10 Heroes in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and is a devastating diagnosis for a person and their family to receive. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a fitting time to honor those individuals who have committed their lives to Alzheimer’s advocacy and research.
10 Alzheimer’s Heroes
Here’s our list of 10 Alzheimer’s heroes:
Nancy Reagan became a passionate advocate and fervent supporter for Alzheimer’s research in 1994 after her husband, former President Ronald Reagan, announced publicly that he was battling the disease. Reagan worked tirelessly to raise millions of dollars for Alzheimer’s research and open-up the conversation about this devastating disease.
Nancy passed away in March of 2016, however her foundation, the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute remains a strong partner in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Comedian Seth Rogan’s familial connection with Alzheimer’s disease inspired him to get involved in raising awareness and advancing research. His mother-in-law was diagnosed with the early onset form of this disease in 2008, while in her mid-50s. In 2012, Rogan and his wife created Hilarity for Charity, a foundation to raise funds aimed at the millennial generation, to help bridge the gap in understanding the landscape of Alzheimer’s disease.
Maria Shriver has been on the front lines of the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, advocating for research and treatment advancements since her father’s diagnosis in 2003. Schriver has testified before Congress and produced “Still Alice,” the Academy Award–winning film about a person living with Alzheimer’s disease. Her foundation, The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, focuses on the connection between women and Alzheimer’s disease.
Having watched both of his parents succumb to Alzheimer’s disease, Victor Garber is now a staunch advocate for raising awareness around it. He has spoken publicly about the need for more research dollars and the impact that Alzheimer’s has on the person living with the disease and their families. Garber has also been vocal about his decision to not get tested to determine if he carries the gene for Alzheimer’s disease.
Kim Campbell, the wife of renowned musician Glen Campbell, has made it her mission to educate people about Alzheimer’s disease and the role of caregivers, since her husband’s 2011 diagnosis. In 2016, she launched CareLiving.org, a website and blog to provide support and encouragement, as well as information to caregivers.
Meryl Comer is an Emmy Award–winning reporter, author and Alzheimer’s advocate. She has been the primary caregiver for both her mother and husband and is currently the President and CEO of Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, which promotes public awareness around early diagnosis.
Paul Aisen, MD
Dr. Aisen is the founding director of the Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute at the University of Southern California. He has been a leader in Alzheimer’s disease research for more than two decades, and is dedicated to improving clinical testing and accelerating early intervention for this disease.
Kristine Yaffe, M.D.
Dr. Yaffe is a neuropsychiatrist with the University of California, San Francisco, and has been studying the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and the brain for many years. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and serves to advocate for more funding for Alzheimer’s research in the hope of improving care of patients with the disease.
Jesse Karmazin is the founder of the Ambrosia Clinical Trial, which studies the effects of transfusing blood plasma from young, healthy individuals to people living with Alzheimer’s disease. This trial comes as a result of a 2014 study using mice. Although his work is exciting in the Alzheimer’s community, the effectiveness has been discredited and his ethics questioned.
Senator Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is a political advocate for Alzheimer’s research and early prevention, appealing to the Senate on the personal and financial toll that this disease costs the country and its citizens. She is also a co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and co-author of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act.
This month, take a moment to thank a local Alzheimer’s advocate or caregiver in your community. Their tireless work and dedication helps to create a brighter future for those living with Alzheimer’s disease.
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