My mother Judy Gelfand lost her mind more than nine years ago to Alzheimer’s — a disease that robbed our entire family as we all stood by watching her slowly fade away. Judy died in her bedroom on July 13, 2004, in Palm Springs, Calif., surrounded by her family — our Dad, Marshall, my brothers, Todd, and Dean, and me.
Eight years later — almost to the day — we all surrounded her again as we participated in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day™, trying to help put an end to Alzheimer’s. Like Wade Caldwell from Florida, WE ARE IN IT UNTIL ALZ IS FINISHED.
Our Judy Fund team (44 members strong!) started The Longest Day on top of Mt. Cube in Orford, N.H., at 7a.m. where Todd welcomed the new day. My dad and our wonderful stepmother, Jackie, spent an hour together on a treadmill in Baroda, Mich., at 8 a.m.; Richard swam laps for an hour in Santa Monica, Calif., at 9 a.m. Thirty-five Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman co-workers walked a loop around Century City, Calif., at noon; and Ella played tennis in Pacific Palisades for an hour at 1:00 p.m. Zaida swam; Marcie walked beachside — and the day continued from one coast to the other — with biking, spinning, hiking and more to make up 16 hours of The Longest Day.
Doreen and I, and a group of our favorite hikers, ended The Longest Day on top of Temescal Canyon in Los Angeles watching the sun go down across the City of Angels.
As part of this event, I felt connected with all The Longest Day teams and their members. I felt connected to the movement of people who are coming together to create change. I felt connected with all daughters who have lost their mothers to Alzheimer’s.
And I felt connected to my mother, as I do every day, for all she continues to give to me and to her family.
The Longest Day is every day and we are all the answer.
WE ARE IN IT UNTIL ALZ IS FINISHED!
As Chair of The Judy Fund, Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns works to ignite public awareness and involvement in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease. To date, The Judy Fund, created in memory of Elizabeth’s mother Judy Gelfand, has raised and granted over $4.5 million dollars to support Alzheimer’s research and advocacy in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association. Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns is a member of the national Board of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association.