Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: For those who may be unfamiliar, what is the The Longest Day, and how does it help to raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association?
Meghan Caves: Certainly! The Longest Day is a team event held by the Alzheimer's Association annually on the summer solstice or longest day of the year from sunrise to sunset. It is symbolic of the daily journey and struggles caregivers and those living with the disease face. The Alzheimer's Association encourages you to gather a team of friends and plan an activity for the day to help raise money. They set you up with a fancy donation page and plenty of tools to help you plan your event! The goal of the event is raising money which goes directly to The Alzheimer's Association. They in turn use the donations to raise awareness, support those struggling with Alzheimer's, and drive research for a cure. And the event itself attracts groups big and small which in turn spreads awareness on a personal level.
BD: Why has raising awareness for the Alzheimer’s been meaningful to you?
MC: Alzheimer’s has been a part of my life since I was a child. My great-grandmother, Bess, suffered from it. I spent many days in the nursing home with my grandmother, Hallie, watching as she cared for her mother who was deteriorating a little more each day in front of our eyes. I was only 5, but it was a huge part of my life. Then, as I got older, my grandmother started showing signs of dementia, and not long after, her sister Ruthanne was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. My grandfather, Jim, cared for my grandmother for at least 10 years on his own. Hallie passed in May of 2013 and only a few months after that my mother, Laurie, was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer's at the moderate stage. She was 55.
It has been devastating. I am an only child from a divorced family. My mother never remarried, so it was just me and her most of the time growing up. All diseases are cruel and hard to watch, but Alzheimer's takes away someone's identity slowly and painfully. They lose their memories, they might lose their motor control, their depth perception, their speech, their ability to feed themselves, or all of those things and more. It affects every single person differently, and more and more people are being diagnosed with it every day. Raising awareness for Alzheimer's means more people fighting to cure it. Scientists are working, but developing cures and better understanding the disease costs money. My hope is that they will find a cure for this disease in the near future so no one else has to suffer from it. There are plenty of hopeful studies, but they need as much support as they can get.
BD: On June 17th, Saving Throw will be hosting a 24-hour role-playing game fundraising event for The Longest Day. What can you tell us about Saving Throw, and how did you become involved in this upcoming role-playing event?
MC: Yes! Saving Throw originated as a group of friends who banded together to create role-playing game content that they wanted to see. They wanted to create a welcoming place for people from all walks of life to come and share in their mutual love of all-things game. Everything we do at Saving Throw circles around inclusion, influence, and instruction. On YouTube we have tutorials on how to play games, like Pathfinder. On Twitch, we have actual playthroughs of 5 different game systems every week. You can influence those games by donating for different rewards like re-rolls or a new monster that the players have to fight.
I'm still fairly new to Saving Throw. My husband and I got involved when our mutual friend Wes Otis, who runs Platemail Games, asked us to play in his Call of Cthulhu game he was going to be GMing for Saving Throw every other Friday. And one of the original members of Saving Throw, Amy Vorphal, just happened to be someone my husband and I went to college with! Small world!
We have played 6 sessions of Call of Cthulhu now, and it has been quite a fun experience! Saving Throw participates in charity events throughout the year and when I heard about The Longest Day event, I immediately jumped aboard! We are not holding the event on the actual longest day (which is June 20th); instead, we're holding it on Free RPG Day, which happens to be a Saturday, so more people can participate!
BD: Will the event be viewable online, and how may readers interact with the event?
MC: Yes, you can view the event starting on June 17th at 7 p.m./PDT via Twitch at twitch.tv/savingthrowshow. The show will run until 7 p.m./PDT on June 18th. The first show of the marathon will actually be the Call of Cthulhu game I play in called Black Bag! When you watch a Saving Throw game via Twitch, you earn 1 XP per each minute you watch. There are rewards that can be purchased with either that XP or real money, and each game has their own set of specific rewards. This will be true of The Longest Day event, as well, except all donations made throughout the month of June and during the event will be going to the Alzheimer's Association. As we hit various different fundraising goals, special events will trigger. You can see the current list of those events on Saving Throw's The Longest Day team page. I also have a donation page with its own set of rewards specific to the games I'll be playing in during the event, and as we get closer it's possible more players will have a page of their own with specific rewards. You can find my page here.
