A local bridge club raised several thousand dollars for Alzheimer's research Saturday by playing for 17 hours straight on the longest day of the year.
Beginning at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, the first official day of summer, dozens of players from the Kaw Valley Bridge Club competed in back-to-back games at the bridge club's office on North Third Street and Johnny's Tavern until about 10:30 p.m. In doing so, they raised more than $6,000 for the Alzheimer's Association, club president Chris Lane estimated.
Alzheimer's significantly impacts American Contract Bridge League members, whose average age is 69. More than 5 million Americans suffer from the disease, while another 15 million care for a person who does.
"My mother-in-law had Alzheimer's and died from it," Lane said. "We were her caregivers. It was a very sobering experience. It's a terrible disease."
But medical experts say that playing bridge can help sharpen people's mental skills. "We call it aerobics for the brain," Lane said. "Bridge is an intense mental activity, which is why it's good for any kind of dementia. Doctors have shown that it will at least delay the onset of dementia, if not prevent it."