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Parker

‘Longest Day’ not short on fundraising

Seniors take laps to raise money for Alzheimer’s research

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The first day of summer was the ideal time of year for “The Longest Day” fundraiser at Avantara Crown Point rehabilitation facility in Parker. About 40 patients from Avantara and residents of Chelsea Place Memory Care in Aurora walked and wheeled laps around the facility, collecting donations for each lap to raise approximately $1,000 for the American Alzheimer’s Association.

“I think it turned out really well,” said Dr. Candace Fernandez, a doctor of physical therapy who manages Avantara’s rehabilitation department. “I set our goal at $800.”

Volunteers from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church drove all the way from Denton, Texas, to help seniors navigate an impromptu racetrack in the facility’s parking lot, and local businesses Elev. 5900, Namaste’ Salon and Lifetime Fitness donated to a silent auction.

Shaded booths offered tips for Alzheimer’s caregivers to recognize early signs of the disease and to avoid burnout, as well as selling baked goods and jewelry for additional fundraising.

“It’s amazing how quick it came together,” said Jenni Dill, life engagement director at Chelsea Place, who met Fernandez by chance at a restaurant and signed on to the event. “We could be competitors, but we all want the best for our patients, so who cares?”

Tammi Krein, who performs guest services at Avantara, said she was surprised by the larger-than-expected turnout and delighted by her clients’ response to the day’s activities.

“Seeing smiles on some of their faces” was the highlight, she said. “You don’t always see smiles on some of them.”

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