Soft breezes of the summer solstice carried hundreds of purple balloons into the bright sky as Crandall Medical Center partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to mark “The Longest Day” with a balloon launch and “Welcome Summer” social.

Each balloon carried the name of someone who has been touched by Alzheimer’s Disease: victim, relative, friend, caregiver or concerned community member. Purple is the color representing Alzheimer’s Disease.


“Longest Day” events are planned annually in June on the date of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year when the sun is directly over the northern hemisphere.

“For an individual with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers who face immense challenges, every day is the ‘longest day’,” said Tara Garmier, LPN, director of Memory Lane, the Alzheimer’s and dementia care unit at Crandall Medical Center. “And, just as the earth begins to rotate away from the sun, Alzheimer’s disease takes it’s victims away from reality.”

In paying tribute to caregivers, Garmier said, “We have the wonderful opportunity to make the most of every day for every individual with dementia; to give Alzheimer’s patients as many good moments as possible.”

“Our goal for the Longest Day observance is three-fold: to pay tribute to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, their loved ones and caregivers; to raise awareness of the challenges that come with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease; and to provide funds for continued research for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Kim Strabala, LPN, Crandall nurse liaison.

“Today is full of hope and support,” said Bambi Eisenman, Crandall Medical Center Activity Director, who assisted in planning the event. “We hope and pray for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease and want caregivers to know that there is a tremendous amount of support to help them meet everyday challenges they face.”

Representing the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeast Ohio was Marilyn King, RN, a Copeland Oaks resident, who is an active advocate for Alzheimer’s research and support. Marilyn and her late husband, Dr. Chris King, made several trips to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers to discuss programs needed to address the Alzheimer’s epidemic. Dr. King, a well-known physician who practiced at Ohio Eye Alliance, died in January after a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Vocalist Tom Cramer provided entertainment for the event. The invocation was given by Candace King, LSW, Crandall admission director, and refreshments were served by Copeland Oaks and Crandall staff.

Besides sale of the balloon tags, funds for the Alzheimer’s Association were raised via a Chinese auction. Supporting the event were: The College Inn, Blue Fig Restaurant, Jalisco’s, Hairtrix Salon & Spa, Pizza Hut, Family Video, Don Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, AJP Floral, Hot Pots, DC’s Hair Department, Texas Roadhouse, Hardy Designs, and Heggy’s.