Rowing for a Cause: Chris Heerdegen’s Commitment to Alzheimer’s Awareness


May 28, 2024

Skylight Financial Planner Chris Heerdegen is once again setting out to make waves in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease with his 6th annual Rowing to Remember fundraiser. This inspiring event, scheduled for Friday, June 21st at Forest View Lanes Recreation Bar & Grill, will see Chris rowing from 6 am to 10 pm, aiming to complete an impressive 72 miles in support of the Alzheimer’s Association.

A Personal Mission Inspired by Family

The Rowing to Remember event is part of the Longest Day campaign, a nationwide initiative where thousands of participants engage in activities, they are passionate about to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Chris’s inspiration to start this fundraiser came from a deeply personal place—his father, Dick Heerdegen, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After his father’s passing in 2018 at age 72, Chris channeled his grief and determination into creating this event to honor his father's memory and to help fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s.

Training and Dedication

Chris’s journey with indoor rowing began as he sought out ways to prevent the disease and improve his health. His dedication to this cause is evident not only in his 16-hour rowing marathon but also in his rigorous preparation. Each winter solstice – the shortest day of the year - Chris and his team row a marathon of 42,000 meters to kick-off their training. Recently, on Cinco de Mayo, they rowed 50,000 meters in just five hours, showcasing their commitment and endurance. Chris also maintains a regular training schedule, rowing three to four times a week and working with a personal trainer.

Remarkable Achievements and Community Support

Since its inception in 2019, Rowing to Remember has raised over $135,000, consistently ranking among the top 50 Longest Day campaign initiatives, and within the top 15 for the last two years. Chris is profoundly grateful for the continued support, saying, “I’m beyond humbled people show up to support this event, year after year. It just shows you how blessed I am to have the relationships I have, and how we share a common passion for helping find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Exciting Plans for 2024

As the event continues to grow, Chris ensures it offers something for everyone. Attendees can look forward to a variety of activities, including rowing, bowling, volleyball, inflatables, food, music, and more. This year’s live entertainment features local 80’s and 90s cover band, the Skittle Bots, performing at 7:00 pm, with the classic rock trio band Parallel Universe opening at 4:30 and Perrysburg’s School of Rock youth band also taking the stage. Exciting prize opportunities include the 2nd Annual Duck Drone Drop, where participants can win cash prizes of $1,000, $500, or $250, and a raffle featuring donations from local businesses.

Adding to the excitement, this year introduces the Riding to Remember Poker Run on Saturday, June 22nd. Participants will enjoy a scenic ride with stops at local businesses, concluding with a wrap-up party at Inside the Five Field House, complete with food trucks and festivities.

How to Get Involved

With a fundraising goal of $50,000 for 2024, there are numerous ways to get involved. Whether you join Chris and his team in rowing, make an online donation, buy a duck for the Duck Drop, or spread the word on social media, every bit of support counts. For more information on how to participate, visit www.rowingtoremember.com.

Chris’s tireless efforts and the community’s enthusiastic participation exemplify the power of coming together for a meaningful cause. We wish him all the best for this year’s event and look forward to another successful year in the fight against Alzheimer’s!

Stay updated on event news and announcements by following Rowing to Remember on Facebook and Instagram.