Recently, when I set out to do a blog on famous PWD (persons with dementia), I was disappointed by the number of people diagnosed with dementia related disease (such as Alzheimer’s) that didn’t speak out. How sad.
In my research of over 200 “famous people” PWD, I found exactly 5 who did something to make a difference. The others kept their diagnosis hidden until after their death or care facility placement, when the family announced they had been suffering for years.
These five promoted dementia awareness, fought for legislative changes, wrote a book or song and/or became an Alzheimer’s Advocate.
So I say THANK YOU for being a “Dementia Doer.”
1- Ronald Reagan – In 1994, he informed the Nation he had Alzheimer’s in this hand written note: http://www.reagan2020.us/speeches/announcement_of_alzheimers.asp
2- Charlton Heston – He informed the public he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in this letter: http://www.fanunity.com/heston/alzheimers_text.html
3- Rita Hayworth – EOAD first noticeable at age 46. When she died, at age 68, President Ronald Regan included in his statement: “Rita became known for her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Her courage and candor, and that of her family, were a great public service in bringing worldwide attention to a disease which we all hope will soon be cured.”
4- Glenn Campbell – After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 he went on to complete his “Goodbye Tour” with three of his children.
5-Patricia “Pat” Summit – The book she wrote, “Sum it Up”, covers her life including her experience being diagnosed and living with Alzheimer’s. She is currently an advocate for people with Alzheimer’s Disease.
During the last 18 months, I have met the most remarkable PWDs who are using their precious cognitive time to make a difference. These “Dementia Doers” continue to: promote dementia awareness, fight for legislative changes, write books, blogs or websites, and/or act as mentors to other PWD.
I want to say Thank You to MY list of famous PWD, including: Robert Bowles, Harry Urban, Norms McNamara, David Kramer, Chris Roberts, Paulan Gordon, Susan Suchan, Karen Francis, Rick Phelps, Truthful Kindness, and Jennifer Bute. Like Rita Hayworth and Pat Summit, most of these people were diagnosed before age 58.
Thank you for letting the world know our brains may be dyeing, but we’re still having some fun and trying to DO SOMETHING to help others and make a difference. Ronald Regan said: “At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done… I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.”
Love & Laughter, Laurie
Written By Lauire Scherrer