N No Cure
Alzheimer’s disease is just one of many diseases that are currently incurable. The list is long and heartbreaking:
•ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
And there are many more genetic, developmental, autoimmune, mental, and other illnesses. And, although some types of cancer now can be treated successfully if caught early, it still takes far too many people.
In fact, it’s amazing, when we consider how complex the body and brain are, and how many things can possibly go wrong, that so many of us manage to live fairly healthy lives.
Medical science has worked wonders, particularly in the past century, in curing many formerly incurable diseases and finding effective treatments for others. In the case of Alzheimer’s/dementia, medications such as Aricept and Namenda have been developed that can slow down the symptoms, but they do not cure the disease.
But science, like every other human endeavor, needs support—and that means money. Money for research into medical and palliative treatments, to develop new technologies to help people afflicted with some of these conditions, and someday, hopefully, to find cures.
That’s why I’m challenging everyone reading this to take a small part in helping to eradicate these diseases.
Maybe you have friends or loved ones afflicted, or just have an interest in one of the conditions. Mental health has been a personal cause for me for a while now, and I’ve been a supporter of the Menninger psychiatric research clinic for several years. Now I’ve come to focus on Alzheimer’s/dementia because of what my mother is going through. I took part in a fundraising campaign last fall, and I now make an automatic monthly donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s a small effort on my part but it’s meaningful, as it helps them to know they count on a certain amount of money coming in regularly.
Imagine how much could be done if everyone chose just one disease that has somehow had an impact on his or her life and made a commitment to support research on that disease in any way possible. It could be as little as a five-dollar donation if that’s all you can afford. The important thing is to do something. It’ll make you feel good, and you'll be making an important contribution to the world.
So when that next solicitation letter or phone call from a foundation supporting medical research comes, please think for a moment before throwing it out or hanging up the phone. A little bit really can make a difference.
So what diseases have affected your life? Which one will you choose to support research in?