The Longest Day: Alzheimer Associations’ Drive for a Cure
Kimberley Brey is the Manager of The Longest Day for The Alzheimer’s Association’s Illinois Chapter. The Longest Day is the second-largest fundraising event for The Alzheimer’s Association. We spoke with Kimberley to learn more about the fundraiser and how those interested can participate. Joe & Bella will be participating this summer. Please let us know if you’d like to learn more about our fundraising efforts in the comments box below.
If you would like to donate to Joe & Bella's The Longest Day charity drive, you can do so here.
What is The Longest Day?
Kim: The longest day is the Alzheimer's Association's second-biggest outreach initiative. Many people are familiar with the Walk to End Alzheimer's. That's the biggest drive we have. The Longest Day will occur on June 21st this year, which is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Symbolically, we take that daylight on the year’s longest day and fight against the darkness that is Alzheimer's.
June is also Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. The program itself started in 2012, with the initial idea of encouraging people to run for 16 hours to raise money. That ended up not being a realistic task for most people. The Longest Day moved away from running as the only money-raising activity, and we opened it up to any activity that people love to do that can be used as a fundraiser.
Every dollar that is raised benefits those affected by Alzheimer's disease in your community. The funds raised go to the care support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. For every dollar that is raised, $0.79 goes to Alzheimer's care support, research, awareness and advocacy. Only 4% goes to the administrative side and 17% to fundraising. When you're looking to invest in or do some fundraising for a nonprofit, you always are told to look to those that are actually utilizing the funds, and that’s exactly what we do.
What are a couple previous highlights that you experienced while overseeing Illinois’ Longest Day initiative?
Kim: I started in this role in October, so I'm pretty new to this. I love talking with people who sign up because they have the best ideas. Last year, when so many options were limited due to Covid, we had one gentleman who likes to run, and he decided to run around Lake Michigan in honor of his grandmother. And he literally ran around Lake Michigan. This year we've got somebody who's doing a picnic and she has an Elvis impersonator joining. There is a high schooler who is making mini pineapple upside-down cakes in muffin tins and selling them at her school.
Last year the Illinois chapter raised more than $276,000, with more than 340 people participating in The Longest Day. Our chapter is now ranked number five in the nation. We’re super proud of that. Every state has a Longest Day and I'm super goal driven. So I'm hoping with the help of Joe and Bella, we get in that top three. No pressure!
Who are these 370 some individuals? Who is a typical person that participates in this?
Kim: It could be anybody. So many people are impacted by Alzheimer's in so many different ways. We have a participant who was on my committee in the beginning and later developed early-onset dementia. She was very actively involved last year. There are a lot of caregivers who are raising funds because they're caring for somebody with Alzheimer's.
And then we have people who have been personally impacted. Their family members or loved ones are no longer with them. And they're raising funds to fight this disease.
Joe & Bella's relationships with the Alzheimer's Association started because one of your team members reached out to us. Why Joe & Bella? Why would we be an appropriate fit for helping Illinois?
Kim: A colleague of mine in Washington is caring for her mother and needed to get her her mom new clothes. Joe & Bella popped up during her research. She learned more about you and quickly learned how amazing you all are. Not only do you have adaptive clothing that makes dressing so much easier, but you’re curating your options, making the searching and shopping process so easy as well.