Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death and the most expensive disease in the United States. With more than 5 million Americans living with the disease today and that number expected to grow to 14 million by 2050, the need for funding is greater today than it has ever been.
That’s a big reason why four JVM Realty communities in Ohio – Butternut Ridge Apartments in North Olmstead, Hidden Lake Apartments in Stow, and Royal Oaks Apartments and Dover Farms Apartments in North Royalton – hosted its first Longest Day event, which ended Aug. 31, to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research. Together, the communities raised a total of $15,570, which was among the top 20 contributors in the nation.
“I think how dedicated every associate was during the 5-month planning period to pull this together shows how impactful Alzheimer’s is on our society,” said Caitlin Holtzapple, the Ohio regional manager for JVM. “Every associate from each of the four communities helped out in some way.Because of that and the overall community support, we were able to exceed our donation goals.”
Dementia has personally impacted Holtzapple through her sister, who works in an assisted living facility, and her husband’s grandfather, who battled Alzheimer’s. Her experience with the disease isn’t uncommon. In fact, Kimberly Laufman, community manager at Hidden Lake Apartments, said that nearly everyone who donated and put their name on a $1 donation card had a personal story to tell.
“There was such an ease of being able to talk to people about this,” Laufman said. “From the start we had support from residents, vendors, and random community members who just wanted to help out. This touches everybody.”
She is also personally affected by the disease, as her aunt is currently living with dementia.
For Kelly Keeney, the community manager of Royal Oaks at the time, the event was an opportunity to fight a disease that took her grandmother’s life.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t the band or the prizes that brought people there,” said Keeney, who continued to support the event even after taking a job at a company that wasn’t participating. “Attendees kept thanking us for hosting it.”
The Alzheimer’s Association sent volunteers to the event to answer questions and offer support to anyone who may have loved ones living with dementia. The organization looked at the effort as an extension of The Longest Day event it hosts annually to provide a standard of care for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“JVM embraced the whole concept of The Longest Day and showed that anyone who wants to can help eliminate this tragic disease,” said Katie Mang, signature events manager for the Cleveland Area Chapter for the Alzheimer’s Association. “This was the highest grossing event in the history of the Cleveland area chapter.”
Jeff Alman of Alman Brothers Excavating, which donated to the event, used the event as a gift to his parents. He said that while he couldn’t do much, “I did what I could.”
If you or a loved one if suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, go to alz.org or call the 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900 to get help.