Guest Blogger: Gail Matthews, Alzheimer’s Disease Advocate, on Her Husband’s Diagnosis and Raising Awareness

How would you react if a loved one was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease? Gail Matthews experienced it firsthand when her husband, Glenn, was delivered the news. In an effort to help others in the same situation, they recorded their journey and recently published it as a book. Gail shares her amazing story below to spread the word and explain how you can help in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

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When my husband and I started our company with just the two of us, we said “business exists because of society and therefore businesses must give back.” Alex and Ani holds the same ethics and the company is a give back kind of business. For me, it is serendipity that the Sunflower was chosen to represent their Charity by Design launch for the Alzheimer’s Association. One year ago, our book, DID I DIE? Managing the Mayhem of Alzheimer’s, A Caregiver’s Guide to Peace and Quality of Life was published. The cover, the bookmark, and the whole theme is based on the sunflower, which was an unfinished painting of mine that symbolized Alzheimer’s being unfinished business. We need a cure. It is a dreadful disease. With Alex and Ani drawing attention to the disease of our generation, where polio was the disease of the 50′s, and AIDS the disease of the 80′s, we have a better chance of finding prevention and a cure.

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When my husband, Glenn, had a knee replacement in 2006, we thought the months following were normal recovery though his heart stopped during the operation. My husband was a world traveler, extremely well read and into good health/fitness. In 2008, we were in the airport and he couldn’t find his way from the men’s room to the airline waiting area. We knew something was wrong. His eyes were glazed and stared straight ahead. He was 71 and the symptoms progressed. When he was diagnosed, he wanted me to help him continue living his life with quality which we did until the last 7 months. Together, we searched for a cure and recorded our experience so that we could help others. My web site (www.alzcaregiver.net) and blog are set up to bring help to everyone from a caregiver to those working in the field as well as to keep up to date with research.

Looking at what is recommended for Alzheimer’s patients today, it’s the same thing that was recommended 30 years ago….exercise, eating right, keeping your mind active. We have made progress, but it isn’t coming quickly enough. 76 million people are expected to have the disease in 2030. It is an epidemic. 1 in 6 women and 1 in 2 men get the disease with 583,000 deaths last year. No one wants to talk about it, but we have to. Alex and Ani is helping spread awareness with the Sunflower bangle and through their donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. I love the Sunflower bangle and want to thank Alex and Ani. I have already bought many bangles to give as gifts and to spread the word.

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Want to help in the battle to end Alzheimer’s? Through December 2015, 20% of proceeds received by Alex and Ani from selling the Sunflower Charm Bangle, with a minimum donation of $25,000, will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association to advance research and enhance care and support for those living with Alzheimer’s.

Shop the Sunflower Charm Bangle.

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This post was written by Brendon Cunha