Good morning! Today is an important and exciting day in the making. This morning, members of the San Diego Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) chapter are joining members of the San Diego Bridge Academy and Redwood Bridge Club in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) leads the fundraising to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association on The Longest Day, along with raffles, a fine art silent auction and an appearance by Chopper the Biker Dog!
Forget what you may think about people who ride motorcycles or people who play bridge. Not only are many of the stereotypes untrue, but Harley riders are just as active in their communities and willing to step up and make their voices heard as the bridge players are. Together this diverse group of backgrounds will ride across the 30+ bridges of San Diego and play bridge from sunrise to sunset.
Alzheimer’s affects more than 60,000 people in the San Diego area, and with the average age of an ACBL bridge player being 69, those in our community are susceptible. We are speaking with local television stations first, and after that, we will be making a stop at the local Harley dealership to bring together a unique group of Harley riders and bridges players so that our voices can be heard together.
I myself have a personal connection to Alzheimer’s disease. When I was diagnosed with a plaque on my brain in 2010, I knew I had to stand up. I spent very little time feeling sorry for myself, and told myself that I couldn’t give up. I could lose my limbs and live without them, but my brain? Not my brain. My brain is my best friend.
Bridge is known as “aerobics for the mind.” I also have focused on mentally-stimulating games such as Scrabble and crossword puzzles. I stay social in order to keep myself sharp. I do whatever I can, as I always have in life, because sitting down solves nothing. It’s time to stand up!
There was a day recently when I wasn’t feeling up to going to my evening bridge game, but something inside me told me to go anyway. I ended up meeting a woman whose husband was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They have only been married for five years. It was so important for her to see the information available and have someone to talk to and discuss caregiver issues with. I hope that today’s event will create progressive thinking in the world of bridge. Alzheimer’s creates a devastation of families; everyone in the family unit “gets” Alzheimer’s. Our voices are more powerful together, and we know we will be heard today.
I thank Robin Parker of the San Diego H.O.G. chapter who helped Harley riders set a goal of $1,600 on top of the bridge clubs’ goal of $2,500. I thank Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL. I thank David Walters, the best bridge teacher imaginable, for lecturing today – half of the proceeds of his speech will go towards the cause. I thank Stuart Showalter, president of the Redwood Bridge club. And I thank all of the people who have made a difference in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.
About the Author: Trish White is an avid bridge player participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day®.