Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease and their brains will find a cure. There are thousands of inspirational women who have stood on the front lines of the fight against Alzheimer’s. They have harnessed their power and their research, initiatives and courage and moved us closer to a day without this staggering disease. Get inspired to join this global community of activists, agitators and architects of change.
THE BIG WALL
LAUREN MILLER ROGEN Founder “Hilarity for Charity”"I have used my brain to Wipe Out Alzheimer's by creating Hilarity for Charity to inspire young people to use their voices and share their stories to fight this disease. My brain makes movies and movements happen. It has wit, wonder, and wisdom. It has vision, but it blind to excuses. It's a writer whose dialogue will change minds by the millions and a daughter who fights for her family's future." Support Hilarity for Charity
MARIA SHRIVER"Women's brains are worth it and mine is an agitator, instigator and innovator that is working to turn what some say is a hopeless disease into a movement of hopeful and empowered women. I am using my brain to convene this inspiring collection of women, celebrate their individual initiatives and ignite a next generation of advocates and caregivers committed to making women's brains a priority. As an Alzheimer's advocate for over ten years, I have testified before Congress, produced the award-winning The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's, executive produced the HBO Alzheimer’s Project and wrote the bestselling children's book What’s Happening to Grandpa?. As a mother of four, my brain is worth saving, and I will never stop using it to Wipe out Alzheimer's."
SARAH ROBB OHAGAN President of Equinox“When you've had the painful personal experience of watching your parent become afflicted by this terrible disease, you are determined to help find the cure. There is research that suggests decisions we make early on in our lives to commit to exercise, healthy nutrition and consistently good sleep can improve our chances of avoiding or delaying the onset of Alzheimer's. It's my hope is to share this emerging knowledge with families everywhere.”
ANN ROMNEY Founder of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases“I know firsthand how terrifying and devastating these neurologic diseases can be, and I want to do everything in my power to help change outcomes for future generations. The team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital gave me the gift of enduring hope and that is what this center is about – improving and saving the lives of the 50 million people facing a heart-breaking diagnosis. ” Support the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases
SHONDA RHIMES"My brain has allowed me to create stories which have been shared with the world through television. My brain has powered my imagination to keep up with the curious minds of my three daughters. The brain’s ability and power is unmeasurable and that is why I am using mine to wipe out Alzheimer's."
LINDSAY CRIST"I have worked in screening Alzheimer’s and dementia patients/families, worked in Alzheimer’s research in the past, and currently work in Alzheimer's research on a Phase III study. I noticed symptoms of the disease in my maternal Grandma but she passed by stroke before it could be diagnosed. I see the devastation that this disease causes by watching loved ones slip away. I feel as though a cure is very close and with advances in neuroscience, I think this heartbreaking disease can be wiped out and the lives of those diagnosed and their families could be significantly improved or extended."
MARIA CARILLOChief Science Officer, Alzheimer's Association"As Chief Science Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, I am proud to be a part of the organization that is the world’s largest and most influential private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s science. I am inspired every day by the groundbreaking work we support around the world – and the bright minds that are behind that work. Even more, I am motivated by the need to shine a light on Alzheimer’s and make this devastating disease a national priority for government, business, communities and families."
THERESA HERBERT“Watching my amazing mother fight Alzheimer’s everyday since my father was diagnosed 15 years ago, at age 59, has inspired me to use my brain to educate myself, my peers and the next generation on what we can do to wipe out this terrible disease - continually learn, make healthy choices, enjoy life and join the fight.”
TANYA SUSOEV"My father was diagnosed with dementia in 2007 after a number of misdiagnoses. He taught me, though indirectly, that the mistakes of our past do not drive our future, that we have the power in each of us to overcome, to forgive each other and ourselves and to want something more. He carried in him a warmth and positivity that I strive to emulate in my life. He taught me to redefine what it meant to be a young girl and challenge what is often expected as a woman. He gave me strength in my femininity and though without words, always encouraged me to stand my ground. I am so proud to remember him and his legacy as I play for a team, a cause and a community that honors the strength in women as athletes and voices of hope for better options and outcomes in our future."
SENATOR BARBARA MIKULSKID-Maryland“Honor thy father and thy mother’ isn’t just a good commandment, it also makes good public policy. Alzheimer’s is an equal opportunity scourge, hurting millions of families as it strains the resources of our public health system. In the Senate, I have always fought to keep our biomedical innovation economy firing on all cylinders in search of a cure. Now, I’m proud to add my voice to the chorus women who support Maria Shriver’s Campaign to Wipe Out Alzheimer’s.”
ALISSA ANDEREGGFounder Alz4KidsHaving grown up as a young caregiver for my late grandmother, I am using my brain to develop ways to educate, empower, and activate the next generation of Alzheimer’s youngest caregivers. Through my initiative Alz4Kidz and the accompanying guidebook, my hope is to provide resources and advice I wish I had as a ten year-old wanting to know what was happening to Grandma and how I could help. Now entering my senior year at Duke University, I challenge this upcoming generation of young caregivers to pick up where I left off. Now is the time for all generations to stand together to end Alzheimer's.
AI-JEN POONational Domestic Workers Alliance Director“I use my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's by helping to ensure that caregivers -- both family caregivers and caregiving professionals have the resources, training and support they need to sustain in their role as caregivers. They are our nation's unsung heroines and heroes; lifting them up will uplift us all.” How YOU can help Ai-Jen Wipe Out Alzheimer’s: Get involved with the National Domestic Workers Alliance here
PAT SUMMITTWomen’s Basketball Head Coach Emeritus, University of Tennessee"I am using my brain every day by focusing on the growth of The Pat Summitt Foundation. Upon receiving my diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 58, my son, Tyler and I started the Foundation to help raise awareness and find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. We recently announced that the Foundation will create The Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic at The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, TN. The clinic will provide patient care, family and caregiver support, and clinical trials designed to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease." How YOU can help Coach Summitt: Visit www.patsummitt.org/clinic to learn more about The Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS-PAISLEY"I use my brain to write about life, to share stories and insights. To inspire people to laugh or move them to cry. To transform into the characters I play. I use my brain every day as a mother, a wife and a daughter. And I am using my brain to help wipe out Alzheimer’s Disease."
DR. REISA SPERLING Harvard Neurology Professor"As a neurologist specializing in the early detection and treatment of Alzheimer's disease I am using my brain every day to defeat this disease. I love my job as a Professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and especially my role in leading the A4 Prevention trial because I get to spend every day working towards finding an effective treatment. I am now working to focus on sex differences on imaging biomarkers of early Alzheimer's disease to try to understand why women are at higher risk.My brain is working everyday to save your brain (and my own!)."
DAGMAR DOLBY Founder of the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center“I am determined to help wipe out Alzheimer’s. Ever since my brilliant husband received this devastating diagnosis I have tried to open the conversation about this disease, take away the stigma, and reduce the pain and helplessness for patients and their families. I have helped neurologist Dr. Catherine Madison at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center create a Brain Health Center, now named after my late husband, to assist in the different stages of the disease, from diagnosis to management to emotional support. In parallel, I have supported the Alzheimer’s Association both financially and in their awareness building work, while my son David Dolby, makes seed stage investments at Dolby Family Ventures to empower talented innovators working on Alzheimer’s therapies and diagnostics. ” For more information on the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center
MERYL COMER President of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative“Twenty years an Alzheimer’s caregiver: two decades later, there are still no therapies or better care options. Everyone's at risk. We can’t let AD make us all victims. I’m a proud co-founder of WomenAgainstAlzheimers, which networks its political clout to drive NIH funding, sex-based research, and care innovation; the 21st Century BrainTrust® coalition for brain health; and President of the research-driven Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative. 100% of proceeds from my book, Slow Dancing with a Stranger, support Alzheimer’s research. Let’s flip our collective pain and join forces with Maria. Own this fight with US.” Read my story: merylcomer.com
YASMIN AGA KHAN“How I am using my brain to wipe out Alzheimer’s? When my mother Rita Hayworth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, I felt compelled to turn our private pain into a positive force. I founded the Alzheimer's Association Rita Hayworth Galas so that others would not have to face this disease alone. Since its inception, the Rita Hayworth Galas have raised more than $63 million and will continue to fight. ” Support the Rita Hayworth Gala
BRITTANY WELBY"My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. It was a long hard journey to get his diagnosis and everyone told me along the way it doesn’t matter since there isn’t a cure, but that didn’t stop me. Being an only child and always being my dad’s little girl, I didn’t know what to do. My brain works for a marketing company by day and as volunteer by night to help promote awareness for Alzheimer's. I’ve worked so hard to raise as much money as I can so more research can be done for this horrible disease."
