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Marble Falls Gallery Hosts Fly-Tying Clinic to Mark Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day

David Heatley (right) helps a guest during the 2017 The Longest Day event at the Galleries at Pecan Creek in Marble Falls. Heatley and his wife, Debbie, owners of the gallery, are again hosting The Longest Day event from 2-5 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at the gallery, 309 Main St. David and his daughter, Lauren Heatley, are conducting a free fly-tying clinic as part of the Longest Day, a nationwide program sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association to create awareness of the disease. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

MARBLE FALLS — There’s one thing David Heatley isn’t lacking: smiles. As he tries his hand at a new art project during a recent workshop at his and wife Debbie’s art gallery, someone points out he’s the star of the show.

“More like the village idiot,” David quipped with a laugh.

His easy humor counters what you might think he would be like as he lives with Alzheimer’s disease, something his doctors diagnosed two years ago. With no cure at this time, you’d expect a cloud to hover over him, but David and Debbie aren’t letting Alzheimer’s take control of their lives.

In fact, they’re hitting back a bit during the annual Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day, during which individuals, organizations, and businesses host an activity with the purpose of raising awareness of the disease.

Typically, The Longest Day is held on the first day of summer, which is June 21 — the day with the longest period of sunlight — but due to scheduling issues, the Heatleys bumped up their event to Wednesday, June 20. It takes place from 2-5 p.m. at their business, Galleries at Pecan Creek, 309 Main St.

David is a passionate fly fisherman and fly tyer, so the Heatleys are hosting fly-tying lessons, free to anyone who steps through the gallery’s door. David’s daughter, Lauren Heatley, a noted fly angler and tyer herself, is coming in from Thailand to help lead the lessons.

“David is also working on a design for ladies who want to make earrings, of course, that look like flies,” Debbie said. While fly tying is a nice way to get people through the door, the reason for the event is serious.

“I think (the Alzheimer’s Association) picks June 21 because it is the longest day of the year, so it’s a way to maybe let people know how long some days are for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers,” Debbie added. “It’s really about building awareness about Alzheimer’s.”

The Heatleys are also gathering prizes for giveaways. For donations of $10, people can enter drawings with all the funds going to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“There’s still a lot of people who really don’t know about this disease and how many people it affects,” Debbie added. She pointed out that, according to experts, Alzheimer’s cases are likely to spread even more quickly across the population.

“We have to do something, and it starts with just building awareness,” she said.

The event is open to everyone. Check out the gallery’s Facebook page for more information.

Read more about The Longest Day event in Llano.

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