Jun 192017

Our Longest Day is spent playing golf, my husband Mickey’s favorite sport, which he grew up enjoying with his dad.

In 2013, at age 55, Mickey was diagnosed with early-onset (also known as younger-onset) Alzheimer’s disease. Our family wanted to find a way to fight back, and we wanted to include Mickey in whatever we did. A golf tournament in his honor on The Longest Day was the best – and most obvious – choice! 

Today marks our third annual “Mickey’s Mania” Golf Classic. Our friends will come from far (and not so far) to join us for a great day of fun, laughter, food and libations. Everyone is here because they know that even after Mickey is gone, there will be people who need caregiver support and resources from the Alzheimer’s Association – and we raise funds and awareness in honor of his amazing fight.

We started the day by setting up signs acknowledging our donors and supporters; as the players make their way through the 18 holes, they will see all the people who were crucial to putting this event together – and there are so many.

Players arrived bright and early at 7 a.m. to pick up their goody bags – of course wearing hats monogrammed with our “Mickey’s Mania” logo – and then enjoyed a breakfast assortment of traditional San Antonio breakfast tacos; these delicious essentials are crucial to powering through the long day ahead! As the players lined up, I reminded them that we are here to rejoice in life – making this day, The Longest Day, the best day ever.

Mickey has almost been in tears as he greets old friends he hasn’t seen in some time, along with people we don’t even know who showed up to play golf today and support the fight.  He asks: “Is this all for me?!”  I tell him yes, it is – for him and the millions of others living with Alzheimer’s disease.

As each team finishes their round, they make their way to the silent auction. Then The Kimberly Dunn Band entertains us through lunch, as they’ve done for the past two years.

Shortly, the top three teams will be awarded prizes and the winning team will be awarded the coveted monogrammed “Purple Jacket”, much in the style of the green Master’s tournament jacket given to the pros. As the players eat, our family will stop at each table, thanking everyone for coming. We are already a little sunburned, but it has all been worth it!

My favorite part of The Longest Day is driving in the golf cart and seeing each team as they play. Some people have run up to hug me or introduce themselves, and as always, this day will result in so many wonderful memories and photos. Mickey really enjoys looking at the pictures from the last two years of the event on our wall at home even though he can’t remember the celebrations. I am lucky to have my memories from each of those amazing days.

We won’t have the final numbers for few days, but our hope is always to raise more than the previous year. To date, our efforts have raised more than $50,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association; we hope that the numbers this year will exceed that, making it a record year for Mickey’s Mania.

Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease, and we wonder if Mickey will be here for next year’s tournament, which we are already in the midst of planning. As scary as that thought is, what we don’t have to wonder about is our commitment to this cause. Our family will continue to raise funds until our task is finished, and a cure is found – eradicating Alzheimer’s disease for good.

About the Author: Together with her family and friends, Jane Wakely is participating in Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day® on June 21, 2017, to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. You can visit Jane’s team page here.

  19 Responses to “Golfing for Mickey on The Longest Day”

  1. Awesome!!

    • Hello, my name is Mark Fraser, and I have not been involved in Alzheimer’s activities here to fore. I have a relatively mild case of the disease, and I would like to get engaged with other people who want to contribute to the fight against the illness. I was also hoping that you could pass along other information that could me help connect with others in our common situation. I’m fit and active, and I enjoy sailing, tennis, swimming and other sports. I’m also interested in literature, and I was wondering if you have a book club.

      • Hello Mark. Someone from the Alzheimer's Association will reach out to you shortly.

        Thank you!

  2. What a great idea. I have thought of doing something like that too, just not sure if I could handle the amount of work that goes into planning such event. I will give it some thought. My husband was diagnosed at the age of 59 and was also and havid golfer.
    However, our family in the last 3 years has raised over $37,000.00 thru the alzheimers walk. Good bless.

    • Sincere thanks for all of the time, work, passion and love that your family puts into helping us find a cure for Alzheimer's disease through Walk to End Alzheimer's. You have raised an incredible amount over the years, both in dollars and awareness.

    • Carminda, that is wonderful. The tournament is a lot of work but it is also a great deal of fun. It sounds to me like the Walk is the perfect venue for you. Keep on walking!

  3. I'm curious, what does the title Mickey's Mania mean to you?

    • My father died of Alzheimer’s in January. Every day we tried to make it the best day for my father by playing jazz, the music he loved. Dad used to play a saxophone in various bands in his younger years, and listened to jazz as he make his artwork.

      You are doing a good thing!

      God Bless

      Marea Campagna

    • My daughter came up with the name the year Mickey was diagnosed for the Walk. For me it means what his mind goes through as a victim of Alzheimer's.

  4. This family is my family – my sister and her children honor Mickey and all those challenged by Alzheimer's. There is no describing the toll this disease can take on a family but every day, Mickey and Jane and the kids get up and face the day and find ways to make it a good day every day. Share in their fight to slow and stop this disease!

  5. My 57 year old husband was just diagnosed. It seems everyone I know is in their 80s . I wish I could connect witp someone who was diagnosed in their 50s. My husband loves golf, and last Tuesday

    made his first hole in One! I’d love to put on a similar tournament next year. But I’m so overwhelmed right now, that the idea seems almost impossible. But I’d love to attempt it.

    • Linda, I am so sorry. Since Mickey was diagnosed, I have come to know so many people with Alzheimer's who were his age or even younger. Give yourself some time. I was numb for a long time and in denial. Our first tournament was 2 years after Mickey was diagnosed and the Alzheimer's Association has been a big help in the process.

    • You can do it. Find a couple of friends to help you and take the pressure off of you. My husand was diagnosed last July at 72 and has progressed rapidly. It is the most difficult thing to deal with and I wish there were something to do to help him, but he took a very negative attitude, especially after failing a drivers test and lost his license last August.
      Hopefully, you can find support groups or family to share the burden, that you will have to carry. I will pray for you and your husband.
      Go ahead and set up some type of event, even if it is small. I am sure a local golf course will help you out.

  6. My 90 year old Mom has Alzheimer's & I have moved her in with me. I'm curious to know how this money is used?

  7. It is a cruel disease. My sister at age 56 has been diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer as well. My mothers twin sister was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer disease in her mid fifties as well and passed away in 2004 at age of 64. My family has seen the devastation and no living it again.

  8. Beautiful article, Jane. You and your husband and family are truly incredible people and advocates.

  9. Lina,
    As I read this about yourhusband tears role down my cheeks. My husband Ed is inhis last stage of PPA and early set on.
    You are so true what a awful dicease this is. I have had him home with me for 7 years and unfortunately we had to put him in a home in February.He also loved golf which he gave up a few years ago.My daughter raises money every September for the
    walk for Alzheimer in Cleveland Ohio. We will continue to do this until a cure is found.

    God Bless you and your family

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