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Taking an Axe to Alzheimer's Disease

Taking an Axe to Alzheimer's Disease
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June 17, 2019
Media Line: 615-315-5880
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Raelynn Messex has come to expect silence from her grandfather when she says she loves him — he stopped responding to that phrase a while ago.

“When I visit him now, he’s always trying to figure out who I am,” Raelynn said. “He doesn’t say ‘I love you’ back to me because he doesn’t know who I am.”

Doctors diagnosed John Lay with Alzheimer’s disease when he was 73 years old. Today, he’s 81 and lives in Michigan with Raelynn’s grandmother, who serves as his caregiver.


“I’ve done a certain amount of grieving because he’s not the same person that he was and I miss talking to him,” said Judy Lay, John's wife of 58 years. “We used to get in bed at night and talk for hours — now I’m lucky if I can get him to say goodnight.”

John is one of 5.8 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease — a number that’s expected to climb to nearly 14 million by 2050.

But this week, millions more are choosing to fight back, including Raelynn’s employer, Civil Axe Throwing.

“When I asked our team who had a direct connection to Alzheimer’s disease, I was shocked at how quickly people responded,” said Scott Brewer, vice president of sales and marketing at Civil Axe Throwing. “Raelynn is one of several people in our Civil Axe Throwing family who is currently battling this disease within their families.”

That’s why the company chose to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association to support The Longest Day — a DIY-fundraising initiative that lets anyone choose an activity they love to raise money in honor of who they love.

On July 17, Civil Axe Throwing hosted a tournament at all six of its locations to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. Proceeds from the event will help fund Alzheimer’s care, support, education and research.

“It means the world to me that my employer is stepping up and joining the fight against this disease,” Raelynn said. “I’ve seen how much time and energy goes into caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s and those families, including my own, need the help that the Alzheimer’s Association offers.”

If you’re interested in launching your own activity for The Longest Day, you can learn more here or email Kelsey Williams at

Alzheimer's Association

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