By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
About 50 Yukon residents and downtown merchants braved the heat last Friday to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
The Yukon 66 Main Street Association more than doubled its fund-raising goal for “Walk the Route.” The event was part of the Alzheimer’s Association of Oklahoma’s annual “The Longest Day” observance.
Despite last Friday’s heat, Main Street Director Vicki Davis said the walk was a grand success.
“It was both humbling and inspiring to hear testimonies of how this disease has touched various participants of the walk and why it was important to them to come out and show support for the cause,” Davis said.
“We also hope that this event has helped to spur lifestyle habits that improve brain health, such as walking. This partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association was a perfect pairing of our Main Street efforts to promote a walk-able community.”
The official “group” walk was from 9-11 a.m.
“We had 32 people who checked in at the registration site, but there were others who walked during the day. Some started as early as 6 a.m. and others came out later in the day and into the evening.
“We estimate about 45-50 participants, including those that we are aware of who walked early or later than the corporate walk. Then there were at least eight who hosted ‘watering holes’, along the two-mile route.”
Several Main Street businesses and volunteers at the Yukon Veterans Museum provided cold water for the walkers.
The Alzheimer’s Association promoted The Longest Day last Friday because that was the summer solstice – the day with the most sunshine.
Participating walkers and volunteers wore purple and some downtown Yukon shops decorated their stores for the effort.
More than $1,100 was raised through the local effort to advance Alzheimer’s Association care, support and research programs.
“We easily doubled our $500 goal,” Davis said. “People were still donating to our (on-line) team page as of Monday morning. All money we raise goes to the Alzheimer’s Association of Oklahoma.
“We appreciate everyone who gave.”
Yukon had the largest Longest Day community event in Oklahoma.
Yukon’s Main Street director offered kudos to downtown merchants who helped out.
“They participated in various ways,” she said. “Some decorated their storefronts, some came out and walked and others contributed financially.”
Yukon’s Best Main Street volunteers hosted The Longest Day to help promote healthy living and Yukon’s unique downtown shops.
Oklahoma Longest Day coordinator Justine Mulanax thanked the Yukon 66 Main Street Association and Main Street director Davis for their efforts to promote last Friday’s community event.
The Longest Day is observed annually to “fight the darkness” of Alzheimer’s, according to Mulanax.
In Oklahoma alone, more than 65,000 people live with Alzheimer’s and more than 224,000 family members and friends provide care.
Yukon’s downtown district stretches along Main Street (Highway 66) from Cornwell to Garth Brooks Boulevard.
The Longest Day last Friday coincided with the June observance of “Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.”