Four years ago, I received the shock of a lifetime: my wife of 22 years, B. Smith, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
There were signs leading up to B.’s diagnosis—signs we desperately tried to ignore. Always an effortless chef, B. had begun taking a little longer to put our meals together. Ever punctual, B. was beginning to have trouble getting out the door on time.
Since B.’s diagnosis, our life together has changed in many ways. Her independence—one of the things I’ve always loved and admired about her—has begun to wane. And as B.’s symptoms have worsened, I’ve become both her husband and her primary caregiver.
There’s no doubt we’ve been dealt a difficult hand. But it’s a hand we intend to play to the best of our ability. That means joining the fight against Alzheimer’s—a disease that affects more than five million Americans—and teaming up with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF).
B. and I are fighters. We know that the only way to conquer this devastating disease is to develop an effective treatment and a cure. We also know that the ADDF is the only organization in the world that is solely committed to funding drug discovery for Alzheimer’s.
The ADDF is the partner we need to knock out this horrible disease. They have been at the forefront of many recent Alzheimer’s drug developments, investing more than $66 million to support 450 cutting-edge drug discovery programs in 18 countries.
But to get to a cure, we need your partnership, too. We must continue to invest in a strong, diverse portfolio of Alzheimer’s drug discovery. This research is too risky to garner funding from large pharmaceutical companies and venture philanthropists—but I believe it is the research we need to beat Alzheimer’s.
I know many of you share our pain, as well as our commitment to ending Alzheimer’s disease. My wife and I would be so thankful if you would consider a gift in any amount to the ADDF this holiday season. Every dollar counts when it comes to a cure.
We wish you and your family the best this Thanksgiving; we’ll be saying thanks at our table for your consideration and contribution.
Dan Gasby is the chairman of B. Smith Enterprises.