legacy Foundation” in 2019 to give back to causes close to their hearts. So far, their foundation has given over $40,000 to the community, including the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Activities kicked off Friday with a 5:45 a.m. workout class at Anytime Fitness, which painted purple flowers in its windows. They will set up a table at the Whipple City Festival on Saturday selling t-shirts and offering face painting. Activities will conclude with a sip and paint class at Wicked Wicks Creations and More at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Lundy said she was trying to pay up after the Alzheimer’s Association helped her through her grandmother’s diagnosis. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for just over a decade.
But the diagnosis has brought her family closer, and she is grateful for the support they have received from the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Although it’s tough and tough,” Lundy said, “I’m grateful for the experience I’ve had because I know it can tear families apart.”
Gretta Hochsprung writes features and news from her hometown. She can be reached at 518-742-3206 or [email protected]