Fishers event raises funds for Alzheimer’s Association


When Pete van Overwalle’s aunt, Pam van Overwalle, moved to Indianapolis to live closer to family, he became her primary caregiver because of the early onset Alzheimer’s disease. While trying to find and select a memory care home, he started to look for support resources to help with his new and challenging responsibility.

van Overwalle

“Through an invitation via Linked In, I connected with Jennifer Buddenbaum, manager (of) The Longest Day at Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana,” van Overwalle said. “We met for coffee and (she) quickly helped me understand the association’s many resources, from awareness, education and support for people suffering from disease, and those who love and care for them. Jennifer was very personable, professional and engaging, so it did not take long to think about supporting the association. The Longest Day campaign just made sense to me.”

That led to van Overwalle chairing the 2023 Longest Day fundraising campaign. The Longest Day is June 21, the Summer Solstice — the day with the most sunlight. On that day, people around the world will help fight the “darkness of Alzheimer’s” through fundraising activities.

“When I took on the role of The Longest Day Committee Chair, I knew the best way was to lead by example. I wanted the experience to figure out my event, plan it, host it and make a tangible difference,” he said. “The great thing about The Longest Day is that it’s intended to be based on something you are passionate about. In a busy life with work, family and caregiving, it makes it easier to channel precious time and energy to make it successful.”

So, van Overwalle decided to host the first Fishers Pickleball Clinic May 20 at Mashcraft Fishers to help raise funds for the campaign. He set a goal of $3,000 for the first-time event.

“I was not sure what we could do, but I also believe ‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.’ The event was a success in that, the 15 people that participated seemed to really enjoy the event,” he said. “And we raised $1,400, which goes directly to the Alzheimer’s Association to fund research and operations to support their vision.”

Ironically, before the Pickleball Clinic, van Overwalle had never touched a pickleball racket.

“It did not take long for everyone attending to get out on the courts and break a sweat. There were plenty of laughs, a bit of ball chasing, but enough of an experience to say, ‘I’ll be back’,” he said. “My Aunt Pam was there too and although she did not play, she really loved the day. Purple is her favorite color. She’s also hoping to stay involved with these events to find a boyfriend!”

While van Overwalle has never raised funds for charity before, he believes there is a “magic formula in life — when you give, you get back even more in return.”

“I quickly experienced that everyone I spoke to has some personal connection with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia somewhere in life. Mental health and living a quality life are also something most of us care about,” he said. “The association has these simple tools to help, like getting my campaign site set up, linking it to my Facebook, and sending an email invitation to my family, friends, and my network. An extra bonus is that I reconnected with a lot of people whom I had not been in touch with for quite a while.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including about 110,000 Hoosiers. By 2050, that number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million.

The report also found that another 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with dementia, this includes 216,000 in Indiana.

To learn more about the Longest Day or to donate, visit