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Most of the year my editor’s note focuses on our cover subject, and although we’re thrilled to have Ron Howard, there is one person who can trump him. My Mom. Our feature Searching for Hope has a deeply personal connection, and I could not let it go without comment.
Last November my mother passed away from dementia-related complications. Though dementia is the broader term under which Alzheimer’s falls, the physiological and psychological manifestations—as well as the outcome—are one in the same. In Searching For Hope (page 64), writer Steven Sawicki takes on the enormous task of untangling the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease—from diagnosis and therapies to recent research and where to turn for help.
When my mother was diagnosed, my siblings and I sought out the expertise of doctors at the forefront of brain research. We were determined to know exactly what we were up against and what we could do to stave off the progression. That was lesson No. 1. There are no clear answers when it comes to this disease. Over time, however, our understanding of the illness and, perhaps even more important, our acceptance of what was not understandable helped us to do what was best for my mother.
Scientists are now closer than ever before to deconstructing Alzheimer’s and dementia. But there is still a very long way to go. And given that
the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s is now more than 5 million (and multiplying every year), political and economic support for research is vital.
For my mother and my family, the road was a long one. And to see my mother robbed of so much was the most difficult thing I have ever had to cope with. I only hope that our story may help to make the road a little easier for anyone dealing with this heartbreaking disease.