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By Douglas McCulloch
Hometown Weekly Staff
Over 20 families set up lemonade stands around Westwood on June 18 and raised over $3,500 for the Alzheimer’s Association.
The lemonade fundraiser was held as a part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Longest Day,” an annual fundraising event held each year on the summer solstice to both symbolize the struggles of caregivers and families of those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, and to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
This year, for the first time, the Westwood community took part in the fundraising day. Throughout the day, lemonade stands placed in front of local businesses, on neighborhood streets and in front of popular summer destinations sold lemonade and collected donations to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Longest Day lemonade sale was organized by Westwood resident Joan Maimonis. She became inspired to get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association after her mother lost a five-year battle with the disease in February.
As volunteers began counting the $3,500 the lemonade sale brought in, Maimonis was overcome with how proud she was that the fundraiser was a success.
“I feel so proud of my community,” Maimonis said. “I was hoping our community would come together and do this, and I’m overcome with joy that the town came together to support this cause.”
At the end of the fundraising day, volunteers of all ages who helped out during the lemonade sale gathered at Maimonis’s home for an ice cream party. The party featured a visit by Jayne Paragona, Vice President of Development for the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, who thanked the Westwood community for rallying behind the cause.
“This is unbelievable,” Paragona said. “Joan really pulled this together in just three weeks. It just shows the spirit of the community.”
Paragona was especially impressed with the number of kids who stepped up to help out with their parents during the lemonade sale.
“It really teaches the kids a sense of community and support,” Paragona said. “It also teaches them about Alzheimer’s.”
Paragona noted that funds raised through the Longest Day goes directly to the Alzheimer’s Association, which provides a number of services for those suffering from the disease, their caregivers, and their families. For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, visit alz.org.
Maimonis noted that the lemonade sale could not have succeeded without the support of the families and kids who stepped up to help out with the fundraiser, and from several local businesses, including Roche Bros, Wegman's, Target, Lifetime Fitness, Dedham Savings Bank and Coldwell Banker.
Next year, Maimonis hopes to triple the number of people and money raised during The Longest Day. Those interested in volunteering to take part in next year’s planned Longest Day fundraiser in Westwood can contact Maimonis via email at email@example.com or by calling 1-781-551-0563 to be added to a list of volunteers.