LEEZA GIBBONS“I am using my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's by using my voice for change, my platforms for information and education and my family's legacy for connecting caregivers. After my mom and grandmom struggled with this cruel disease, I created what we wished we'd had, and that became Leeza's Care Connection; a place for family caregivers to call on their courage and summon their strength for the difficult road ahead. We offer free care for the caregiver and for over a decade, it's work that has filled my soul. ” Get involved with Leeza’s Care Connection
CRISTINA FERRARE“I am using my brain to understand Alzheimer’s Prevention, risk factors, symptoms and stages and why diet and exercise play a crucial role in slowing down the early onset of Alzheimer’s genetic risk factors alone are not enough to cause the late onset form of Alzheimer’s disease, so researchers are exploring education, diet and enforcement to learn what role they might play in the development of this disease.”
CYNTHIA SIKES"My husband had been in dementia for several years. During this time I have devised mind, body, spirit programs for him that consider his ever-changing condition. It has prolonged his memory, understanding, quality of life and made him feel relevant. The incredible care and attention he has received at the Motion Picture Home has had a tremendous effect on his quality of life and their caregivers have become a part of the family. He just turned 89 and we are on our way to Maui for a celebration of his life in a place he loves. A vacation filled with affection, touching and loving care so he can enjoy each day. That's what's important to us - "family" to the end. I am committed to helping support Alzheimer's research that could have effects on my family and so many others."
XUAN QUACH"I am using my brain everyday to care for and to advocate for my mother who is living with Alzheimer's. I want to ensure that she and others like her have the best quality of life possible despite the disease. Caring for my mother has inspired me to speak out and to work with the Alzheimer's Association to bring greater awareness and understanding of the disease. I will use my brain to continue to educate myself and others on what we can do to help those and their families living with this terrible disease."
JEN OLIVAS"Three out of five of my grandparents suffer or have suffered from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Yes, I have five grandparents; of course, I am a direct descendant of four of them. Out of those four, only one has not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Playing football with the Blondes Team for the first Alzheimer’s Association Blondes vs. Brunettes game in San Francisco became something for me to be passionate about. It became a way for me to give back to the generations that came before and give something to the generations to come."
JUDY TAYLORVice President of Corporate Communications at Equinox"This disease takes so much from people - their memories, their connection to others, often their dignity. As a daughter of a mother with Alzheimer's, I am committed to increasing awareness of this devastating disease, improving treatment for sufferers and, of course, finding a cure."
TRISH VRANDENBURGMy mother was an indomitable force -- but no match for Alzheimer’s. I went from writing sitcoms to an Alzheimer’s activist. I co-founded USAgainstAlzheimer’s in 2011 to press for a goal here and abroad to stop Alzheimer’s by 2025. I co-founded WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s in 2013 to create a women’s movement because we are 2/3 of victims and caregivers – definitely a glass ceiling we didn’t want to break. I wrote an off-Broadway play, “Surviving Grace,” about my mom which played around the country; we’re now staging readings to raise awareness and money for the cause. It’s time to come out of the shadows and start marching. Join us at www.WomenAgainstAlzheimers.org
NICOLE SEXTON"I am using my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's by working with Princess Yasmin Agha Khan planning and supporting the Rita Hayworth Gala in New York, an event she started in honor of her mother. This event raises money that helps fund the research needed to find a cure for Alzheimer's. The Gala also raises public awareness of the disease, the ripple effects of which are priceless!" How can YOU help Yasmin Wipe Out Alzheimer’s? Support the Rita Hayworth Gala here
LAURIE BURROWS GRAD"I have used my brain to make a cure for Alzheimer’s possible! Together with my husband, Peter Grad, I began “ A Night at Sardi’s” in memory of my father, the late playwright/director Abe Burrows (Guys and Dolls), who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Seeing this wordsmith not able to speak compelled us to join the fight against this horrific disease. Since its inception, “A Night at Sardi’s” has raised over $25 million for the Alzheimer’s Association, and still we must raise more to help accelerate the search for treatments, prevention methods, and ultimately a cure. " Support A Night at Sardi's and check out all the fun from past events here
ELIZABETH GELFAND STEARNS“I am using my brain every day to wipe out Alzheimer’s. Since losing my mother, Judy Gelfand, raising money and awareness to save other families has been my life’s work. In the decade since starting the Judy Fund, we have raised over $5.1M, signed up over 500 ambassadors and been lifted by 1,600 generous donors. As a co-producer of the Oscarnominated “Still Alice,” I feel proud to have brought the reality of Alzheimer’s to so many. I have only just begun to use my brain to wipe out Alzheimer’s.”
MICHAELA “MIKEY” HOAGFounder of “Part the Cloud”“I founded Part the Cloud to move the needle in Alzheimer’s research. Our mission is to fund research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or ultimately curing Alzheimer's disease. In three short years, Part the Cloud has raised and funded over six million dollars in research grants through the Alzheimer’s Association. Part the Cloud is also about continuing the conversation to illuminate and educate our Bay Area community that Alzheimer's is not just a disease that affects the elderly, and that families and caregivers need as much support as the individuals living with the disease. Together we will Part the Cloud and wipe out Alzheimer’s.” Learn more about Part the Cloud
CAROL FANT"I use my brain as the Chief Reality Officer at One Brave Cowgirl, a blog I started to help me and others deal with the devastation of Alzheimer's after my mother's diagnosis. I use my brain to share my experience, strength and hope regarding all the pain, frustration, loss, and love (yes, love) that accompanies dementia. By storytelling, One Brave Cowgirl gives us all a chance to learn new ways to cope through acceptance, gratitude and laughter. I lost my precious mom to this disease March 31, 2013, and I will forever fight in her memory." Check out One Brave Cowgirl here
LILIANA KASZUBA"I have love and compassion for seniors and for people whose lives are touched by Alzheimer's. I come from a Hispanic background and I promote Alzheimer's awareness within the Hispanic/Latino community by providing information and support with the hope that a cure for Alzheimer's will be found soon."
LYNN POSLUNS“Women are at the epicenter of brain-aging diseases. 70% of Alzheimer’s sufferers are women. Women are twice as likely as men to succumb to dementia and depression and two-and-a-half times more likely to be providing care for someone else with a brain-aging disorder. Even correcting for age, women seem to be at higher risk. I used my brain to start the Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) to create education programs and fund research to combat brain-aging diseases that affect women." www.womensbrainhealth.org
SHEA SUMMERLIN"I used my brain to found All In for Alzheimer’s, a community initiative that strives to engage all people regardless of their ages or interests to be fully committed to ending Alzheimer’s. Whether you are a sports fan, an entertainer, or an accountant, whether you are an elementary school student, a young professional, or an older adult—there are many ways for everyone to be "all in" for Alzheimer's. Because memories should last a lifetime."
SUSAN DISNEY LORD"I am using my brain to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association, to raise awareness, and to provide care and support for those caregivers who are struggling now. I am using my brain to convince our California State Legislators to increase funding for Alzheimer's caregivers and patients across the state. So many programs were cut during the financial crisis, it's time to bring them back. I am using my brain to Executive Produce a film about Glen Campbell's courageous decision to go public with his diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. I am using my brain to show the film to as many people as possible to show them they are not alone and inspire them to laugh and live as much as they can in spite of this diagnosis."
BARBARA KINNEYPhotojournalist"As a photographer on “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” I got a closer look at how the disease affects individuals, families and caretakers. I was allowed into homes and care facilities to document people suffering from the disease and those family members and professionals who take care of them. I was overwhelmed by the dedication and compassion that these caretakers showed to their loved ones and I am hoping that through my photographs of these amazing people, that their stories will influence others on the devastating effects of the disease. I hope that my photographs for The Shriver Report influence people’s perception of Alzheimer’s, that it is a disease that impacts families not only physically but also emotionally. I guess if I had to describe my process, I use my brain to tell me where to point the camera while my heart tells me when to click the shutter."
DR. MONICA PARKER"Women and families of color have limited access to comprehensive dementia diagnosis, management and care. As a clinician-researcher, I feel a profound responsibility to work towards better education, and access for all. I am using my brain to establish effective community partnerships that provide education about brain health, caregiving resources, advocacy and the promotion of diversity in clinical research trial participation."
DR. ANA MARIA CUERVO“I have the privilege to lead a group of bright and highly enthusiastic young investigators at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and together we are using our brains every day to come out with effective ways to fight this devastating disease. Our strategy is to reactivate the systems that normally keep your brain cells clean and healthy, and use them to wipe out the disease in the Alzheimer’s patient brains. My daily inspiration are the patients, their families and the thousands of creative and dedicated strong women in our communities that have made saving the minds of our next generation their personal mission.”
