Members of the Chattanooga Bridge Club, led by team captain Myra Reneau, will join hundreds of bridge players across the country to raise money for The Longest Day – an annual fundraising event for Alzheimer’s research held by the American Contract Bridge League and the Alzheimer’s Association. Ms. Reneau’s team plans to play bridge for six hours on the longest day of the year – June 21.
With an average age of 69, ACBL’s members – most of whom play regularly at local bridge clubs – are significantly affected by Alzheimer’s disease. By raising funds as part of The Longest Day program, bridge players are able to honor friends and loved ones who have been stricken with the disease while also keeping their own mental skills sharp, according to the ACBL and the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Studies have shown strong links between games, such as bridge, and successful aging,” said Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL. “The game alone challenges and stimulates mental acuity, but there’s also a strong social aspect that can aid with successful aging. With support from our members like the Chattanooga Bridge Club, we can continue raising awareness and funds for the disease and hopefully introduce bridge to a new audience that can benefit from the mental stimulation.”
This is the second consecutive year that ACBL has coordinated with bridge clubs across the United States and Canada to raise funds for The Longest Day. The sunrise-to-sunset event, which is held on the summer solstice, supports the Alzheimer’s Association by providing much-needed resources for the care, support and research efforts it leads. Last year, 160 bridge clubs across the U.S. raised more than half a million dollars for the cause. In 2014, ACBL is setting its sights on raising $750,000, and it plans to increase that amount incrementally each year as more bridge clubs participate in the effort.
“The Alzheimer’s Association would not be able to operate successfully without the efforts of groups such as ACBL,” said Donna McCullough, vice president of mass market development for the Alzheimer’s Association. “The ACBL and bridge players in general are especially important to our association because of the game’s potential benefits for preserving mental sharpness, and we’re happy to partner with them again this year.”
To raise money, the ACBL is encouraging its members to compete in bridge games from sunrise to sunset, which is approximately 16 hours on the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. The format of the event is determined by local club managers.
“We’ve encouraged our members to be creative and get out in their communities to raise money from bridge players and anyone else interested in joining the fight to end Alzheimer’s,” said Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL. “Many clubs are offering beginner bridge lessons; a great way to involve the community while teaching a fun game that could impact the learner’s quality of life in the future.”