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Alzheimer’s Association Wins $1.5 Million From American Express

Alzheimer's A. Gala '08

I am so incredibly excited about this great news: the Alzheimer’s Association won first place in the American Express Members Project contest. Cardmembers voted for their favorite cause, and the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease project won the majority. The research grant is valued at $1.5 million.

I first became aware of this worthy cause when I attended the Alzheimer’s Association gala with Chris Matthews (thats us in the photo to the left) and had the chance to interview Patty Smith, a young victim (diagnosed at age 51) of this disease.  She gave a moving speech about living with Alzheimer’s.

Here is an excerpt of my blog post about Patty:

What struck me most about Patty was her courage and determination. Although her symptoms were troublesome to her (she had some difficulty concentrating, remembering details of her past, and couldn’t offer robust answers to questions) she was prepared to be vulnerable in a very public way. I was moved by Patty’s bravery, and her willingness to sacrifice personal comfort for public education. Of all the important donors and benefactors at the event, Patty was (in my opinion) the one who sacrificed the most- because she was the one who was willing to expose her frailty to us all.

I know that the award will be put to good use and I certainly hope that we will soon discover a cure for this devastating neurological disease.


What’s the Chris Matthews connection?  His mom died of Alzheimer’s disease and he moderated the event.

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