JEANNE SHRIVER"I am using my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's by responding to initiatives like Maria Shriver's campaign to wipe out Alzheimer’s, and other initiatives like it, that help to keep this very important issue on the forefront of research, policy and advocacy. Since this is a disease that affects the entire family, it is important for generations to battle it together. My children have had 2 grandparents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so I want them to be educated about the disease, to respect those who suffer from it, to support those who are fighting it and to guard themselves against it with healthy lifestyles. A recent article in the Washington Post touted that speaking a second language keeps the brain nimble. Now my daughter and I are taking a French course together so we make sure we are using our brains and keeping them nimble!"
SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS"Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and family. Alzheimer’s has had such a devastating effect on 5.2 million Americans and their families, which is why I am committed to putting an end to this dreadful disease. Maria Shriver has been a tireless advocate for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and their families and I commend her for her WipeOutAlzheimer’s effort."
CHRIS EVERT"Over the past 25 years, I have partnered with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida to invest more than $21 million in research-based prevention and early-intervention programs for at-risk women and children. Chris Evert Charities has provided support to programs that promote growth and development of prenatally substance exposed newborns, drug free healthy lifestyles for residents in public housing, substance abuse prevention education for school aged kids and resiliency skills for women transitioning from residential substance abuse treatment. Additionally, I have proudly awarded 39 Vitas Gerulaitis Memorial Scholarships to women who have worked hard to overcome significant challenges and need just a little help so they can pursue their educational goals. My charity team understands that addressing complex social problems, like addiction and child abuse, requires sustained commitment and a thoughtful approach that addresses the wide array of social determinants that impact individual, family and community outcomes."
DR. ALISON GOATE"As a scientist I am using my brain to understand how our genes can predispose some individuals to develop Alzheimer’s disease. We work with families who by virtue of their genes are at increased risk of developing disease. We are using cutting-edge technologies to sequence genomes from these families to uncover new genetic risk factors that we will lead to novel drugs to treat and prevent disease. In the last couple of years we have turned this model on its head in order to ask why some people, despite being at increased genetic risk do not develop Alzheimer’s Disease. The goal of this research is to exploit these protective or resilience mechanisms that have arisen naturally in certain individuals to design therapeutics that protect people from developing Alzheimer’s disease. We challenge our brains everyday to use creative ways to understand this devastating disease."
MELISSA STEVENS"We need “all brains on deck” to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I am using mine to understand the ecosystem of Alzheimer’s disease research – the unmet needs of patients and researchers, the roadblocks to progress, and the bright spots of innovation. Through our Philanthropy Advisory Service, I aim to catalyze more informed, empowered, and strategic giving towards these research priorities to accelerate the development of new therapies."
SHARI STAGLIN"Since 1995 I have co-founded two non-profit organizations united by the goal of accelerating research progress to provide better treatments and cures for all who suffer from brain disorders. We have raised over $210 million for research since we began. Some of the work is described in www.imhro.org and www.onemind.org"
MICHELE HERBERT"My brain is on a mission to fund research that will identify Alzheimer’s in women at it's earliest stages. Alzheimer's disease is something that we really have to champion as women. What would be amazing is to uncover why younger brains get ravaged by this disease and bring us closer to a cure. As a member of The New York Rita Hayworth Gala Steering Committee since 1987 and one of the first donors to the newly created Women’s Alzheimer’s Research Fund I am using my brain to wipe out Alzheimer’s." http://www.alz.org/galas/ny/overview.asp
MARY ROSE TAYLOR"My husband died of Alzheimer's in 2007. Since that time I have worked as a strategic advisor to Dr. Allan Levey, Director, Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, the only NIH-recognized comprehensive research center in the Southeast. In an effort to raise awareness about the disease, we created the tag line, "A Family Affair," in part to broaden the face of Alzheimer's to include every member of the family. To date, our marketing campaign and education outreach initiatives have achieved marked success in driving patients to clinical trials, generating millions in philanthropy, and focusing attention on quality of life issues for those living with Alzheimer's and related diseases."
ALEXANDRA STUDNICKY"I am currently trying to secure a partnership with Converse to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and encourage my family, friends, and colleagues alike to participate in the Walk To End Alzheimer's. Initially, I wanted to honor my grandparents at my wedding by asking my bridal party and 500 wedding guests alike to purchase purple chuck Taylor's in honor of Alzheimer's research. Then I decided to this idea one step further with Converse, and I hope that every participant in this year's Walk To End Alzheimer’s will be wearing custom purple converse sneakers for their loved ones lost to the disease. Through this initiative, my goal is to unify and recognize each and every advocate fighting to end this terrible disease."
KYRA ELZYWomen’s Basketball Coach, University of Tennessee"My husband and I started the SEC Win Challenge in 2013 as our way to fight against Alzheimer’s, an awful disease that has affected our loved ones. It continues to be an opportunity for us to honor my late grandmother Mary Elzy and Coach Summitt, both of whom are dear to our hearts. Watching them battle Alzheimer’s gives us the strength to continue the fight. We have raised over $65,000 for Alzheimer’s research in order to help find a cure. As Coach Summitt says, “WITH FIERCE COURAGE – TOGETHER WE WILL WIN.” http://www.patsummitt.org/
MITRA MANSOURI"In 2008 my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. When the doctor gave her 3 words to remember, she was unable to recall them less than a minute later. Now I use my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's by reading books with my mom and asking her to read magazine articles out loud to me. It is important that we fight her disease together and I hope that before 2020 we will see a survivor of Alzheimer's disease."
PAMELA BROWN + PHYLLIS GEORGE"We use our "brain power" to bring awareness and raise money for research through our public platforms. We advocate separately and as a team by speaking to groups and writing stories about what we have learned from losing our loved one to this insidious disease -- my grandmother and my mother's best friend."
CAMILLE RUVOCo-Founder of Keep Memory Alive"There is not one day that goes by that I don’t think of Alzheimer’s and all neurodegenerative diseases that take away one of the most important parts of who we are as women. I am the co-founder and vice chairman of Keep Memory Alive, which supports the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brian Health. I am responsible for a fundraiser called “Power of Love”. Each year celebrity chefs cook, fine wine is tasted, entertainment from around the world is enjoyed and a live auction is conducted that raises millions of dollars each year since 1996. I run a rodeo fundraising weekend in Northern Nevada each summer, where the local cowboys come to show off their awe-inspiring horse and bull riding skills. Emeril Lagasse comes to cook and legendary musical talent come to life and entertain. I just started a program locally called “Penny for your thoughts”, where locals can leave their loose change in stands throughout Las Vegas. This is a community outreach as well as a fundraising effort…letting folks know that every penny counts!" www.keepmemoryalive.org/
MORELLA KAYMAN MBEFounder of the Alzheimer's Disease Society"The best use of my brain was in actively helping to found the Alzheimer’s Society thirty five years ago, due to my husband being diagnosed at the age of 51. I wanted to find a way to help people living through the journey of Alzheimer’s, making sure that together with their families, they would be made to feel included in what was happening. Due to the ignorance then of the medical profession and ignorance and fear of the general public, this had previously been the opposite. The founding committee worked tirelessly to get the Society off the ground and I am truly proud of the achievements and services that the Society provides and it's active role in research." www.alzheimers.org.uk
ROSALYNN CARTERFounder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving"As a pioneer in the field of caregiving, I know that when caregivers suffer, the quality of care they can provide diminishes. These unsung heroes, the majority of whom are women, work tirelessly to look after those who are frail elderly or living with chronic illnesses. The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving offers training and resources for community programs to help caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s Disease, and these are available to everyone through the institute website." www.rosalynncarter.org
CECILIA ATTIAS"I am thankful to Maria for continuing to raise awareness, and for her dedicated effort to wipe out Alzheimer’s. I am a true believer in the importance of diet and exercise, both physical and mental, to maintain a healthy brain. I am fortunate to be able to train my brain daily in running the Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women and learning how to develop new and improved methodologies in the quest for positive change for women across the globe."
KRISTEN BUCKLEY"My father has been battling early onset Alzheimer’s for almost 10 years. We noticed symptoms when he was 53 years old. I’m now on my fifth year of fundraising for Running 4 Answers, a 5K/walk that benefits the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Over the years, our team “Bunch of Buddeys” has collectively donated over $10,000 for the cause and had as many as 40 people join the event. My family is lucky that we noticed my father’s symptoms early and the medicines have slowed down the progression of this devastating disease. I fundraise and raise awareness, so other families can try and prepare like mine." www.running4answers.org/why-this-cause
DINA SCHINNERY"Working in a Nursing/Rehabilitation Facility, I work with Alzheimer’s/Dementia residents each and every day. All of my life I have heard of Alzheimer’s and for 20 years, I have watched some of my own family members slowly progress in this disease. It is a sad and heartbreaking thing to witness but there is a strong and powerful fight to find a cure and wipe it out altogether. I am so grateful that my position as a Therapeutic Recreation Leader affords me the honor and the privilege to be part of a program that allows me to help those suffering with this disease cope on a daily basis through repetition and lots of love."
