SHORT HILLS, NJ — The Alzheimer's Association Greater New Jersey Chapter (AAGNJ), the leading volunteer-driven voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support, advocacy and research, is spotlighting people who are making a difference in the fight to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia.

This week, the AAGNJ is extending gratitude toward 12-year-old Short Hills resident Vance Slack for his participation and support.

 "Vance is our youngest Solstice Champion of the season, and we couldn't be more proud of him," said Danielle Buckler, Special Events Coordinator for AAGNJ. "Dedicating his Bar Mitzvah project in honor of his grandmother is a beautiful way to spread awareness and fight for a cure."

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In only seventh grade, achieved Solstice Champion status—an elite group of fundraisers who raise $1,600 or more for Alzheimer's care, support, and research—by reaching out to family and friends for their support.

“I chose The Longest Day as my 'mitzvah,' which means ‘good deed’ in Hebrew, because my grandmother is living with early-stage Alzheimer's," said Slack. "After noticing changes in her, I decided that this would be the perfect way to honor her and others living with the disease...I was shocked by the number of people that they knew that were also affected."

In addition to writing handwritten thank-you notes to each of his donors, Slack will be participating in a number of activities on The Longest Day, including playing lacrosse, riding bikes and hosting a basketball tournament with his friends.

With more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia, and more than 11 million families and friends providing care and support for them, individuals across the country are seeking ways to assist those afflicted with the disease. In New Jersey alone, there are more than 190,000 people living with the disease and 347,000 caregivers. 

On June 20, many of them will be participating in The Longest Day (TLD), an annual event held on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, to raise awareness and funds to help end the disease.

To support or register for a TLD activity, visit https://www.alz.org/tld.