I want to tell all of you about an event I’ll be attending next week that I am very excited about: the Bay Area premiere of a documentary film call The Genius of Marian. The film, by local filmmaker Banker White, focuses on his mother as her Alzheimer’s disease advances. If you are in or near San Francisco on November 23, I highly recommend you get tickets – plus, I’ll be moderating a conversation with Banker and film producer Anna Fitch immediately following the screening. Details on the event appear at the bottom of this post. I asked Banker to tell us a bit about the film and his family’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s what he had to say:
The Genius of Marian is a documentary film about my extraordinary mother Pam White, and her struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The last few years have been a roller coaster of emotions, filled with frustration, sadness, joy and celebration. I didn’t originally set out to make a documentary film about my mother’s disease. The project began as a series of informal recorded conversations with my mom in the months after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2009. She had begun writing a memoir called “The Genius of Marian” about her own mother (my grandmother), Marian Williams Steele. Marian was a well-loved and well-known painter and was in many ways the matriarch of our family. In 2001, Marian died of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 89. Continue reading “SATURDAY: The Genius of Marian in San Francisco” »
About a year ago, Cynthia got lost on the way to her favorite ice cream place – one she had been to time and time again. When she finally found it, ordered herself a treat and got on the road home, she was alarmed to realize she couldn’t figure out how to drive across the street, becoming disoriented with the number of bright headlights and speed and number of the cars. In the weeks that followed this incident, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Cynthia and her son on Mother’s Day
Cynthia, 64, has become a passionate advocate for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, attending advocacy meetings, support groups and speaking at events. She recently moved to a retirement community in Napa, Calif., to be close to her son, who is her primary caregiver. She shared with us a letter her son wrote to her about the present and the future.
I don’t want you to worry or be afraid. Let’s enjoy every single day and not think too much about whether you can remember as well as you could in the past.
I will watch over you and won’t let anything bad happen to you. If the time comes when we need to do more for you, I will make sure you have everything you need to have a great quality of life.
I wish I could change things. I wish I could take your illness for you but I can’t. All I can do is be there for you and love you.
I am just back from Hilarity for Charity, a fundraising event put on by Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren Miller. Lauren’s mother was diagnosed at the age of 55, when Lauren was just 25 years old. Lauren and Seth organized this event to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association and dispel the myth that Alzheimer’s is just an old person’s disease.
“Tonight, we will laugh to forget how sad this disease is,” Lauren says in the program. “But, more importantly, we’ll laugh to remember that changing the destiny of this illness is up to us.” Continue reading “Celebrities turn out for Seth Rogen’s Alzheimer’s fundraiser” »
The Strom family: Jane and Roger along with sons Erik, Zack and AJ
Leave a comment below to let us know about the everyday heroes in your life! In honor of Alzheimer’s Action Day on September 21, we are highlighting 21 Everyday Heroes. Today, meet Roger Strom, our 12th everyday hero. As of today, Roger is the top fundraiser for Walk to End Alzheimer’s in San Jose, with $11,000 raised to date! Roger’s wife has younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease and he and has family have made fundraising a family affair, with son Erik raising funds with his fraternity for the San Francisco Walk. Read more about Roger and his family in this Los Altos Town Crier article: When memory slips away, caregivers are challenged or donate to Roger here: Donation page of Roger Strom. Learn more about how you can raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease at www.alz.org/wam.