LIZ JOHNSON"I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer's Disease in 2009. I'm not referring to the year she passed, but the year she stopped being the grandma I had admired and adored for a lifetime. A woman so classy and kind, she made an impact on everyone she encountered. Since then, my mission has been to do all I can to ensure this disease doesn't take away another person I love. I use my brain to raise funds and advocate for the disease. My brain and body allow me to create and execute fundraising events and initiatives, join forces with others in the Alzheimer's community to raise awareness, share my story, and be a leading voice of Alzheimer's for my generation. Most importantly, I use my brain to remember. To remember one of the most beautiful women I've ever known - my grandmother, Anita Sarle " act.alz.org
NAVEENA JASPAL"As the Development Relations Specialist at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, I feel blessed to have been given a platform to be able to put my experience into words and my journey in the messaging and materials that we present to our various audiences, especially the families of those affected by Alzheimer's disease."
BROOKE WESTLAKE"I watched Alzheimer’s rob my grandma for 10 years before it took her life while she was in my arms on February 24, 2012. I was her primary care taker. Through the healing part of grieving, I decided to give back in several areas. Today I take free portraits of Alzheimer’s patients and share their stories along with a blog. I have created the annual purple dignity dinner to raise money for Alzheimer’s in Reno, Nevada www.purpledignity.com
ANN NAPOLETAN"Watching my mom live, and ultimately die, with Alzheimer's turned my world upside down. My hope is that by sharing our story, I can help other caregivers realize they aren't alone. I use my brain, energy, and passion to raise awareness, support families who are on this journey, and educate those within my circle of influence. It's absolutely crucial that we use our collective voice to cultivate a greater sense of urgency among the masses. The time to end Alzheimer's is now. I am the creator of The Long and Winding Road, a volunteer and moderator for the Facebook Support Community of USAgainstAlzheimer's and a founding member of ClergyAgainstAlzheimer's. I have also been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's & Other Dementias and Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer's & Dementia Caregivers"
SALLY ROSENFIELDSenior Vice President Cure Alzheimer’s"As a senior vice president for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, I am using my brain every day to help finance high-potential research that may prevent, slow or reverse Alzheimer’s disease. To end Alzheimer’s, we believe it’s imperative to fund research that is innovative, collaborative and results-oriented. The clock is ticking and we can’t afford to wait." www.curealz.org
ROSANNE VANELLA"I learned at a very young age how Alzheimer’s & Dementia can devastate not only the person who has it, but also their family and loved ones. I witnessed helplessly my great grandmother and grandmother suffer through this debilitating disease, and now my father has been overtaken by it as well. I’m an innovator, instigator + agitator and my brain works to support & educate the millions of caregivers & families. I am founder of FamilyAffaires.com, an online community that provides families & caregivers with education support, resources and a voice on matters involving health and family crisis. Through my work as a Professional Family Mediator, I help families come together in designing plans to help all those affected."
SARA BERMAN"As an MD/PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am planning a career that combines both patient care and clinical research. Currently, I am pursuing my PhD on the vascular contributions to Alzheimer's disease, hoping to better identify the disease in it's pre-clinical stages so that treatment can be initiated before neurons are irreparably destroyed. I also work in a Memory Disorders Clinic that frequency sees patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. I am using my brain to unite these research and patient experiences to work towards a finding a cure for this devastating disease."
NANCY MEYER"I am part of the Adult/Children Study at Washington University in St. Louis. I have had three “Lumbar Punctures” (i.e. spinal taps), filled out numerous questionnaires, participated in incredibly boring psychological evaluations and tests, been scanned within an inch of my life (CT/PET scans and MRIs). I’m a “control”. My husband is also a test subject, as a child of an ALZ victim. My mother-in-law died of ALZ. It’s all part of helping scientists figure out the underlying causes of ALZ. Once they know the causes, rather than the symptoms, they can look for treatments. I don’t expect a cure w/in my lifetime."
ELAYNE FORGIE"Watching caregivers crumble under the weight of caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease caused me to use my brain to create the Alzheimer's Care Resource Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the unique needs of caregivers --- whenever they reach out on their caregiving journey, at the time of diagnosis, when the road gets rough, when tough decisions must be made, through end of life care. We provide a safe, warm and comfortable place for caregivers to turn, while embracing, empowering, educating and guiding them through the changes and the challenges of Alzheimer's disease." http://www.alzheimerscareresourcecenter.org/
KIRSTEN PEISSEL"My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was 11 years old and passed away last summer after a 14 year battle with the disease. I watched my grandfather, the love of her life, take care of her until her last day. I am using my brain to be an advocate and voice of a younger generation of people affected by Alzheimer's. I am a participant in Blondes vs. Brunettes NYC, a women's flag football league created to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer's disease. I am driven by so many unique and talented women who share the same heavy heart and dedication to Alzheimer's disease as I do, to honor not only my grandmother, but all grandmothers and all grandfathers, all mothers and all fathers, and all families affected by this disease."
SHANNON GUZZO"In April 2015 I am XC skiing to the North Pole, pulling a 90lb sled. In addition to the physical training required for this extreme adventure, I am engaging my brain to creatively use the expedition to raise awareness, and raise funds, to find the cure for Alzheimer's. This will be the "memory walk of memory walks", almost literally! I strapped on skis for the first time last December, so my skiing may very well resemble walking. I call my project Polar Inspiration. The entire project is presented on FB Polar Inspiration, and on my website www.polarinspiration.com. Support is arriving from all over the world, from Lebanon, Australia, and Scotland to name a few. Thank you to all of the dynamic ladies whose brain power WILL achieve a victory and cure for Alzheimer's!"
CJ RYAN"I am an advocate for the Alzheimer's Association because Alzheimer’s disease threatens the future of my family. It has already touched our lives indelibly. My husband’s dad died of Alzheimer’s in 1999 at the age of 78. His dementia-related care over the last six years of his life cost more than half a million dollars. An uncle and aunt have also died of Alzheimer’s and another aunt and uncle are currently in nursing homes with dementia care units. In March more than 800 people living with Alzheimer’s, caregivers and advocates from across the nation will gather in Washington DC for the 27th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. We will engage in the democratic process and appeal to members of Congress for action on Alzheimer’s disease."
JAYNE KENNELLY"Being the Nurse Manager at The Nathaniel Witherell on the Specialized Dementia Unit, I can honestly say, "I love my job." Although it's not an easy responsibility and each day brings different challenges, my main focus is the well being of my patients. Dementia and Alzheimer's don't only affect my patients, but, also their families. I make a conscious effort to ease their emotional pain as they watch their loved ones go thought the different stages of this debilitating disease. I use different techniques and years of experience to therapeutically achieve this goal. This isn't just my job, it's my passion and I feel that the most important tool that I use is my heart." http://www.thenathanielwitherell.org/
MELANIE CLARK"My Purple Mind was established 8 years ago when my grandmother was diagnosed with the Alzheimer's disease. My desire and passion to give and become a philanthropist for Alzheimer’s has grown stronger and stronger over the years. My Purple Mind is used as a resource for my family and others that are new to Alzheimer's world. My grandmother is one of the many faces of Alzheimer's, I NEED to be her voice, I WANT to be her voice, my PASSION to be her voice will never go away. I am not satisfied with the dim light that shines on Alzheimer’s and I feel that together WE can create a brighter light to shine."
DIANE KOUNALAKIS"As a caregiver and a strong supporter of the SF Bay Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I walk, I fundraise, I raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and I don’t stop talking until people listen. My beautiful mother lost her ability to wipe out Alzheimer’s but I haven’t. I believe that we are voices for those who no longer can speak. Together, we can work towards a cure and I strongly believe that when woman are working together for a common goal, the job will be done. We can no longer quietly talk about Alzheimer’s. We have to raise our voices loudly so that people understand that a cure needs to be found. The more we talk about it and keep the awareness front and center, the more people want to help. "
HEATHER ROBINSON"My name is Heather Robinson and I have been a caretaker for over 6 years to my grandmother, Trudy Livesay. My grandma loved arts and crafts and it was always a challenge for me to find things for her to do. That is why I started Trudy's Trinkits. We provide a variety of affordable arts and craft kits designed specially for people with Alzheimer's and Dementia. It's one less thing that caregivers need to research, shop for and assemble. Our goal is to get sponsorships and to provide these kits free of charge to people who need them. "
DR. HELEN KALES"I use my brain to wipe out Alzheimer’s by working to create better ways to assess and manage the behavioral symptoms of dementia. While memory is thought of as the primary symptom of dementia, behavioral symptoms (depression, delusions, wandering, repetitive questions, etc) are nearly universal and tend to create the most difficult management problems for people with dementia, their families and other caregivers and providers. We need to change the paradigm from knee-jerk medication use for these symptoms to a more person- and caregiver-centered approach."
