Santa Barbara Bridge Club raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day

People across the globe will join together to honor those facing Alzheimer’s disease by participating in The Longest Day® on Monday, June 20, 2016. The Longest Day is a sunrise-to-sunset event to honor the strength, passion and endurance of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Teams will complete a day filled with activity to raise funds and awareness for the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.“>
On the longest day of the year, June 20, 2016, card game enthusiasts will fill 24 tables of four and celebrate the summer solstice by playing bridge for 13 hours to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.
“I personally think it’s one of the best nonprofit cause relationships because bridge is trying to keep you mentally strong,” said Tish Gainey, a local bridge club manager and The Longest Day committee member. “The goal of so many of our bridge players is to keep those senior moments to a minimum.”
The “Ruffnsluffers” team, named by blending bridge playing strategies, is part of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) and its four-year partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association.
Even though other bridge teams have a longer history with the event, Tish and her team captain, Jennifer Larkin, (and their five-woman bridge club committee) set their hearts high for first-time goal, to be the number one bridge team in the nation raising money to help the Alzheimer’s Association on the longest day of the year.
At the beginning of June, they had raised nearly $16,000 through various sponsorships and four-person teams paying $300 each to grab a seat at a table.
“There’s something about the game of bridge which takes a lot of mental acuity,” said Tish, noting that players have to pay attention, count and problem solve, which uses all of your brain and keeps you more involved mentally.
Tish’s mom, who had dementia, taught her how to play the game. “Everyone at the bridge center has someone in their life with some related experience,” she added, and most bridge players do so to keep their mind active for fear of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“We value bridge for our brains,” said Jennifer. “It does keep those synapses firing; it takes a lot of brain power.”
Adding that bridge is a very competitive mental sport, Tish laughingly said it’s interesting that the men tend to be the better bridge players. “Maybe because we have other things going on in our lives.”
Although Tish has not been touched by Alzheimer’s, a friend of hers shared an experience that the local Alzheimer’s chapter has one of the best support groups.
“Our memories are supportive to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s,” said Jennifer.

Visit the Santa Barbara Rufnsluffers’ page today to support the cause!
To join the Santa Barbara Bridge Club tournament, contact Tish Gainey at or 805.682.2911 or contact Jennifer Larkin at or 805.698.1858!

Greater understanding is urgently needed given the dramatic impact of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

To improve the public’s understanding of the disease and to underscore the need for swift action, the Alzheimer’s Association is highlighting essential truths aimed at curbing common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s. These truths include:

Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, but adopting healthy habits can reduce your risk of cognitive decline and contribute to brain health. Staying mentally active, engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet benefits your body and your brain. There is also some evidence people may benefit from staying socially engaged with friends, family and the community. The Alzheimer’s Association is sharing steps to reduce your risk of cognitive decline with 10 Ways to Love Your Brain.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country. Alzheimer’s disease remains one of the most critical public health issues in America, costing taxpayers $18.3 million each hour. The total national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are estimated at $236 billion a year, of which $160 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid alone. As the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s grows, the total annual payments for health care, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1 trillion in 2050.

Caregiving can become anyone’s reality. The enormity of the Alzheimer’s crisis is felt not only by the more than five million people in the United States living with the disease today, but also by their more than 15 million caregivers, friends and family. According to the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, it is estimated that 250,000 children and young adults between ages 8 and 18 provide help to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. In addition, 23 percent of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers — meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for underage children.

During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging everyone to uncover the truth about Alzheimer’s and to show their support for people living with the disease by doing the following:

Participate in The Longest Day® on June 20, a sunrise-to-sunset event to honor those facing Alzheimer’s disease with strength, heart and endurance.

Join the Alzheimer’s Association in wearing purple throughout the month, especially on June 20. Share photos of yourself, family, friends and co-workers wearing the movement’s signature color via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. with the hashtag #ENDALZ.

The Longest Day®
The Longest Day is a team event to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. Held annually on the summer solstice, the duration of this sunrise-to-sunset event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers. Teams are encouraged to create their own experience as they fundraise and participate in an activity they love to honor those facing the disease. Every dollar raised benefits those affected by Alzheimer’s disease in our community.

Alzheimer’s Association® California Central Chapter
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. The California Central Chapter provides services in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. We are located at 1528 Chapala Street, Suite 204, Santa Barbara, CA, 93101. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

Santa Barbara Bridge Center
Founded in 1976, the Santa Barbara Bridge Center is a sanctioned bridge club of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). The Santa Barbara Bridge Center holds regular duplicate games throughout the week and offers bridge lessons for beginning, intermediate and advancing players. Through its affiliation with ACBL, the inaugural global partner of the Alzheimer’s Association for the Longest Day campaign, for which it has raised over $1.7 million, the Santa Barbara Bridge Center has chosen to participate in the 2016 Longest Day events.



Mitchel Sloan, Vice President of Development and Communication
805.892.4259 x102
805.427.6127 mobile

Dylan Ginoza, Development Associate
805.892.4259 x113
714.907.3652 mobile

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