Downtown Oswego to go purple June 2-21 in fight against Alzheimer’s
By Mary Beth Roach
Parts of downtown Oswego will be turning purple June 21 as members of the community join with other cities and towns across the country to mark “The Longest Day,” a campaign by the Alzheimer’s Association dedicated to all those affected by the disease. Purple is the color associated with the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Longest Day campaign coincides with the summer solstice to symbolize the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers. For them, every day can feel like the longest day. According to the national Alzheimer’s Association, The Longest Day is all about love — love for those affected by the disease, to do an activity they love — or one loved by those affected.
The Port City event, dubbed the Oswego County Longest Day, will include a walk, an information booth at the Oswego Farmer’s Market and displays in downtown store windows. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow has given his approval to turn the exterior lights at City Hall purple that night, according to Elizabeth Weimer, caregiver services coordinator with the county’s office of the aging. Weimer is working with Meave Gillen from the RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), and Joan Sardino, from Serving Seniors Inc., to coordinate the event.
“All three of us have been touched by Alzheimer’s or dementia personally and professionally and we felt it was time to do some kind of awareness in our county,” Weimer said.
For Sardino, whose company Serving Seniors Inc. provides in-home non-medical care, said that she sees this as an opportunity for her to learn more about Alzheimer’s, and in turn, provide better care to her clients.
The team is also involving nearly every aspect of the Oswego community in this endeavor — not just City Hall. They are reaching out to local downtown businesses to have them hang purple paper chain links in their front windows, and those links will be crafted by the residents of St. Francis Commons and The Gardens by Morningstar, two assisted living facilities in Oswego.
“We’re all linking together to show our community support for those that suffer for disease,” Weimer explained.
The Oswego event will kick off at 5 p.m. June 21 from the Oswego Farmer’s Market and include Oswego’s Healthy Mile route, from West First Street, to Bridge Street, to East First Street, to Utica Street and back to the market, where there will be an information table and a representative from the Alzheimer’s Association. Along the bridges on Bridge and Utica streets, the organizers will have posters focused on the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s.
“We’re really focusing on the education and awareness piece this year,” Weimer said.
Other groups and individuals from the area are encouraged to create an event for The Longest Day, as well, according to the Central New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Sarah Parton, events manager for the CNY chapter, likens it to a do-it-yourself event in which you create an event around an activity you like to do or one that your loved one enjoyed in order to honor a caregiver, someone with Alzheimer’s or someone who has lost their battle with this disease. It’s an opportunity for the community to get involved in a way that makes sense for them, she explained. It’s an opportunity for those interested in the cause to get involved, especially if they are not able to make it to the Syracuse area for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in September, she said.
The 2017 local event, with 24 registered teams and event hosts, raised about $30,000, more than doubling the total raised in 2016, Parton noted.
For those interested in creating their own event, Parton pointed out that the website – alz.org/thelongestday — has some helpful information on getting started.