The Longest Day was my first fundraising activity for the Alzheimer’s Association and I saw it as an opportunity to honor my family’s ties to the disease. I was also excited about the unique nature of the event — a 15-hour endurance event makes people pay attention! In my personal life, I’m surrounded by people who complete marathons, triathlons and long-distance cycling events, so it’s nice to have a chance to do something out of the ordinary — and ask for donations for such an important cause.
Today I cycled on the Lakefront, using Chicago’s paved bike path as well as the dirt walking paths on the far north and south portions of the park system. I cycled for four hours, stopping occasionally to take photos with other Longest Day participants and refuel. During the ride, I reflected on the Association’s ultimate vision — a world without Alzheimer’s disease — and how my cycling today was a small step toward that larger goal.
Although I signed up to honor my three grandmothers (two biological and one step-grandmom) who had dementia, during The Longest Day itself, the stories of my co-workers were what kept me inspired. Their words on this blog deepened my drive to complete my ride and fundraise to end this disease. The Longest Day has shown me that with the combined strength of those affected by this disease, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish when it comes to ending Alzheimer’s.
Eric Goodwin is a senior specialist in the Constituent Events Department at the Alzheimer’s Association National Office. In his free time, Eric is an avid cyclist and amateur photographer. He lives with his wife and daughter in Chicago, Ill.