Double Your Impact: Make a Donation to Alzheimer’s Research
Five years ago when she was just 64-years old, Azelene Allen learned she had early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Five years ago, Azelene and her husband, Greg, were told she had about four years to live. The Allens had no hope.
Greg noticed that Azelene, his high school sweetheart, was forgetting things. She knew there was something wrong, too. “For 48 years, I did all the finances and paid all the bills,” says Azelene. “All of the sudden I was making mistakes which wasn’t like me – forgetting to pay someone or paying them twice.”
They learned Azelene had early onset of Alzheimer’s disease in 2015. The couple, originally from Arizona, was living in California at the time. But Azelene was uncomfortable with her neurologist there and did not feel the program supported her needs. Through a series of events, they moved back to Arizona and found the specialist at Barrow Neurological Institute’s Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders Program.
Azelene is grateful for the doctors at Barrow. They did all the necessary testing and confirmed the diagnosis. But this time, her neurologist was caring, showed empathy for her, and helped her plan for next steps. The level of care and support gave her hope and made her feel connected to her care providers. The Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders Program is committed to helping patients and caregivers understand the illness and the road that lies ahead for both of them. Barrow physicians go beyond the often experienced “diagnose and adios” to provide real help to patients and their caregivers. Last year, the Program provided support to individuals in Arizona and 11 other U.S. states, as well as people in Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Azelene enrolled in a clinical trial for an innovative Alzheimer’s therapy. She says, “I noticed a remarkable difference.” The trial therapy helped improve her symptoms, but it was temporarily discontinued while preliminary results were examined. Greg says Azelene’s short-term memory has declined in the last year, but the clinical trial Azelene participated in will re-open at Barrow, and that gives the Allens hope. While they recognize there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, they are optimistic this clinical trial will give Azelene time to enjoy her husband, two children, Portuguese Water Dog, and quilting.
In addition to clinical trials testing the safety and effectiveness of various drugs, Barrow leads the way in research investigating non-pharmaceutical interventions for Alzheimer’s. Barrow was the first institution in the world to implant a deep brain stimulation (DBS) device into the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. Researchers hope to determine whether DBS can slow or stop the progression of the disease.
Additionally, physicians are investigating several lifestyle interventions addressing diet, exercise, cognitive training, sleep, and management of vascular risk factors contributing to cognitive impairment. The pilot study is designed to investigate whether lifestyle interventions can prevent Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.
This gives Greg and Azelene hope. Greg says, “They are so close to finding something that will help people live longer and better lives.”
The Allens appreciate the doctors at Barrow and want to inspire others to support the Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorder Program. Greg and Azelene say, “[The Program team] has been unbelievably good and sympathetic. Everyone is fantastic to us.”
Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. Research will accelerate our ability to diagnose, care for, and ultimately prevent the disease and other memory disorders. Through a generous research grant, your donation will be doubled, up to $130,000. That means that your gift will go twice as far to support this critical work, restoring hope to countless families like the Allens.