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Community members can participate in a new event Monday designed to raise awareness and money to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

Called the Longest Day, the event includes a walk from the new Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue fire station on Mountain View Avenue to Meadows Place.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to our community,” said Sherri Kuehl, who is helping organize the event.

Kuehl said in addition to raising money and awareness of the debilitating impacts of Alzheimer’s, the event honors family members who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and the caregivers who help them.

Those interested in participating will gather at the fire station where they can register for the walk and donate $10 to $15 to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Erica Batchelder, recreation assistant for the Adult Activities Center in Ellensburg, said she wants people to know that anyone can come to the event and just walk to support the event.

“We want everyone to walk, whether they want to contribute or not,” Batchelder said.

Along the way there will be four activity stops at Hearthstone Cottage, Brookdale, Rosewood, and Prestige Care & Rehabilitation.

Kuehl said fruit smoothies and a Virtual Dementia Tour by Second Wind Dreams will be offered at the end of the walk.

According to the Second Wind Dreams website, the Virtual Dementia Tour will alter participants’ senses while a trained facilitator guides the participants through everyday tasks. The tour allows participants to understand the physical and mental challenges people with dementia or Alzheimer’s experience on a daily basis.

Batchelder said anyone can participate in the Virtual Dementia Tour but they should call 509-972-4141 to reserve a spot since the tour takes about 20 minutes. The tours will start at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

“It allows a person to experience the impact of daily life with dementia; it allows the person to walk in another person’s shoes. It’s very eye-opening,” Batchelder said, who has experienced the tour before.

The event is on summer solstice as a symbol to those who live with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers that each day is the longest day.

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