FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The Alzheimer's Association Greater New Jersey (AAGNJ) Chapter, the leading 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 dementias throughout April as part of National Volunteer Month.
With more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia, and more than 11 million family 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), which is held annually on the longest day of the year—the summer solstice—and is a day to raise awareness and funds to help end the disease.
This week, the AAGNJ is thanking Short Hills resident Michael Feldman, whom Danielle Buckler, Special Events Coordinator for AAGNJ, called “an amazing example of how you can take an activity you love and combine it with your passion to end Alzheimer's.”
“Michael was able to pivot from his original plans to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions and hiked in honor of his parents,” said Buckler. “Climbing a mountain or walking a trail for The Longest Day is a symbolic and powerful gesture to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s.”
Feldman explained that participating in TLD serves as a constant reminder that he lives with Alzheimer’s in his family every day “along with countless others.”
“Having two parents with Alzheimer’s, I also recognize that I may someday have Alzheimer’s,” he said. “Along the lines of ‘life is short,’ TLD reminds me to live life to the fullest because you never know what the future will bring.
“Separately, I was equally surprised and disturbed when, in response to my various fundraiser Emails and social media posts, countless friends told me about members of their families who suffer or suffered from Alzheimer’s, which I had not previously known. I instantly became part of a new community of which I was not even really aware of just a few years ago.”
To learn more or to register for a TLD activity, visit https://www.alz.org/tld.