DIANE MANSOURFounder, Honorary President Alzheimer’s Association Lebanon"Not being a physician or a researcher, it is hard for me to wipe out a disease, however, what I use my brain to do, is to disseminate knowledge and create awareness so that, together, we can wipe out the stigma of AD. I do this as a profession as well as in my daily life. I long for a time where "shame" will no longer be the first word associated with AD, and it will be replaced with love, understanding, and acceptance. I am generous with advice and travel miles to help caregivers in need of support and knowledge. My mother’s disease helped me find my life mission!"
SWOOSIE KURTZ"I have used my brain, my heart, & my soul to take care of my mom for the past 8 years, and to write a book about it that I hope will make people laugh & cry & feel not so alone. She was always there for me, & it has been a blessing & an honor to be there for her. We are joined at the heart."
DR.PAMELA PEEKEThe Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living"Just as men and women need a heart and lung evaluations as they age, they also need an ongoing evaluation of their brain health. I use an integrative medical approach in which the inter-connectiveness of the body-mind is recognized and optimized. Meditation, fun, social support, healthy whole food-based nutrition and physical activity are supported in a framework of healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits. I also stress the importance of constantly continuing to learn, expanding the mind’s capabilities, and always viewing life’s journey as a continuum of loving, laughing and living deeply. "
LINDA BURNS"As I’ve watched Alzheimer’s rob my mother of everything that mattered to her in life: family, socializing, independence...as well as watching my 82-year-old father as her primary caregiver...I’ve become an advocate. I am honored to be a contributor to Family Affaires, on online community outreach. I want to share our day-to-day experiences and strive to provide support...and perhaps a little humor...to those caregivers who are living this. I am using my brain by trying to educate myself to triggers and risk factors and am continually learning how important diet and exercise are in slowing down the onset and progression. I want to learn all I can so that I may feel as empowered as I can in this ongoing battle."
SOPHIE OKOLOFounder “Global Health Aging”"I am using my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's by putting a focus on health issues affecting older adults. Global Health Aging was launched to feature a broad range of news, research and original commentary on aging and health issues from around the world. My brain has allowed me to gain an education in gerontology, work with various organizations that help older adults, and improve my advocacy skills to champion research on Alzheimer's disease. As a global public health problem, the need to know more about this disease is crucial, whether or not people are personally affected by it."
PAULA SPENCER SCOTT"I wrote the book “Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul Saving Wisdom for Caregivers” partly as a tribute to my dad, gram, and two mothers-in-law who all had dementia -- and because in my work as a journalist, I'd collected so many amazing insights from families and experts on how to get through each day. Until we Wipe Out Alzheimer's, families affected can't possibly get enough practical help AND emotional support." www.paulaspencerscott.com
LORI SHARP"I use my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's by using my VOICE. I use social media (Twitter,Facebook and Instagram) to share research tips, personal stories and to reach out to my congressman. I also participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, I was a Grand Champion Fundraiser last year. I am a volunteer on the Sponsorship committee for this years 2015 Fresno-Clovis Walk to End Alzheimer's. I am also an Alzheimer's Association Advocacy member and a member of AIM. I must say just getting home from this years Forum in Washington DC was the most amazingly rewarding experience of my life. I can't wait to attend next year."
MONICA HELTEMES"I used my brain when I recognized the only activity and hobby items for people living with Alzheimer’s were children’s toys and decided to change that. I now use my brain to design adapted puzzles, games, and books that are simplified but made for adults. And I use my brain to educate and share appropriate activity ideas, to allow people with Alzheimer’s to stay engaged and active, even as their abilities decline. " www.mind-start.com
NANCY WURTZEL"I’ve been an Alzheimer’s caregiver since I was a teen, first for my grandmother and decades later for an uncle, my mother-in-law, my own mother and my father. All of these relatives died from Alzheimer’s. Sadly, now I assist my sister as her husband is in the moderate stages of the disease. My Alzheimer’s experiences prompted me to launch a blog, Dating Dementia, in 2010. I also write essays about Alzheimer’s and other issues for many websites and print publications, including MariaShriver.com, the Huffington Post, BlogHer, Third Age and more."
BRITT EKLAND"I am very proud to be Patron of Alzheimer’s Society and I use my brain to wipe out Alzheimer's in the memory of my mother, who died of the disease at the age of 78. She probably had it in her late 50's, early onset Alzheimer's I now believe, but at that time we were ignorant about her symptoms, putting it down to her getting old. Once the doctors had diagnosed her we were told , there is no cure, just go home and do the best you can. This was 1980 and very little was known about Alzheimer's. I have spent the last 22 years trying to do the best I can, to take away the feeling of shame and bring awareness of this devastating illness." www.alzheimers.org.uk
KATHRYN SMITHDirector of Operations, Alzheimer’s UK"I've seen the devastation dementia can bring to people and their families, so I use my brain to grow and develop services to support people, innovating and bringing new ideas to improve people's quality of life." www.alzheimers.org.uk
RENEE FIRBY"With several family members who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I have been a caretaker and an advocate since I was a teenager. One of the main reasons I became a Speech Therapist was to help treat people who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia. After working in several hospital settings, I realized that I could do more to help people so I started my own Speech and Occupational Therapy business called Jackson Jade in Torrance and Long Beach, California. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s (yet!) I use my brain to help teach patients and their caregivers little tricks that may help them through the daily challenges they may face."
NADA SAVITCH"I am leading a project in the UK about women’s experiences of dementia. We have heard captured the voices of women who have Alzheimer’s, women who are family caregivers and women who make up the majority of the care workforce in the UK. Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women and women should make a stand together – across the oceans. We have heard the stories, experiences and opinions of many women though our website – http://www.dementiawomen.org.uk/"
KATHRYN SMITHFounder, Senior Resources Hub"My brain has allowed me to develop tools to help with caregiving; a tremendous gift and responsibility. My mother had dementia for over 17 years and my dad was her primary caregiver and I supported him until our roles reversed. When people take on the role of caregiver, most are inexperienced and not prepared for their journey. Therefore, I’ve taken my experiences and founded Seniors Resource Hub and created tools to allow for better caregiving and better living."
VERNA JONES-RODWELLMaryland State Senator (Ret.)"The life altering impacts of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have caused devastation in my family for the past three generations. However by: creating programs to educate and support caregivers, sponsoring legislation and advocating for funding as a State Senator and collaboratively working with others I am turning stumbling blocks caused by these diseases into stepping stones toward a world without Alzheimer’s."
LYNDA EVERMAN"With 16 other caregivers and their loved ones, I participated in an awareness project which was the work and inspiration of fellow advocate, Bakhus Saba of Canada, to create the video, “Alzheimer’s/Dementia Knows No Borders.” I served as convener to the ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s network and co-edited a book of interfaith meditations, “Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers.” I am a board member of B.A.B.E.S. (Beating Alzheimer’s by Embracing Science) and a founding member of three national networks, ActivistsAgainstAlzheimer’s, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, and ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s. Together we are working to demand the urgency and commitment needed by our political, business and civic leaders to achieve the bold but doable goal of ending Alzheimer’s disease by 2020. I’ve written to every member of Congress, asking them to make the vision of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act a reality, to dedicate sufficient funding to advance research, and to cosponsor the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act and the Alzheimer’s disease semipostal."
BILLIE HARMAN"I graduated from Stanford and then I was a hippie and activist in the 60s. Later on I graduated with honors from UCDavis medical school and was a successful doctor for years after that. And became a scuba diver when I was 62. Now I am 72 and I have early-stage dementia. I am using my brain by urging diagnosis of Alzheimer’s at a much sooner time then we presently do, and improving the diagnostic tools– which are not sensitive enough to pick up the more subtle symptoms of early-stage Alzheimer's - when we still have our brains. I also support self-help groups for people with early-stage Alzheimer's. And encouraging us that we still have worth, that we still have things to contribute, we can make a difference. I am still me. We are helping change the face Alzheimer’s and reduce the stigma."
KYNDEL LEE"I lost my Grandmomma to Alzheimer's four years ago, and my Memaw is currently living with dementia. A woman's brain is her lifeline- memories hold everything we need to be happy and healthy. I'm using my brain to fight this disease, to take a stand for my grandmothers, for myself, for my children, and for my children's children. I envision the end of Alzheimer's. And to help acquire that vision, I work as an Alzheimer's Association ambassador and I captain Team Brunette in Blondes vs. Brunettes- Columbia, South Carolina. Together, we can Wipe Out Alzheimer's!"
DR.LESLEY FLYNT"I am a Physician with a special interest in Neurodegenerative disorders. I use my brain to study the brains of others through the use of Nuclear and Molecular imaging which can aid in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. Few people are aware of the many brain imaging agents that are available, which is something I would like to change, and can hopefully do so to help "wipe out Alzheimer's."
