Two out of every three of the 5.2 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease are women. Women are also more likely to be caregivers of those with the disease, affected by it both emotionally and financially.
The sixth leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Every 67 seconds, a brain develops Alzheimer’s disease.
These facts—and being personally touched by Alzheimer’s when her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed in 2003 (he passed away in 2011) have award-winning journalist Maria Shriver on a mission to wipe out Alzheimer’s. An Alzheimer’s advocate for the past 10 years, she testified before Congress to help pass the National Alzheimer’s Plan to stop the disease by 2025, and also recently produced the movie, Still Alice.
Wipe out Alzheimer’s
Shriver’s Wipe Out Alzheimer’s Challenge was created in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association and her nonprofit organization, A Woman’s Nation. The heart of this grassroots, social action effort is to end the devastating disease by educating, engaging and empowering women. Our brains are most at risk, and she believes our brains are the ones that can turn the tide.
Saving women’s brains
To mobilize the movement, women are encouraged to take “The Pledge” to stay educated about what it is, what it is not and make healthy lifestyle decisions about it. We can also help raise funds to research women’s brains and challenge other organizations to make women’s brain research a priority.
All the money raised through the Wipe Out Alzheimer’s Challenge is going to the Alzheimer’s Association’s first-ever Women’s Alzheimer’s Research Fund to support cutting-edge brain research.
I’m joining the challenge. I’ve seen Alzheimer’s personally take the mothers of two good friends and turn them into a person who, sadly, doesn’t recognize their own child. And I’m watching as a third friend manages her mother with dementia now. It’s heartbreaking—and I would love to figure out why.
– Candy Culver