Making Memories and to Help Those Aiding Those Who Can’t

By Nick Masuda   |   July 8, 2021
Organized by Leslie Schneiderman and attended by dozens — including (from left) Diane Sullivan, April Theisens, and Sharon Bradford — the game day at La Cumbre Country Club raised nearly $16,000 as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Longest Day” campaign

In Santa Barbara, Summer Solstice is synonymous with a vibrant parade down State Street, with music blaring and feet moving to the beat.

But that’s not the only impactful event in town — the Alzheimer’s Association has hosted “The Longest Day” in each of the last seven years.

The day is a combination of a plethora of small fundraisers, from hours-long kayaking in the Channel to board games with dozens of your best friends.

Leslie Schneiderman was the backbone of the latter, putting together a sold-out event at La Cumbre Country Club that featured Bridge and Mahjong, bringing in nearly $16,000 in one day.

“Watching everybody hug each other for the first time and to be in that space playing together like they’ve always done — it was awesome,” said Sonya Branco, the Alzheimer’s Association’s director of development along the Central Coast.

The organization has a goal of raising $82,000 through the Longest Day event cycle, already sitting at $56,000, with a deadline of August 31, 2021.

The Longest Day acts as one of two annual fundraisers for the Alzheimer’s Association, with the other being its walk in the fall that normally nets close to $200,000.

“It is essential that all families are aware of and have access to our services,” said Lindsey Leonard, executive director for Alzheimer’s Association. “In 2021, we project that we will be helping more than 3,000 individuals living along the Central Coast – an increase of more than 7% from last year.”

Branco enjoys the inventiveness of the Longest Day, as it combines fundraising with a personal connection to an activity.

It’s also a testament to the caregivers that experience daily longest days — taking on the ongoing battle of trying to find treatment or a cure for California’s second-deadliest disease.

“There’s no clocking in or clocking out when you’re caring for somebody with Alzheimer’s, and so that’s what the longest day is,” Branco said.

To donate to Leslie’s fundraiser, visit

If you’d like to get involved with the Longest Day or the Alzheimer’s Walk, reach out to Sonya at


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