On a sun soaked summer solstice on June 21, about 200 local residents flocked to the Bay Park Civic Association Beach House in honor of Linda Pirrone, a longtime East Rockaway resident who was diagnosed with younger onset dementia seven years ago at age 50. There is no cure.
The festivities were part of the Alzheimer Association’s Longest Day initiative, in which advocates around the world get together for various activities on the summer solstice.
Music was provided by the group Jeff and Ashley and from Landslide, a band comprised of students who attend Oceanside High School. Pirrone’s family, friends and neighbors — collectively known as “Team Linda Lu” — joined in the fight to put an end to Alzheimer’s by raising funds and awareness at the event.
Pirrone’s sister, Diane Conway, got emotional when discussing the many people who took part in the event and donated their time and effort to the cause. “It was an overwhelming success,” Conway said. “It’s incredible when the group of people that came from her childhood, from her school days, from her work days and everybody just came in, and the love and support in that room was phenomenal.”
Local businesses also got involved, donating 54 baskets that were raffled off. The money raised went to the Alzheimer’s Association for care, support and research programs. In all, more than $17,000 was raised, which far exceeded expectations, according to Conway. “It was a great day,” she said. “I’m grateful for my whole team.”