DEBORAH LYNN STRAFUSS"I am using my brain, my heart, my voice and my soul to stop Alzheimer’s by writing and sharing my caregiver experiences in my upcoming book On Angels’ Wings, A Journey Through Alzheimer’s with My Mother, donating proceeds from the book and raising funds for research through Reiki for Alzheimer’s and Caregivers and by speaking out about the cost of Alzheimer’s through all available venues, from political to personal." On Angels' Wings
GIGI VORGAN"I have written seven books on brain health, memory improvement and Alzheimer’s prevention, but I never fully understood the emotional devastation of Alzheimer’s until my mother was diagnosed six years ago. Staying close to family and friends helps give me the support I need to be there for my mom. To protect my own brain, I get daily exercise and mental stimulation, eat healthy and reduce stress through yoga and meditation. When I keep in mind the mental benefits of healthy lifestyle choices, I feel empowered to keep it up."
JILL LESSER"My mother was a lioness of a women and now she has Alzheimer's roaring inside her like a trapped lion. I have been her caregiver for eight years. It is both a heartbreaking experience and an honor to be able to care for her. Motivated by my personal experience, I joined the Board of UsAgainstAlzheimer's, a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping this disease. I've grown inpatient with the current level of research funding for Alzheimer's and the lack of priority that it takes on the national stage. Today, I am proud to serve as the President of WomenAgainstAlzheimer's, a member of USA2 to amplify the powerful voice of women - a group that is largely affected as both the patient and caregiver. We know women can change the world so we provide them a platform to speak up, advocate for research funding and promote research challenges to find a cure."
KAREN HENLEY"Nominated by her daughter Courtney: For eleven years, my mom tirelessly cared for my dad, Mike, as he bravely fought Young Onset Alzheimer's Disease. He was diagnosed at age 36, just as our family was starting to grow. Alzheimer's hurt us all physically, emotionally, and financially, but through it all, my mom remained a source of inspiration and hope, and she did everything with a smile and a laugh. Her advocacy began on the home front: she was determined to get my dad the best care possible with the limited funds we had to work with. She succeeded, and we were able to care for my dad at home throughout his illness. She soon took her advocacy to a whole new level as she started speaking out on numerous TV, radio, and newspaper programs. Her work with the Alzheimer's Association, as well as local care organizations, has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, but that's not the goal for her. Her goal is to help create a world without Alzheimer's so that no other families like ours will have to face this disease. She genuinely is an inspiration."
ESTHER DEY"I am an advocate of women with Alzheimer`s in Ghana and the current Executive Director of Alzheimer`s Ghana. I wish to be part of Maria Shiver`s Wipe Out Alzheimer`s Challenge campaign. Currently I am organising women`s groups in Ghana to campaign against abuse and stigmatization of women suffering from Alzheimer`s and Dementia.My team also engages the media to sensitize women and communities about ways to reduce Alzheimer`s challenges in Ghana. Our organisation`s Website address is www.alzheimersgh.org"
Štefanija Lukič Zlobec"I have personal experience with Alzheimer disease (husband 50 years old – Alzheimer diagnosed). Since 2015 I am a president of Spominčica –Alzheimer Slovenia. With my public work I’ve succeeded that dementia and Alzheimer Cafes in Slovenia are recognisable in Slovenian society and now take place regularly in more than 60 places. I’ve presented the idea of Alzheimer Cafes in one of the meetings in Brussels. On my proposal Slovenia hosted 25th annual conference Alzheimer Europe in 2015 and we are lobbying to adopt Slovenian National dementia Strategy."
SALOME CHIRA"I started using my brain when i founded AT HOME HEALTHCARE KENYA which is a community based organization after noticing that most of our seniors were neglected, mistreated, kept in isolation and even being killed in the name of witchcraft. People not knowing its dementia / Alzheimer's. I sold a piece of land to help me raise funds to create awareness, educate and support caregivers. Kenya being a low income country with very few resources to support this noble cause. I have decided to use my brain to get more people and organizations to partner with to make sure we do research, educate and support caregivers in Africa. www.healthcarekenya.org"
NANCY EMERSON LOMBARDO"I am using my brain to wipe out Alzheimer’s through helping organize the Alzheimer's Association, running support groups, chapters and improving our state and national advocacy effort, and later, running innovative pilot interventions to treat or reduce risk of Alzheimer's, some funded by the national Alzheimer's Association. Today, continue to innovate practical lifestyle programs, by integrating current research, to promote BRAIN HEALTH, including an evidence-based nutritional program called Memory Preservation Nutrition. Goal is to help individuals and organizations improve nutrition and other evidence-based lifestyle to reduce risk of MCI, Alzheimer's, and other dementias as well as to slow down cognitive decline and improve quality of life of those with diagnoses. For example, Amazing Place, a day program for people with Alzheimer's participants in Houston Texas has 100% changed the menu, recipes, and pantry ingredients to now serve brain healthy food, and assisted living companies have innovated healthier menus and snacks."
EMILY CARTON"I use my brain and my heart to create a home and environment where people with Alzheimer’s Disease can be seen and felt beyond the disease. At Thetford House, we find ways to connect and to touch each other lives. While my hope is that one day there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, my work is to see the wholeness in people and to create a world which honors them beyond what their minds can remember. http://www.thetfordhouse.com"
NILANJANA MAULIK"I am from the City of Joy, Kolkata- India. My dementia journey began in 1994,USA and I went back to India in 1998 to set up the Alzheimer’s association. I also headed the National association(ARDSI) as the Secretary General and was part of the Dementia India Report that is striving to make all the difference in my country. I use my brain that can still reason and remember to care for people who cannot. Organization - Alzheimer's And Related Disorders Society of India, Calcutta Chapter, India www.ardsikolkata.org"
MAUREEN MELETIS"My Mother has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past 8 years. I have been with her throughout her steady decline. We are still blessed with glimpses of the warm, witty mother, grandmother and friend she has always been. Sadly, as the years pass those moments are happening less often. As an Alzheimer’s Advocate, I use my brain to wipe out Alzheimer’s by continuing to use my voice and continue to bring awareness to this horrific disease that affects so many of us. I am the co-chair for the 2015 Central NH Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a table host for Reason to Hope breakfast as well as participating in the Care to Cure."
ANNA CATALANO"I became involved with the Alzheimer’s Association when my mom was diagnosed in 2006 and she moved into my home. My sister and I joined a local support group, and through that, we became familiar with the Association and the resources it provided. I was a member of the local board for six years, and served as Board Chair for one of those. I’ve had a Walk team every year since 2007, and have been the top fundraiser in the Fort Bend Walk to End Alzheimer’s every year since then! I involved both of my children in the Walk when they were in high school, and they served as Youth Chair for our local Walk for three years. This year I’ll be putting another Walk team together to raise awareness and funds for research and local care/support for victims and their caregivers."
BRENDA BOUCHARD"I have been caring for my husband who has Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease for the past ten years and continue to do so today. His grandfather, mother, seven of his mother's siblings and two of his brothers have succumbed to this disease. My 88-and-a-half year old mother lives with me and also has Alzheimer's Disease. I know firsthand the pain of watching someone slowly slip away by the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease. I use my brain daily to figure out what it is that I can do to make a difference, bring attention to and change the culture around Alzheimer's Disease. Two years ago, New Hampshire was one of only 13 states without a plan in place for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia. Although we are very private people, I overcame any apprehension I had about bringing our story public and testified before our State legislature three times, sharing intimate details of our story, to support the passage of a bill related to Alzheimer's Disease. In August, 2014, the bill was signed by our Governor, putting in place a plan for New Hampshire. I now sit on our State's House of Representatives Permanent Subcommittee for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia."
MEI MEI HU"Mei Mei Hu has used her brain to Wipe Out Alzheimer’s by co-founding Give To Cure, a non-profit organization dedicated to curing Alzheimer’s disease through crowdfunded clinical trials. She has personally witnessed the journey one takes to cope with this terrible disease, which takes a serious emotional and financial toll, and ignites unparalleled feelings of sadness, helplessness and guilt. The sheer level of economic and social burden Alzheimer’s places on society fuels her fight and she believes a lack of funding should not block patients from promising treatments. She works to empower those who care about Alzheimer’s to feel that they can really make a difference, and to ultimately find a treatment or cure to this disease. Mei Mei has also helped to develop a proprietary vaccine against Alzheimer’s which is currently in clinical trials."
