alzheimers, Alzheimers advocacy, alzheimers awareness, b.a.b.e.s., beating alzheimers by embracing science, dementia
The 2014 Facts & Figures report recently released by the Alzheimer’s Association shines a bright spotlight on the fact that women are disproportionately affected by AD. Consider these statistics:
- Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
- A woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man.
- As real a concern as breast cancer is to women’s health, women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s during the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.
- More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.
- Nearly 19 percent of women Alzheimer’s caregivers had to quit work due to caregiving responsibilities.
Those numbers are staggering, so what can we, as women, do to make a difference?
I’d like to introduce you to Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science (B.A.B.E.S), founded by Jamie Tyrone. This grassroots organization channels the power and energy of women who share a common passion – ending Alzheimer’s and other related forms of dementia.
Jamie is an RN and like so many of us, she has a direct connection to this insidious disease. Her family’s story is featured in the CNN award winning documentary film, Filling the Blank.
B.A.B.E.S. was born out of the desire for those of us who share a kindred bond to create a way to make sense and meaning of all that we have experienced, and add a bit of joy and peacefulness along our journey.
A jarring experience at age 10 proved to be Jamie’s introduction to the horror of Alzheimer’s, but that was only the beginning. Years later, her grandmother and two great uncles were diagnosed, but even then she hadn’t considered a potential genetic factor.
In a strange twist, Jamie participated in a research study that revealed she has two copies of the ApoE4 gene, giving her 91% chance of developing AD. When volunteering for the study, she knew it was aimed at determining whether one would change their lifestyle if they knew they were at genetic risk for a certain disease – but she had no idea that disease was Alzheimer’s.
She says she was in a state of “healthy denial” for a time, but when her father was diagnosed, all of that changed. She watched as his condition deteriorated and he eventually succumbed to the disease. Jamie, now well aware of her own risk, was filled with fear and sadness.
By embracing science, we are determined to no longer lose another generation to this disease and will do everything we can to raise funds and awareness for research. We will find joy in our kindred spirit…
Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story. In a great example of the resilience of the human spirit, Jamie began to turn things around. She realized all of this was leading her to her purpose in life. She was on her way to turning tragedy into a fierce determination to fight Alzheimer’s, and soon, B.A.B.E.S. was created.
Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science is a non-profit organization whose primary goal is raising funds and funneling those dollars directly to the most promising research projects. Visit the official website or the B.A.B.E.S. Facebook page to learn how YOU can be one of the B.A.B.E.S.!!
Grateful to you, Ann, and to Jamie. Seems our only choice is to turn challenges into advocacy so we can help ourselves and others. My poor mom and grandmother had to deal with shame as well as memory loss. So glad this is changing. Again, I am ever grateful for all you do.
Ann Napoletan said:
And the feeling is mutual, my friend.