Judy Johanson, of Watertown is rallying her team, This is Our Life, to raise funds and awareness for an Alzheimer’s Association event called The Longest Day on June 21, 2015. The Longest Day, focused on the summer solstice was created in recognition of the long days that are part of living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the announcement from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Johanson’s husband Steve was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s just prior to his 59th birthday. Judy and Steve had previously reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter when his mother was diagnosed in her late 70s. The family used many of the free support services offered to families such as care consultation to help manage care for Steve’s mother. When Steve received his diagnosis, the couple knew they wanted to become more involved. They attended early stage support groups, participated in the Power & Purpose early stage engagement program and even met with federal and state legislators to share their story and advocate for families living with Alzheimer’s.
Four years ago, Judy wanted to give back to the cause that supported her family and decided to join The Longest Day.
“The Alzheimer’s Association has been an invaluable source,” said Judy. “I wanted to participate in The Longest Day in honor of my husband Steve and how he bravely faces the challenges of this disease and in hopes that our children and grandchildren never have the same diagnosis.”
Johanson’s team, This is Our Life, has a wealth of activities planned for The Longest Day. She plans to walk 16 miles in honor of her husband, her grandsons will be running a lemonade stand and family and friends will bike, kayak, play horseshoes, build sandcastles and more.
“Our closing ceremony will be filled with reflections from the day and hopes for the future as we celebrate the fact that there is beauty in the moment and hope in the future,” shared Johanson.
Funds raised by Judy will benefit the research, programs and public awareness efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association in Massachusetts.
“The idea of The Longest Day resonates with people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s,” said Jim Wessler, president/CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter. “This is a difficult disease, emotionally, financially and of course in terms of health. People want to be able to fight back and this is one way that they can.”
The Longest Day is a sunrise-to-sunset team event that symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Teams are encouraged to design their own day as they raise funds and create a meaningful experience to support the Alzheimer’s movement. Participants can create relays, organize tournaments, take on physical challenges, or design days based around a loved one’s favorite activities. To start a team or learn more about The Longest Day, visit alzTLD.org.