JAMIE TYRONE"Nominated by Lynda Everman: Courage, compassion, determination and resilience - these words just barely begin to describe my friend and fellow activist, Jamie Tyrone. Jamie’s genetic status (She carries 2 copies of the ApoE 4 allele.) puts her at a 91% life time risk of developing Alzheimer’s. For most of us that would be a cause for despair, but for Jamie, it is a call to action. She understands all too well the urgency of this crisis. She is the Founder and CEO of B.A.B.E.S., (Beating Alzheimer’s by Embracing Science), a charitable organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds and recruiting participants for clinical trials to advance research in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. She founded B.A.B.E.S. for those of us who share a kindred bond to create a way to make sense and meaning of all that we’ve experienced, and to add a bit of joy and peacefulness along our journey. She is also a founding member of Women Against Alzheimer’s. While Alzheimer’s is a grim and unforgiving disease, Jamie always finds ways to encourage and inspire."
MARA BOTANIS"My book is being used by Project Lifesaver International (a non-profit comprised of retired law enforcement and first responders) to train law enforcement agencies nationwide on crisis communications involving persons with dementia. I serve as a co-moderator on a nationwide online support group for caregivers (USAgainstAlzheimer's a group dedicated to finding a cure) and on a recent mission trip to China I got to meet and invite the Secretary General of Alzheimer's Disease China, Dr. Lu-Ning Wang to share her research with ResearchersAgainstAlzheimer's to help unite global scientific efforts in the quest for a cure. I help the National Dementia Action Alliance make lives better for persons living with dementia currently as a work group co-chair and travel the country speaking to as many caregiver groups as I can. My grandfather was the kind of person in our small town that everyone went to first when they needed a hand with something because he never refused to help others. I wish my grandfather had never had to go through what he did with Alzheimer's, but he would have been the first one to want to help others through it. I try to do that every day now on his behalf."
SARAH WEBER"As the Founder of Sweb Marketing, I use my brain for creativity plus purpose. My goal is to build interest in products, services, and causes for a targeted group of people. In 2012, I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer's after a 10+ year battle with the disease. Each day I spent with him reminded me of how precious every moment can be. That is exactly why I started the #IKnowOne Challenge, which strives to ignite camaraderie and raise awareness for those impacted by this horrible disease."
LIZA PIERCE"Creating awareness through blogs and social media, that’s one of the many ways I use my brain to help wipe out Alzheimer’s. I write about my experiences, my connection, and my desire to find a cure and stop the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s. I volunteer my time with the local Alzheimer’s Association too. https://medium.com/@amauiblog/walk-to-end-alzheimer-s-0n-maui-76f12e350cb5"
PAULA ABRAHAM"Nominated by her daughter Alicia: My mother has helped care for her mother (my grandmother) for over 10 years when she was diagnosed with Dementia. She joined our local Alzheimer's and Dementia board and started to help raise money to find a cure. My mother was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in October 2014. Since then she has been on a mission to bring awareness, raise money, and find a cure. She has done numerous news interviews to bring awareness and is in the process of gathering our entire community to participate and donate to our annual Alzheimer's and Dementia walk. She has been in contact with numerous institutions to begin studies on experimental drugs to help further available research. She is not taking this diagnosis as a life sentence, but a chance to make a difference, while bringing awareness to help in finding a cure!"
KATE SWAFFER"As a person living with a diagnosis of a younger onset dementia, I am an advocate, activist and agitator for change, and for the voice of people with dementia. Also an innovator and past care partner for three people with dementia, I am co-founder and current Chair of Dementia Alliance International, the peak body and also the voice of people with dementia. I am using my brain to reduce the symptoms of my own dementia by continuing to study at university and am about to apply for a PhD with the University of Wollongong in Australia. I promote education and awareness with a daily blog and have just started a new website called Living Beyond Dementia. Since being diagnosed, I have achieved three tertiary degrees; a MSc (Dementia Care), BPsych and a BA. Prior to dementia I had a Grad Dip Grief Counseling, have been a Chef, and am a Retired Nurse. I hold a current position as Honorary Associate Fellow with the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, and work as an Author, Advocate, Speaker, and consultant in dementia. I continue to live beyond a diagnosis of dementia. I am also a Board member of Alzheimer’s Disease International and Chair of the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Advisory Committee."
SIATTA ADAMSMy brain allows me to think of ideas to raise money around my work place, it allows me to organize a plan and enact it. My mental power along with thirty other women raised over 40K last year, and together we gave Alzheimer’s a kick in the backside. My brain allows me to be an active contributor to the world around me, improving little aspects of life in truly momentous ways.
SARAH ROBB OHAGANPresident of EquinoxWhen you've had the painful personal experience of watching your parent become afflicted by this terrible disease, you are determined to help find the cure. There is research that suggests decisions we make early on in our lives to commit to exercise, healthy nutrition and consistently good sleep can improve our chances of avoiding or delaying the onset of Alzheimer's. It's my hope is to share this emerging knowledge with families everywhere.
CHRISTINA HAWKINSHolistic Health and Fitness CoachMy grandmother passed from Alzheimer's. My dad is beginning to show signs of it. His first cousin has it, severely. My mother's first cousin has it, severely. Patients of Alzheimer's waste away very similarly to patients of chemo. I know; I have witnessed both in my family. The more educated we become, the more we can help those who have it and prevent others, including ourselves, from developing it. It is becoming more and more prevalent and we need to know why and stop it! I am in the sandwich generation, now, caring for my aging parents. This not how I thought my life would be. If this continues, who will take care of me? I don't want that! I want to stop this disease. I will not be a victim!
Jean Marie SmileyMother, Grandmother, Alzheimer's AdvocateAs a Daughter & a former Certified Nurse’s Aide, on January 1st 2012 I started a movement, a Facebook page, determined to honor the memory of my beloved beautiful Mother who battled Alzheimer’s disease for 4 yrs. along with her kind and much loved husband who battled dementia! I’m shining a light to heighten awareness, offer support, encourage care with dignity and love along with helping to eliminate the stigma of all dementia types! Together with others I stand in the fight for a cure! For myself, my Children, Grandchildren and everyone, I think about our future every day without any type dementia in it! Sincerely, Jean Marie Smiley https://www.facebook.com/Alzheimers-Disease-Dementia-Public-Enemy-1-261764007230180/ https://www.facebook.com/JMarieSmiley
Amy R. Nelson, PhDNeuroscientist and Alzheimer's AdvocateOne of my most difficult life challenges was losing our father to Alzheimer's disease when he was 57 years old. Over the last 10 years, I have met so many others who have also suffered the wrath of this devastating disease, and the number of people that Alzheimer's impacts continues to grow. I use my brain to try to 'fix' and advocate for Alzheimer's. This disease must be stopped!
MARIE PASINSKI, M.D.Although I have cared for patients with dementia for many years, losing my mother to Alzheimer's has given me a deeper understanding of its true devastation. I am deeply committed to helping every woman minimize her personal risk factors for Alzheimer’s and advocating for a cure.
Cynthia ToussaintFounder and Spokesperson, For Grace"As a woman who’s lived with severe chronic pain for 35 years, I was shocked to learn that Klonopin, the medication hundreds of thousands and I take for relief of that pain, could threaten our lives. We’ve just learned it can cause Alzheimer’s. We women in pain already lead lives that are turned upside down - lives that were once full and rich are now plagued by the fatigue, depression, social isolation and career loss triggered by constant pain. Now our minds and memories might join this cascade of loss. Losing my ballet career to pain that left me bedridden for a decade catapulted me into starting the nonprofit For Grace where we promote better care and wellness for women in pain. It’s critical that we make our community aware of this devastating side effect of benzodiazepines. Alzheimer’s is the last place any of us can afford to go."
ENMA ESPINOZAI am Enma and I am caring for my husband Frank who is in the advanced stages of dementia. In 2009, at 62 years of age, he was diagnosed with this terrifying and painful disease and I have been caring for him ever since. Frank and I have been together for 46 years. He is the love of my life who has always given so much and has treated me with the utmost dignity and respect. Frank is a very noble man of integrity who always took care of me and now I feel that it is my turn to take care of him. Being a caregiver is a difficult journey but with the support of Home Care Assistance / Women's Alzheimer's Movement it reminds both me and Frank that we are not alone."
LORI LA BEYCare Partner for Mother with Dementia, founder of Alzheimer's SpeaksI have found the biggest gift I will ever receive in my life was being able to care for my Mother during her 30-year journey with dementia. Her insights and wisdom shared will never leave me and I made a commitment to her to share her gift to me with others. Alzheimer's Speaks has several platforms in which we do this: Radio, videos, blog posts, various initiatives like becoming dementia friendly, the Purple Angel Project and the Memory Cafes to name a few. In addition, I travel the nation doing keynotes, training and consulting on dementia as it is my passion to shift caregiving from crisis to comfort.
