Jun 202013
 
On The Longest Day, I Will Fight to End Alzheimer's

I come from a loving and supportive family. I have always been close to my mom, Liz.  She has a degree in early childhood education, and she gave her full attention to raising my sister Kate and me.  Our home was filled with activity. She taught us songs, played games with us, and took us to swim team and play dates.  My mom has a special relationship with our friends as well. (She gave my [...]

Jun 132013
 
A Recipe to Remember: A Daughter Honors Her Father's Memory

It was a perfect summer evening.  The sun was just starting to go down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  I was home from college on a visit to introduce my parents to my new boyfriend (my now husband).  We sat on our patio, enjoying our evening together. My father, Giovanni, summoned me into the kitchen through the window overlooking the patio.  I excused myself, assuming he wanted some help in preparing the [...]

Jun 072013
 
Ending Alzheimer's One Step at a Time

Research into the causes and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has been as complicated as the disease itself.  Patti Davis borrowed the phrase “The Long Goodbye” in describing the decline of her presidential father, and for good reason:  This horrible affliction robs families of their dearest members with agonizing progression and frustration.  And for researchers, it has for over a century hidden behind a shroud of mystery that is due partly to the complex nature [...]

Jun 042013
 
Results of IGIV for Alzheimer's Study Disappointing But Not Discouraging

The first results from the GAP study of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IGIV) for Alzheimer’s disease were just announced and are disappointing but not entirely discouraging. The primary results are clear — IGIV did not significantly slow decline of thinking abilities or preserve daily function in a large group of Alzheimer’s patients when compared to an inactive placebo. However, some positive responses were seen in certain subgroups of the participants who received IGIV. The GAP study was [...]

May 302013
 
Taking Care of You – Dealing with Caregiver Guilt

Caregiving can be extremely rewarding, but all caregivers will eventually feel some degree of frustration, anger and guilt. These are all normal emotional responses to an incredibly emotional journey. As a caregiver, you may feel frustrated and angry at your chaotic life, or your lack of control over the disease’s progression. Anger often evolves into guilt. You may feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, and have the guilty thought, “how much [...]

May 172013
 
Grieving My Mom Twice

This past holiday season, I had the pleasure of appearing as Mrs. Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol” at The Goodman Theatre. On several occasions I thought how much my mother would have loved to see me in it. Before I met my husband, my mother was my biggest fan. When I say my mother would have loved to see the show, I mean the mother who raised me and was always there for me in [...]

May 102013
 
76 Miles, 16 Hours and a Commitment to End Alzheimer's

After some crazy back and forth emails tossing around ideas, it was decided. We would run for an hour at a time on a high school track, alternating shifts for the entire 16 hours of daylight on the longest day of the year. Why?  As a way of turning our passion for running into a fundraiser for The Longest Day – a sunrise-to-sunset event to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. [...]

May 082013
 
A Return Trip to Washington D.C., This Time as an Alzheimer’s Advocate

Over the course of my professional career as a space scientist (from 1966 to 2002), I probably visited the Washington, D.C. area 14 or 15 times every year.  These trips averaged two or three days, visiting various government agencies involved in funding scientific research from Greenbelt, Maryland to Alexandria, Virginia and beyond.  However, the only time that I can remember that I visited the Capitol Building was as a seventh grader on a spring school [...]

Apr 242013
 
Hope and Resolve on Capitol Hill: The Voice of an Alzheimer's Advocate

Alzheimer’s disease has been the greatest heartbreak of my life.  I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s disease. And then, my father. I tell their story, because they can’t.  I tell their story in hopes that future generations will not have the same story to tell. Today, I am surrounded by fellow advocates at the 25th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum – my thirteenth. We are the voice of many, with one message:  The time to [...]

Apr 222013
 
Advocating for an End to Alzheimer's

Sometimes I feel like I’m standing with a crowd of people on a railroad track and there’s a freight train coming. I can hear a whistle in the distance, but everybody else is chatting about the weather or shrugging their shoulders. They are saying things like, “It sure would be terrible to get stuck on this track when the train comes,” or worse, “I don’t hear anything.” The train continues to get closer—but no one [...]

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