Disclosure: Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is a NONPROFIT organization, however I was compensated for this post.
Growing up I spent a lot of time with my father’s family. When I was a kid, all the family got along, and family meant something. It changed as I got older, and we didn’t see a lot of his family. Dynamics change, certain members start their own families and then things become more complicated. Sometimes the changes improve a family, unfortunately for my father’s family, the changes did a lot of damage to his family. However, we always made sure to stay connected to certain aunts, and uncles, and cousins. One particular aunt is why I’m taking action against Alzheimer’s every chance I get.
Every family gathering, back when I was younger, she’d be the aunt that had the loudest laugh. She’d squeeze my cheeks when she saw me (the ones on my face, let’s keep it clean here,) and she’d always be the one that fell for the old family joke “Smell this, the cream smells funny.” The person asking her would then wait for her to sniff it, and she’d end up with the whole thing in her face. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It was priceless. Normally, she’d “pretend” to get mad, then chase the offender around the party. She always appeared to be happy, and adored her kids.
Ironically, she was only four years older than my father, and she was also his aunt as well. Auntie Sue was the youngest of six children (four girls, and two boys.) Her oldest sister had my father when she was about four years old. My father always called her Aunt, because it was a respect thing, but you could tell they “grew up” together. Four years apart, give or take a little, and she passed away far too young.
My aunt had early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s because of her, and all those crazy moments that we experienced as a family together during those early years of my life, that I am taking action against Alzheimer’s. It’s because my children come from the same bloodline. It’s because my husband’s family also has a history of Alzheimer’s, and other forms of Dimentia (because Alzheimer’s is a form of Dimentia, just like Leukemia is a form of Cancer.) It’s because I want to make sure the fight against Alzheimer’s is a strong one, well studied one, and it will eventually have a cure.
Do I have it? No. I don’t have to in order to be able to join and be helpful. Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds, and it’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. It’s the ONLY top 10 causes of death that CANNOT BE PREVENTED, TREATED or CURED. If there’s a way for me to help, I’m doing it. I’m healthy, I’m over the age of 18 and I want to do my part in helping with prevention studies.
The biggest problem with pushing research forward? It’s the recruitment for clinical trials. People believe that if you don’t have Alzheimer’s, you can’t be a part of the trials. However, that’s totally wrong. Healthy people ARE NEEDED. It’s so easy to help.
If you want to help, and wish to join the The Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, it’s SUPER EASY. Head over to www.endALZnow.org and sign up with your email, or you can even text them to sign up. You won’t give anything super personal to them, just your name, email, year of birth, zip code, the country you live in, your race, your gender, if you’ve got a history of Alzheimer’s in the family, if you’ve ever been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive impairment, and if you’d like caregiver related information. Then click SAVE.
Please, if you’re on Twitter, show them some love on Twitter by following them @AlzRegistry – it’s got a lot of great information, even if you can’t sign up for the registry. Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative is also on Facebook, so if you can, please head over and become a fan to show your support!