MELISSA WILLIAMSWe weren't prepared for what the doctor had to say that day. And yet here we are, 5 years later, and through a course of medicines that did nothing, and dealing with the anger of having to grieve my mother every single day as this disease slowly takes more and more of her away from me, I find hope in being able to give care for my mother. Even though I'm only 35 and should be having BBQ's and loud sleepovers for my kids, we all do whats best for mom, and that is to love her the way she need to be loved on any given day. I quit my job and have been with her full time for over 3 years. I find so much peace and strength in volunteering, educating myself and others, getting involved, and I plan to continue my work long after my momma leaves this earth. I know later, that every time I see a hummingbird, it'll be her, saying hello and making sure I'm okay. She's a natural caregiver. I don't see death stopping her from that.
SARAH BRENNANLife can be hard and sad when loving someone with Alzheimer's. You have to remember to live in the moment, watch closely, and most importantly listen to what your loved one is really saying. And just when you think all is lost it will happen. It may be as little as a glance or as big as hearing your name but you'll feel it when it does. And though it may only be a brief second you'll know that at that very moment you were there together. There like you used to be, there enough to remind you that your loved one is still there. Just that little feeling can make all the difference and remind you all the heartache and hard times are worth standing by your loved one know matter how heartbreaking it is. Always remember that they are still that same person they once were. Though they may not act the same, I believe that the heart stays the same. I know if things were different and something had happened to me my Grandmother would be right by my side, and that's why I'll never leave hers.
CAROL MASSAROJoseph Andrew Massaro Jr Alzheimers FundOn September 27, 2013, Carolyn C. Massaro established the Joseph A. Massaro Alzheimer’s Research Fund as a way for her family to honor her husband Joe, who has had Alzheimer’s Disease for several years. The goal of the fund is to find answers to the myriad of questions that remain about the disease. With the fund, she plans to assist research efforts that are devoted to finding a cure or preventative measure to the disease. Her goal is to raise enough money to fund research efforts in Pittsburgh so she can give back to the Pittsburgh community.
MAGGIE OWNBEY AND SUSAN OWNBEY-MENAKERThe Miracle SistersWe have been Alzheimer's advocates since our mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2006. A couple of years later my mother-in-law also showed signs and her diagnosis included Parkinson's. We were National Alzheimer's Ambassadors and have been to Capitol Hill in D.C. many times. We hold fundraisers, write op-eds, work on Walk Committees for ALZGLA, and Maggie works with Leeza Gibbons' Care Connection as a HUGS Ambassador. I am an Ambassador with The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's. In July we went to Peru to climb Machu Picchu with 35 other advocates from 5 countries. We're just getting started.
DANA MCGRATHI lost my Mom on September 11, 2015. She was a single parent, who worked hard all of her life and raised 3 children on her own. One of the many things my Mother instilled in me, was the love of music and dance. Once she became ill, I would come over after my Zumba class and play music and show off my new dance moves, while she "chair danced". It was one of the few things that we could still share together and I will always cherish those times and memories.
CATHIE BORRIEAuthor, the long helloI was CRAZY IN LOVE with the emergence of my mother's poet-mind while she was living with dementia. I encourage everyone to start recording conversations they have with those they care for who are living with dementia. The enduring spirit and human essence of my mother continued until her last breath . . .
MEG DONAHUECo-Founder MamaSezz.comMy father died from Alzheimer's and 2 yrs later,my mom at 80 was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and released to hospice care. Desperate, I researched "who has survived late term heart failure" and found studies that showed eating a Whole Food Plant Based Diet may reverse her condition. We fed her tiny meals for a year, she gradually got better and her heart function is near normal. She's 86 now, swims 4 times a week and healthy. I don't have many regrets, but one is I didn't know the impact of diet on brain health when my Dad was first diagnosed in his mid 60's. Brain health is multi-faceted but I believe we could have mitigated the progression of his disease by limiting processed foods and including more plant-based meals in his diet. Becoming a part of the solution: I started an organic whole food plant-based food company, MamaSezz.com we deliver fresh ready made meals direct to customers nationwide. Our goal is to make it easier for people to shift to a healthier diet and to educate communities about the impact of food choices on their health.
LISA MARIE CHIRICONursing Home Navigator CoachAlzheimer's stole my Dad's Golden Years with my Mom. I miss his smile and his laughter - I miss him every day. The courage and strength Dad showed us during his 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s is my inspiration now. Let's continue our work to raise awareness and find a cure for this disease!
CHARLENE NEUGeriatric Care ManagerMy Mom's life changed when she learned that she is one of the millions of smart, funny, wonderful women that is afflicted with this horrific disease. I miss my Mom, Joan Neu every day. She's here, but yet she's not. In honor of my Mom and to help other families who search for information, assistance, guidance and empathy, I changed careers ten years ago and am now a Gerontologist, an Advocate and a Geriatric Care Manager and a member of the Women's Alzheimer's Movement, working to eradicate Alzheimer's Disease in my lifetime.
KARRIE CONVERSE-JONESOwner: TurningLeaf CurationServicesWe need to keep the research going - this is such a costly disease in both time and caregiver effort. All family members are effected emotionally. This is a full-time job on top of most people's full-time job. The systems (facilities, insurance, government assistance) have not caught up to the need.
LISA KPraying for a cureThe last 4 years I have watched more women and men be diagnosed with Alzheimer's! My father has Levy-Body and I chose to move in with my parents so I could spend more time with them both. It's been challenging to say the least. The most challenging has been living with my mother. I love them both! I pray she never get Alzheimer's and I fear I will. So if that day should ever come around, I'll be ready but in the meantime I will do what I can to help find a cure. There has to be a cure one day soon I hope.
KAREN ELIZABETH MARXEditorMe and my family are commited to seeing a cure to this disease. This disease is currently efferting us--and we know with the research, people coming forward and sharing their stories----and GETTING THE MONEY TO FUND research is critical. There will be a day, and hopefully soon that someone doesn't die from this awful disease. In it to defeat it!
LISA ANNA BULLEmpowertressMy Husbands Mom showed signs at 54 years, living until the beautiful age of 86. She often would hug me and thank me for protecting her. I could see how frightened she was, reassuring her she was safe and all of us were being there protecting her and loving her all the more. I know that nutrition is vital to my brains health. I am having test now for signs of neurological problems affecting my body mind and soul. I must be mindful to be gentle with my self and others. I have learned the craft of Intentional Creativity. Keeping it sacred in everything I do. I have faith and believe in beautiful tomorrows...we create them today. It is the gift... that's why it's called the present a gift from God. Blessings dear ones. People deserve to live in gentle, Loving environments where aliveness, delight and joy are norm. Anything less is an insult to the human spirit. Dr. Micheal Ryce
ERICA HORNTHALCEO of Chicago Dance TherapyAs a dance/movement therapist and clinical counselor I see first hand how this disease manipulates an individual's sense of self, security, and safety. I also have the honor of helping them reconnect to those parts that seem inaccessible through the use of movement, non-verbal communication, and dance. Connection is always possible through movement.
REBECCA KATZMy father, Jay, died of dementia in his eighties, after struggling with the disease for a decade. Ever since, I felt like I was on a timetable, that my mind had an expiration date of age seventy or so. It wasn’t a pleasant way to feel, but justified, I thought, given my paternal genetics. I’ve spent years exploring the connections between brain health. The good news? What we put on the end of our fork definitely affects the brain in a myriad of ways. For me, this notion is empowering and incredibly liberating. www.rebeccakatz.com
Jeff and I have been married 47 yrs with the last 7 compromised by Alzheimer's. Jeff played many years of football and rugby, so may be suffering from CTE. Regardless of its origins, his life, treatment and prognosis remain the same grim outcome. When you marry at 22 and say those words "for better or worse," we never expect or ponder "the worst." Age and wisdom brings reality front and center, and while Alzheimer's has definitely become "for worse", it also has provided opportunities for personal growth and strengths we never knew we had at 22. Love changes and grows as life dictates; embrace every new horizon.
I was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer's in 2016. After 17 years in the high tech world, most recently at Intel Corporation as a Sales Director, I now find myself retired, but not by choice. But I am not letting Alzheimer's get me down! I have been speaking about my disease and sharing my story with anyone and everyone that will listen. I am an Early Stage Advisor for the National Alzheimer's Association, a member of AIM, and recently was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Northern California/Northern Nevada Alzheimer's Association. My husband and I walked in four Walks to End Alzheimer's in 2016 and raised over $50,000 to help us find a cure! My blog, www.myjourneywithalzheimers.com allows me to be vulnerable and honest as I share the trials and tribulations of living with Alzheimer's at the early age of 61.
LISA CINICreatorI am a Alzheimer's / Dementia Interior Designer with a mission to Improve Quality of Life. While my firms project impact thousands, there are still many that cant afford or don't want to go into a locked care unit. That was the case for my family. so a couple of years ago, I moved my parents and grandmother who is now 95 with Alzheimer's in with us an documented all of the successes and failures in a book to help others on this journey. Hive The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living. Because of my career, I have been blessed to use products to help my parents and grandmother Embrace Living and now offer them to others on www.bestlivingtech.com
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