Tennis Tribute for Milly

Sarah and her mother, Milly O’Brien.

Sarah O’Brien Boyd will lace up her sneakers and hit the tennis court on Saturday, June 19 to participate in The Longest Day. She will play tennis from sunrise to sunset in Skokie, Illinois, in honor of her mother, Milly O’Brien. 

Milly passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. She was an extremely active person and was passionate about tennis for almost forty years. Sarah will honor her mother’s legacy this weekend by playing the sport she loved. Sarah’s friends and family will join her on the court to keep her busy all day.

Sarah is the youngest of seven children and grew up in Northern New Jersey. While her siblings on the East Coast won’t be able to cheer her on in-person, they contributed significantly to her fundraising. They also helped Sarah brainstorm some of Milly’s famous expressions which Sarah used as names for her sign up slots. Sarah shared, “When I came up with the idea of using my Mom’s expressions as time slots for my SignUpGenius, they helped me remember many of them. It was right around Mother’s Day and the 5 year anniversary of my Mom’s passing, so I think it was our way of paying tribute to her.” Her sayings included, “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear,” and “Only boring people are bored.” Reminiscing about their mother’s songs and sayings made Sarah and her siblings laugh, providing a moment of levity on an otherwise somber anniversary. 

Sarah’s husband and children are also supporting her Longest Day activity. Her son Cameron will host his own all-day sporting event: he plans to play golf from sunrise to sunset one day next week. Sarah’s younger sons and husband plan to join her during one of her tennis slots on Saturday and cheer her on from the sidelines throughout the day. Relatives on both sides of their family have passed from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and some are living with it today.

“Obviously, there are so many needy causes out there and people tend to get involved when a disease affects them personally,” says Sarah. “So I think the more we can educate people about what happens to Alzheimer’s patients and their families, the more people will want to get involved and raise funds to fight the disease.”

Sarah’s fundraising is in full swing: she hasn’t gotten to the tennis court yet, but she already reached the elite Solstice Champion status. She started collecting donations early and raised over $11,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. As Milly would say, “The early bird catches the worm.” 

Support Sarah’s The Longest Day fundraiser here, and learn more at alz.org/TheLongestDay.

The Longest Day is a fundraising event focused around the summer solstice—June 20—that strives to advance the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. People from around the world will choose a fundraising activity of their choice to fight against Alzheimer’s. 

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