Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. By mid-century, someone will be diagnosed every 33 seconds.
For the last six years, the ACBL has supported the Alzheimer’s Association for The Longest Day to help in the fight for prevention, and through the partnership, the ACBL raised more than $3.5 million to benefit the Association. In 2017, the organization became the first Global Team to raise $1 million in a single season for The Longest Day.
Beginning Sunday, June 17 through Sunday, June 24, bridge clubs across the United States will host fundraising games, silent auctions and bake sales in support of The Longest Day and to help the ACBL reach its fundraising goal of $1 million.
“We changed things up a little this year to allow more clubs to participate,” said Stephanie Threlkeld, communications and education manager at ACBL and the team coordinator for The Longest Day. “Instead of requiring clubs to host games on the Summer Solstice – which is when many organizations fundraise for the campaign – we opened it up and are allowing clubs to choose a day during the week of the Solstice to host fundraising games, and we’ve definitely noticed an increase in participating clubs.”
Four hundred bridge players have already raised more than $215,000 in early fundraising efforts, surpassing the total raised at the same time last year by $40,000. According to Threlkeld, it’s not too late for clubs to join the campaign.
“Participating can be as simple as designating your afternoon game as an Alzheimer’s game or as involved as hosting back-to-back short games with other fundraising components,” she said. “Many clubs choose to host shorter, 12 to 17 board games because players receive the same number of masterpoints that they would earn through a longer game.”
Fundraising games receive upgraded masterpoints – 63.6 percent sectional-rated black – as long as the event is not held within a 25-mile radius of a Regional or Sectional tournament. Sanction fees should be sent in the monthly report to the ACBL, and the fees will be forwarded to the Alzheimer’s Association to ensure that 100 percent of the money raised from The Longest Day events are given to the Association.
Silvana Scotto Morici, owner of Sagamore Bridge Club in New York, has participated in The Longest Day since 2013, and her club has raised more than $600,000 to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
“My great-grandmother had Alzheimer’s, and it was difficult to watch her experience the disease,” she said. “Fast forward to years later, and I realized as a fairly young bridge player that the older people in front of my eyes – those in the bridge community – were showing me ways to keep the brain active every day. These people try to stay healthy by constantly challenging themselves. Bridge is a sort of fountain of youth for this crowd.”