HORN LAKE, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The American Contract Bridge League is once again teaming with the Alzheimer’s Association nationally to raise money in one of the group’s signature fundraising events – The Longest Day. The event takes place on June 21, the longest day of the year.
In 2013, nearly 200 ACBL-affiliated clubs raised more than $500,000 for the charity, and they hope to exceed $750,000 in 2014 by enlisting more clubs and individual participants. ACBL is encouraging local clubs to register teams at alz.org/acbl.
With an average age of 69, ACBL’s members – most of whom play regularly at local bridge clubs – are significantly affected by Alzheimer’s disease. By raising funds as part of The Longest Day program, bridge players are able to honor friends and loved ones who have been stricken with the disease while also keeping their own mental skills sharp, according to the ACBL and the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Studies have shown strong links between games, such as bridge, and successful aging,” said Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL. “The game alone challenges and stimulates mental acuity, but there’s also a strong social aspect that can aid with successful aging.”
According to current research, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death and the only cause of death in the top 10 that there is no way to stop, slow or prevent. The Alzheimer’s Association continues to fund studies exploring the influence of mental fitness, physical fitness, diet and environment. As the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s rises, the effort to find prevention strategies continues to gain momentum.
Mental decline as one ages appears to be due largely to altered connections among and between brain cells. But research has found that keeping the brain active – by engaging in activities like playing bridge – may have some benefit and may lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
“The Alzheimer’s Association would not be able to operate successfully without the efforts of groups such as ACBL,” said Donna McCullough, vice president of mass market development for the Alzheimer’s Association. “The ACBL and bridge players in general are especially important to our association because of the game’s potential benefits for preserving mental sharpness, and we’re happy to partner with them again this year.”
This is the second consecutive year that ACBL has coordinated with bridge clubs across the United States and Canada to raise funds for The Longest Day. The sunrise-to-sunset event, which is held on the summer solstice, supports the Alzheimer’s Association by providing much-needed resources for the care, support and research efforts it leads.
To raise money, the ACBL is encouraging its members to compete in bridge games from sunrise to sunset, which is approximately 16 hours on the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. The format of the event is determined by local club managers.
“We’ve encouraged our members to be creative and get out in their communities to raise money from bridge players and anyone else interested in joining the fight to end Alzheimer’s,” said Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL. “Many clubs are offering beginner bridge lessons, a great way to involve the community while teaching a fun game that could impact the learner’s quality of life in the future.”
One club manager, Silvana Zangri of the Sagamore Bridge Club in Syosset, N.Y., raised $80,000 in 2013 by encouraging fellow bridge players and local businesses to get involved in the fundraising efforts.
“I thought the concept of The Longest Day would bring bridge players together and help us build a family,” Zangri said, “and I was right. Participants developed a camaraderie that I believe is unique in large clubs like mine. We went from being players we see at the bridge table to friends we share our time with away from the club.”
About the ACBL
Founded in 1937, the ACBL is the largest bridge organization in the world, serving 167,000 members and 3,200 bridge clubs, and sanctioning 1,100 sectional and regional tournaments annually. The ACBL’s three North American Bridge Championships each attract up to 5,000 players representing every state in the United States, Canada and about 20 other foreign countries. A challenging and rewarding card game, bridge attracts players of all ages and walks of life – from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to poker star Phil Gordon. For more information about the ACBL, visit www.acbl.org.
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org or call (800) 272-3900.