Tim Cornell and Dugan take a rest on Saddleback during the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual event The Longest Day®.

1 Mission, 2 Dogs, 3 Hikers, 4 $4,000 Raised, 5 Peaks Climbed!

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Thursday July 24, 2014

Living in South Burlington affords us easy access to a veritable wonderland of forest and mountains. As avid hikers, my husband Tim and I relish the summer solstice.  More daylight means more hours on the trail! This June 21, 2014 we combined our love for the outdoors and our passion to end Alzheimer’s to lead Team Moving Mountains for a Cure, covering over 20 miles and 5 High Peaks in the Adirondacks. By 3:30 a.m. we were on the trail, headlamps on, dogs quiet and our minds not yet awake, navigating the ascent to Haystack. As the sun crested the ridgeline to our east and the moon clung in the morning sky I closed my eyes and sent thoughts of strength, courage and reverence to all those who are facing the intrinsic challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. I was mindful of the fact that although my day was going to be filled with knee trembling scrambling, screaming quads and blistered feet, it was nothing compared to the heartbreak that is Alzheimer’s.

This is our second year participating in the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual event- The Longest Day® a sunrise-to-sunset event to honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing a dementia. Last year we hiked 3 High Peaks and raised just over $1,600. This year, with the help of our friends and neighbors in South Burlington, we raised over $4,000 and awareness for the over 11,500 Vermonters living with  Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. 

By mid-afternoon, the dogs - seasoned trekkers, were seeking shade and soft ground. Our brother-in-law, Dan had broken out the Marine marching cadence and Tim was eerily quiet. I, slick with sweat and deafened by the hammering of blood in my ears, had just enough energy to wonder aloud, “what did I get myself into?” Haystack, Basin, Gothics and Saddleback were under my boots. All that was left was to peak Sawteeth, cross the river and ascend back to base camp at Snowbird. Inspiration abounds in the mountains but when exhaustion set in; it wasn’t the view that kept me moving,  it was the thought of those facing a far more formidable foe - Alzheimer’s.  

I am excited to share that the momentum in our community is building! A South Burlington based physical therapy clinic, Dee PT, heard of our plan and joined the movement. Team Dee PT, wore purple every Thursday leading up to The Longest Day and raised an additional $1,500 for the Alzheimer’s Association. 

It is never too early to start planning. So, I ask, “what will you do on The Longest Day to help create a world without Alzheimer’s?”


About the Alzheimer’s Association: The Alzheimer’s Association, Vermont Chapter offers help to people facing Alzheimer’s disease through education and support programs, our 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) and website at alz.org. To further research, the Association provides critical international leadership and funding to advance methods of treatment, prevention and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer’s.

SOURCE: Jessie Cornell, Guest Contributor