Susan Bingaman’s sister, Linda Bingaman Brown, started accidentally locking herself out of her car, and got lost on a street she would often travel.
At 55, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that affects memory, gradually getting worse over time.
“I think that people think that it’s not as bad as it is, but it’s awful,” said Bingaman. “She hasn’t had a conversation with us for 1 1/2 to two years.”
Brown, now 61, has provided Bingaman with the inspiration to fight against the disease this year, Bingaman forming her own one-woman team for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day. The program, which usually involves a group of people doing physical activity to raise awareness, is being reinterpreted by Bingaman, who will be selling garden balls, planters made out of bowling balls decorated with pennies.
“I decided to do something artistic, because that’s how my sister is,” said Bingaman. “The theme for the garden ball idea is a penny for your thoughts. I’m going to drive around places where my sister would go with these planters.”
Selling her garden balls for $100 each on the Longest Day, June 21, Bingaman hopes to earn at least $1,600, with all proceeds going directly to the association.
“It not only affects our family, it affects many families,” said Bingaman. “I’m doing this because I am so proud of my sister.”
For those worried about not being able to spot Bingaman, there should be no issue, as Bingaman’s vehicle will be decorated by the children at Growing Kids Learning Center.
“My sister and I had good memories decorating floats when we were in school,” said Bingaman. “I hope that people will notice my car and donate or buy a ball from me.”
Those interested in donating can do so by visiting thelongestday.alz.org/home/team/95891 or purchasing a garden ball from Bingaman.