BD: What are some of the fun rewards that are available to those who donate to Saving Throw’s event (before June 17th)?
MC: Well, I have a few specific rewards on my Longest Day donation page, picking a catch phrase for my character to use in one of the games I'll be playing in. But on Saving Throw's team page we have goal events. For example, when we hit $2,500 a Nerf war will break out. Or when we hit $3,000 all the viewers during the stream will be gaining 3 XP per minute instead of the usual 1 XP. You can donate towards all of those goals now, and if we hit them before the 24-hour event, we will save them up to be played out during the stream. Goals and rewards are still being updated, so keep an eye out for more! We will also have rewards for each of the different games during the event which are always fun and ridiculous!
BD: What are you most looking forward to about Saving Throw’s fundraising event, and what can readers anticipate by way of the game(s) to be played?
MC: I'm looking forward to the game we will be playing at 10:00 p.m./PDT Roll for Shoes. I've played it once before, but I can't wait to see how this group of players plays it! Though I'm looking forward to all the games I will be playing in, which I think currently is 4 or 5. Let's just say I'm going to need a whole lot of caffeine!
Here's a list of all the games we will be playing for the stream and when:
Black Bag: Call of Cthulhu June 17th 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 pm../PDT
Roll for Shoes June 17th 10:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m./PDT
Microscope June 18th 1:00 a.m. – 3:30 a.m./PDT
Gamma World or 5e D&D June 18th 4:00 a.m. – 6:30 a.m./PDT
End of the World: Alien Invasion June 18th 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m./PDT
Beast of Yagga-Mor: Danger Patrol June 18th 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m./PDT
Dark Sun: Dungeon World June 18th 1:00 pm – 3:30 p.m./PDT
Wizards, Warriors, and You Live Reading! June 18th 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m./PDT
BD: For those that may not be able to participate in the role-playing event, are there other opportunities to donate or volunteer their time for The Longest Day?
MC: Of course! All donations made in the month of June to any of Saving Throw's shows will be going to the Alzheimer's Association. We have Monday Night Dungeon Fight which is a Player vs. Player all-out brawl using modified Dungeons and Dragons rules every other Monday at 7:30 p.m./PDT, Barky's Brigade which is our 5th edition D&D campaign every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m./PDT, Black Bag which as I said before is our 7th edition Call of Cthulhu game every other Friday at 7:30 p.m./PDT, Never Tell Me the Odds is our Fantasy Flights Star Wars RPG which runs opposing Fridays to Black Bag also at 7:30 p.m./PDT, and Dark Sun which uses the Dungeon World game system with the D&D setting of Dark Sun every Saturday 12:30 p.m./PDT. Every game has some fun way you can mess with it via donation.
You can also check out the Alzheimer's Association's Longest Day event page. There are so many different groups running events. You can easily set up your own donation page and join an event or you can donate at anytime to a donation page like Saving Throw's.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about Saving Throw, The Longest Day, and the Alzheimer’s Association?
MC: Saving Throw is still growing, and the people who started it are just a passionate bunch of good folks. I'm super happy I stumbled upon them! If you want to know or see more about what we do at Saving Throw, you can find us online at savingthrowshow.com, on Twitch at twitch.tv/savingthrowshow, on YouTube at youtube.com/c/savingthrowshow, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumbler (@savingthrowshow).
If you want to know more about The Longest Day and the Alzheimer's Association, check out their website at alz.org. They have a ton of information and resources for those struggling with Alzheimer's and other brain diseases including a 24-hour helpline for support and information which I have personally utilized and I think is just fantastic.
If you have a volunteer opportunity or an important cause that could use the assistance of a few geeks, please email the details to barbra (at) fanbasepress (dot) com.