~By Greg Zangari
Although Wendy only met her last year, I first met our friend Sandi in the early 1990s when I started working in the pharmaceutical services industry. We worked together for over a decade and we’ve tried to keep in touch, in fact she celebrated Wendy’s 40th Birthday with us last June – has a year gone by already?
Recently, Sandi posted on her Facebook wall that she was participating in the Alzheimer’s Association’s “The Longest Day” fundraising event. I clicked the link and found out a little more about this event supporting this most debilitating disease – one where it is sometimes as hard on the family, as it is on the family member with the illness. In Sandi’s case, it’s her mother, Bertha Kowalski, that is afflicted with Alzheimer’s.
Sandi and Bert Kowalski. Picture via Sandi Kowalski.

Sandi and Bert Kowalski. Picture via Sandi Kowalski.

So what is “The Longest Day” all about? We learned this from the event web site:
WE’RE IN IT UNTIL ALZHEIMER’S IS FINISHED!
Join us on June 21, 2013 for The Longest Day® , as together we honor those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Organize a team for this sunrise-to-sunset event and raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
This event is about patience, strength and endurance – but it’s also about a challenge. On The Longest Day, do something you love – or try something new – to advance the cause! For people facing Alzheimer’s disease, this challenge is every day. For you, it’s just one.
On The Longest Day, it’s time to make a difference.
Link: https://thelongestday.alz.org/
When Sandi made me aware of this event, she asked if I could participate alone or with others on my own team. Although I would have loved to, had I had a few month’s notice, but we had so many things already planned when I found out in late May – we’re still working on the garden, we needed to move furniture that Wendy had in storage, into our house, then came the inside furniture moving, room reorganizing, rug shampooing, etc., and we’re still in the midst of all of it. However, I knew that I could reach out to our readers and hopefully gain some support for Sandi’s team, but I knew I could not commit to fundraising myself as we have so much on our plates at this time. However, I did tell Sandi that Wendy and I would be honored to support her team, “Bert’s Babydolls”!
So what’s the story behind the name of the team? Sandi said:
“The name “Bert’s Babydolls” came from the idea of my mom’s babydoll. At the Residence where she lives, the caretakers brought in some babydolls and the women residents went crazy! They all love their babydolls! My mom carries her’s around with her and she thinks it is one of her little babies! It calms them all and they just look so happy when caring for these baby dolls. My “new Baby sibling” was first a girl and is now a boy. The best part for me is seeing my mom’s smile when she is caring for the baby!”
For her “event” Sandi chose to be in water, swimming. For 16 hours! However, she was lucky enough to get some volunteers to join her in the pool. They will be doing it tag team style, two hours per person. As of right now, her friends Amy (way to go Amy P. – another former colleague!), Erin and Sinead will be sharing pool time! Nice job ladies, you’re great friends for helping!
As Sandi noted on her Facebook wall, “Please consider joining the team or donating. If you donate you can come and see me in a pool for 2 hours ( I don’t want to be a prune! Please join to do 1 hour of something you love and bring awareness to Alzheimer’s – Don’t let your memories get lost!”
Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

We hope that we’ll be able to sneak up and get an interview with Sandi and her teammates during this event on Friday June 21st. If we’re fortunate enough to do so, we’ll update this link with the footage.
If you have friends or family members with Alzheimer’s (most of us do at this point, sad to say), you know how important it is to find a solution. If anyone is inspired to donate or join Sandi’s team in the pool for a couple of hours, please use the link below. Thank you so much, on behalf of my friend Sandi, her mom and other people with Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers!
Bert’s Babydoll’s “The Longest Day” Fundraising Page:
https://thelongestday.alz.org/home/team/98094
Best of luck Sandi, we think you’re awesome and we’re very proud of you for putting together a team and making it happen!

© 2013, Ready For The Shift. ™ Wendy & Greg Zangari, All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute these articles on the condition that the content remains complete and in tact, full credit is given to the author(s), and that it is distributed freely.

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