(The Longest Day cyclists | Photo courtesy of Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village)
For individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, each day presents challenges that require compassion to overcome. In honor and support of their experiences, The Alzheimer’s Association promotes an annual fundraising season that culminates with two events, The Longest Day on the summer solstice and the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s toward the end of the summer.
Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village retirement community is composed of residents and team members who are passionate about supporting those with dementia. Nearly all of them have been personally touched in one way or another by Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases. Given this, the community has consistently surpassed its fundraising goals, this year successfully raising $35,286 through a series of activities.
“Once again this year, we wanted to beat last year’s record of just over $30,000, which was truly amazing considering the hardships of working through the pandemic,” says Touchmark Health & Fitness Director Elizabeth Rupar. She, along with other teammates and residents, joined forces to get creative in their fundraising efforts.
Using Innovation to Up the Ante
This year, fundraising activities included a flower sale in February that netted $5,500, a silent auction, dunk tank, Beach Hut Deli percentage of sales and a resident-led bike-a-thon.
A core group of seven residents, with help from several more, comprised the resident bike group. Together, they logged an impressive 5,091 miles, accounting for $18,271.60 of the total raised in 2021. Most riders exceeded their mileage from last year, including resident Lowell Pearce, who rode 730 miles in 2021 and 721 in 2020. He says, “The idea really took off, and the group bonded. Most of us are in our 80s, and on more than half of the days, we rode with others. More people heard about what we were doing and wanted to donate, and so we just kept going as long as people were willing to donate money to this worthwhile cause.”
Through these efforts over the years, Touchmark has fostered a close relationship with the dedicated individuals from the Alzheimer’s Association’s Oregon & Southwest Washington Chapter. Stephanie Foster, event manager for The Longest Day, says, “The Touchmark at Mount Bachelor Village team has been a wonderful ally for The Longest Day and other Alzheimer’s Association-promoted events over the years. They continue to be our top team and contributed over 16 percent of the total funds raised in our region in 2021. We are so grateful to Touchmark for their support of The Longest Day and Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Central Oregon and across the region.”
The Touchmark residents and staff are looking forward to raising money again next year. While Touchmark hasn’t determined its 2022 goal yet, residents and team members alike are already gearing up for another record-setting effort.
“As the rest of the world slowed down due to the pandemic, these motivated individuals continue to step up to the plate to meet and exceed what is thought possible. In so doing, they are helping untold families coping with dementia, and they are connecting with and supporting each other when many others feel disconnected,” Foster says.