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CountryHouse's 5K Color Run raises roughly $3,500 for Alzheimer's Association

The longest day is also the day with the most light — the summer solstice. It’s also an opportunity that the Alzheimer’s Association takes to call on everyone to fight Alzheimer’s disease by raising funds.

Amanda Kessel, left, and Kayla Dukart, right, smile as memory care works toss piles of chalk onto them during the 3rd Annual 5K Longest Day Color Run on Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Rocky Butte Park in Dickinson. The event raised more than $3,500 for the Alzheimer's Association.
Amanda Kessel, left, and Kayla Dukart, right, smile as memory care works toss piles of chalk onto them during the 3rd Annual 5K Longest Day Color Run on Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Rocky Butte Park in Dickinson. The event raised more than $3,500 for the Alzheimer's Association.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — June 21 marks the summer solstice, but it is also known to many as “The Longest Day” — the day with the most light — where people from around the world will come together to help fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s. On Saturday, the Dickinson community gathered for the 3rd Annual 5K Longest Day Color Run to raise more than $3,500 for the Alzheimer's Association.

Hosted by CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care, the color run drew 115 runners to Rocky Butte Park in Dickinson. Despite humid temperatures reaching a boiling 90 degrees, runners lined up with supportive smiles, sporting various shades of purple — the signature color of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It means the world to us,” Amanda Wilson, CountryHouse’s memory care director, said. "Working with 30 residents that are living with dementia and just seeing the families come together and the community come together, it’s bringing the awareness that we stand for.”

CountryHouse Executive Director Tessa Johnson noted that they’ve raised more than $6,300 this year for the cause.

“Dementia or types of dementia like Alzheimer's affects everybody,” Johnson said. “It doesn't matter; everybody knows somebody whether it's a family or a friend and people coming together and just again, we're just always praying for a cure.”

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As runners made their laps around the paved park path, memory care workers staged at various color stops waited to splash chalk on the participants. From mini water guns to buckets of purple chalk, runners and even some pets were soaked in rainbow colors by the time they crossed the finish line. Along with CountryHouse, Evergreen, St. Luke’s Home, Benedictine Living Community and Edgewood Hawks Point all joined in on the fun with their own uniquely themed color stops.

“So we have a really close working relationship, which I think is the best for our community,” Johnson added.

Runners in the 5K included Amanda Kessel and Kayla Dukart, both coming out to support the cause. Dukart is hoping that the event will only continue to grow in years to come.

“... I have family that had Alzheimer’s. So my great-grandma passed from it,” Dukart said. “So it’s something that means a lot to our family… When you have family and you watch the disease in progress, it would be nice to find some kind of cure… I think a lot of people who haven’t experienced Alzheimer’s, they don’t really understand the depth of it.”

Kessel, who works as a nurse in Dickinson, noted that she likes to see the best come out of every situation and she hopes to bring awareness to the cause.

“I did it last year and it was just a ton of fun and it’s just a good time,” Kessel said.

As the event drew closer to noon, a bus from CountryHouse arrived, ushering residents with big smiles to interact with the runners of the day. Some even engaged in an impromptu dance as popular music echoed from the adjacent DJ stand to fill the park.

“It’s a great cause and we all just want to come together and show our support and do anything that we can do for the Alzheimer's Association and just bringing awareness and hoping for more resources and better community support,” Wilson added.

Jackie Jahfetson is a graduate of Northern Michigan University whose journalism path began in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a freelancer for The Daily Mining Gazette. Her previous roles include editor-in-chief at The North Wind and reporter at The Mining Journal in Marquette, Mich. Raised on a dairy farm, she immediately knew Dickinson would be her first destination west as she focuses on gaining aptitude for ranch life, crop farming and everything agriculture. She covers hard news stories centered on government, fires, crime and education. When not fulfilling deadlines and attending city commission meetings, she is a budding musician and singer.
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