A Mad Missi Makes

I've posted it a million times on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social networking sites I belong to. It's NOVEMBER: Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Yay!

Alzheimer's Facts:
{courtesy of Alzheimer's Association}

~ Currently 5.3 Americans are affected. That's 1 in every 6 people in the United States. Practically a guarantee that every household will have an Alzheimer's patient under their care at some point.

~ African-Americans and Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease.

~ $172 billion dollars are spent each year in treating Alzheimer's patients.

~ Alzheimer's is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.

~ While other select causes of death decreased between 2000 - 2006, Alzheimer's deaths increased by 46.1%.

~ An estimated 10.9 million caregivers go unpaid and unrecognized each year.

I look forward to November every year. I look forward to the Thanksgiving Day parade and shopping at 3 am, but I especially look forward to dying my hair purple because nothing says Alzheimer's advocate quite like this:

Person {always at Starbucks too}: I love your purple!

Me: Thanks, I do it every November in support of my grandmother.

Person: {puzzled look}

Me: She's an Alzheimer's patient and every November is Alz Awareness Month; purple is their color.

Person: Really? I have a {grandparent/aunt/parent} with Alzheimer's....

Having purple hair automatically leads to attention, which 90% of the time leads to questions and a conversation. If I raise awareness just one time, I've made a difference.

This week, GAD has been busy planning and preparing an Alzheimer's fundraiser {this year's theme: Answers for Alzheimer's: Trivia Night} to be held this weekend, but I have a hard time planning without mad tears.

For years, we've slowly watched the lights get dim at Gram's "house" and eventually noticed she stopped answering the door all together, but nothing has been more heartbreaking than watching my mom deal with the "loss" of her mother without death. It must be so strange. Just being aware of all the possibilities - physical, financial, and emotional strain that takes toll - I'm grateful for my little brother. This is not just a patient or person affecting disease. It effects the whole family.

So while Grams, a Stage 7 Alzheimer's patient, played a huge role in how my family got involved with the Arizona Alzheimer's Association, it's that first fact that keeps my interest. 1 in 6 is a scary percentage of the population. Virtually, everyone knows someone who has been or is affected by Alzheimer's. EVERYONE. So why doesn't this disease get the media's attention more often? I've seen two PSA's for Alzheimer's on national television {one featured a very yummy Bradley Cooper}. That's it. TWO. I understand that there's no media-drawing drama involved with Alzheimer's; no sudden exits, no painful suffering, no surgeries, no 60-mile walks or band aid concerts and I'm not trying to take away or down play other incredibly significant battles that the medical world faces, I'm just trying to find an understanding why we don't raise awareness for Alzheimer's on a grander scale. With Alzheimer's, there's NO recovery, there are NO survivors, there is NO winning, and there's seemingly NO attention and that makes for a mad Missi.

Join me and Bradley Cooper. Remember for those who forget and MOVE to end Alzheimer's. For more information on Alzheimer's, visit To donate to the Phoenix Memory Walk, click here.

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