BRIDGExpress is a successful bridge club based out of Great Neck. As part of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), BRIDGExpress participated in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day Campaign, where thousands of organizations come together to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research efforts.
The ACBL’s mission is to promote, grow and sustain the game of bridge. The non-profit supports clubs and tournaments in North America and other neighboring countries. The ACBL is an integral partner for the Longest Day Campaign. Through an activity of their choice, participants use their creativity and passions to support the Alzheimers Association. Since 2013, the ACBL has raised $8.7 million for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“ACBL continues to be an extraordinary leader in the fight to end Alzheimer’s,” said Harry Johns, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Raising over $1 million this year as a The Longest Day Global Team and more than $8.8 million in the last decade, ACBL members demonstrate their commitment to Alzheimer’s Association care, support and research programs every year. We are grateful to the entire ACBL community for the continued dedication and generous support that bring us closer to our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease and all other dementia.”
This is the third year that BRIDGExpress has participated in the Longest Day Campaign. BRIDGExpress raised $138,933 for the campaign, making them the second top-performing contributor within the ACBL. A member of BRIDGExpress from Floral Park donated $100,000 to the campaign fund.
Club owner, manager and one of the club directors, Cathy Kirshner, takes pride in BRIDGExpress’ growth over the years and increasing contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association. BRIDGExpress opened at the Lake Success Jewish Center 13 years ago and has participated in the Longest Day Campaign for three years.
“We had a very nice turnout for the games that we played,” said Kirshner. “We raised money in donations besides donating a portion of everyone’s card fees.”
“We have gotten tremendous participation from the small donations,” said Kirshner. “And to me, that’s what I’m really proud of. The $100,000 donation is so important, and this is a person making this donation every year. But the small donations really count, and we work very hard to get it all worked out.”
According to a press release from ABCL, more than 300 bridge clubs hosted bridge games to raise funds toward ACBL’s global team for The Longest Day. Raising the most money were:
1. Bridge Club of Atlanta – Atlanta, Georgia – $160,979 raised
2. BRIDGExpress – Great Neck, New York – $138,933 raised
3. St. Louis Bridge Center – St. Louis,
Missouri – $63,145 raised
4. Indianapolis BridgeCenter –
Indianapolis, Indiana – $35,176 raised
5. Santa Barbara Bridge Center – Santa Barbara, California – $31,183 raised
6. Charlotte Bridge Association –
Charlotte, North Carolina – $27,460 raised
7. Unit 498 & The Peninsula Team –
Belmont, California – $25,098 raised
8. Granbury BridgeClub – Granbury, Texas – $22,860 raised
9. Fort Wayne Duplicate Bridge Club –
Fort Wayne, Indiana – $20,862 raised
10. Evansville Duplicate Bridge Club – Newburgh, Indiana – $20,421 raised
Besides contributing to a good cause, BRIDGExpress has personal connections to supporting the Alzheimer’s Association. The club has lost many members because of Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases.
“We have lost people to the physical and mental effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s,” said Kirshner. “We all know somebody who has it, had it, or will have it. We’re really trying to do our best to keep our minds healthy by playing bridge. It has been proven that playing bridge is something that can slow the process.”
“Many of our lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s, and the ACBL community has rallied to support the research for its prevention and treatment by participating in an activity they love,” said Joe Jones, ACBL’s executive director. “Once again, I am amazed by the generosity of our membership and the hard work they put into The Longest Day for the Alzheimer’s Association.”
In addition to keeping the mind healthy, playing bridge is also beneficial because of the social aspects. During the pandemic, BRIDGExpress and the ACBL as a whole hosted bridge games online.
“People couldn’t wait to come back and play, which factored into how successful we were at fundraising this year,” said Kirshner. “I think that [our success] is attributable to the fact that we require everyone who comes to play to have proof of vaccination and be up to date with vaccinations. We are sitting in a room and as nice as the room is and as well-ventilated as the room may be, we are still sitting together and not required to wear masks, so we feel safer if everyone’s been vaccinated.”
BRIDGExpress’s strict rules have allowed the club to operate continuously in person since May of 2021.
“If anyone is sick, they are not coming in,” said Kirshner. “So we’ve developed trust and confidence. I have a very strong loyalty to my people. They trust me, and I trust them.”
Kirshner’s BRIDGExpress is the biggest bridge club on Long Island. The other large bridge club on Long Island hasn’t returned to in-person games, continuing online games. People from all over Long Island, Queens and a few from Manhattan come to Great Neck to participate in BRIDGExpress’ games.
“We are proud of what we did [for the Alzheimer’s Association], and I am very proud of everyone who helped and pitched in,” said Kirshner. “It’s very hard, and it’s not easy no matter what fundraiser you’re working on. I’m proud of BRIDGExpress, and I love what we do.”
To join the fight or donate to Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day Campaign visit act.alz.org. Visit bridgexpress.com to learn more about BRIDGExpress and learn how to get involved in the club.