The Crosseyed Picklers is a group of pickleball enthusiasts from The Cross Church in Loganville that has found a way to enjoy the spirit of the game while playing for a cause that is close to their hearts.
“We have just had our 2nd annual tournament to benefit Alzheimer’s,” said Ken Pruitt, one of the team members. “Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that can lead to memory loss, mood changes, disorientation, and more. Although there’s currently no cure, there are actions people can do to help fund, build awareness, and support research efforts. Our group has a very special interest in this critical issue of our time. We have two players/friends who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s! We do this in their honor, and for the sake of those like them that are leaving patients and families struggling with the hardship.”
Pruitt said last year’s tournament raised $3,500 for the organization and last month the Crosseyed Picklers were able to hand over another $3,000 for the cause. He said they didn’t manage to raise as much as they did last year due to illness in some of their members.
“We have had so many players dealing with sickness and injuries, including one of the Alzheimer’s victims, and we weren’t able to secure as many donations from local businesses as last year, but we hope that next year, with some interest from media, that we’ll be able to make this a prominent annual event,” Pruitt said, noting that the matter is very relevant at the moment. There was an event in Atlanta just last month that had Alzheimer’s patients and advocates demonstrating at the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services pleading for approval of two promising new drugs that are still in a trial stage.
The Crosseyed Picklers tournament this year also had donated products that they auctioned off, raffles for pickleball equipment donated by the organizer, Mary Mack, and they sold hotdogs and snacks.
A large symbolic check representing the $3,000 that was raised through this year’s tournament was presented to Olivia Browning, the Alzheimer’s Association representative. Browning works with the Longest Day Alzheimer’s Fundraising event that takes place on June 21, the Summer Solstice each year. The Crosseyed Picklers got a jump on the event, but Browning was very grateful for the early contribution.
“This was my first year working with them, but I believe they do it every year,” Browning said. She explained that the Longest Day for Alzheimer’s is a fundraising event put on by the Alzheimer’s Association as a global call to end Alzheimer’s. According to the organization, this is a “symbolic gesture designed to clear the darkness of Alzheimer’s on the brightest day of the year.”
“Anybody can do it,” Browning said. “You can do it within your community, with your family and friends, or just by yourself. Anybody can choose to host a fundraiser where the money comes direct to the association. We provide the resources for advertising and raising money. It is the volunteers who plan and arrange everything. In this pickleball tournament, they handled everything themselves and then gave the money directly to us.”
Anybody else who wants to get in on this year’s longest day fundraiser can get more information at Longest Day for Alzheimer’s link.