Ramona woman strives to end Alzheimer’s by 2020
By Marta Zarella
The first Women Against Alzheimer’s Summit was held in Washington, D.C., and Jamie Tyrone of Ramona was there.
The opening session was a breakfast that featured remarks from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-N.H.). Collins, Stabenow and Kuster are members of the Women Against Alzheimer’s Honorary Congressional Committee.
Women Against Alzheimer’s is the first national network of women in leadership positions working to speed the pace of research and build momentum to end Alzheimer’s disease. Their goal is to double the funding currently dedicated to Alzheimer’s research so that a cure can be found by 2020.
Tyrone is founder of Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science (B.A.B.E.S.), a 501(c)(3) organization she created in 2012 solely to support fundraising for Alzheimer’s research. Tyrone is also a founding member of the national Women Against Alzheimer’s coalition.
According to the Alzheimer’s association, five million people — one in eight older Americans — have Alzheimer’s disease. The disease not only robs them of their mind, but it takes a toll on their body, and on the lives of loved ones and caregivers.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed at this time. More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Most of those care providers are women. The disease also affects women more often than men.
US Against Alzheimer’s website reports data from the National Center for Health Statistics and Miniño et al which shows that the death rates from HIV, stroke, heart disease, prostate cancer and breast cancer between 2000 and 2008 have been reduced by up to 39 percent, while the death rate from Alzheimer’s is up 66 percent.
Alzheimer’s does not have the public awareness that the other diseases have, nor does it have the celebrity fundraising sponsors that other causes have. But that is changing. The Associated Press reports that Payton Manning of the Denver Broncos will be making a television commercial for Alzheimer’s research, actress Marilu Henner has been a longtime Alzheimer’s advocate, and most recently Carol Burnett signed on to support an L.A. function supporting Alzheimer’s research.
In San Diego, Tyrone, a registered nurse, started B.A.B.E.S. after learning that she had two copies of the ApoE 4 allele gene, which put her at a 91 percent lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and at a younger age than the average person. She learned the truth about her health condition after participating in a study after years of searching for answers to her medical issues.
B.A.B.E.S. (alzbabes.org/) and US Against Alzheimer’s (www.usagainstalzheimers.org/) will be hosting a major fundraiser in San Diego on Friday, Sept. 27, at the Shiley Theater on the University of San Diego campus. Marilu Henner will read the leading role in a play called “Surviving Grace,” written by Trish Vradenburg, vice chair of Us Against Alzheimer’s. Vradenberg and her husband George co-founded Us Against Alzheimer’s in October of 2010. George is a lawyer who worked at CBS, FOX and AOL Time-Warner among other places. During his career he established a network of influential contacts before retiring in 2003. He and his wife created Us Against Alzheimer’s to harness the passion and commitment needed by political, business and civic leaders to achieve the goal of ending Alzheimer’s by 2020 by mobilizing individuals to demand the urgency.
The Vradenbergs believe in the power of people and are building an army of activists to take on the cause for a cure. Tyrone is one of those activists.
US Against Alzheimer’s found B.A.B.E.S. through networking. B.A.B.E.S.’s motto is “harnessing the synergy of women in the fight against Alzheimer’s.” Both organizations believe in the power of people. George Vradenberg and Tyrone have both been touched by Alzheimer’s. Vradenberg’s mother died of the disease.
As a result of this partnership B.A.B.E.S. is supporting the Women Against Alzheimer’s 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global Neuro Discovery Challenge, which challenges researchers to identify male/female differences in early cognitive decline, to promote earlier interventions for women and men. Prize money of $100,000 will be awarded.
“My great-grandmother, grandmother and father all died from Alzheimer’s,” said Tyrone. “I decided after a bout of depression and seeking the help of a therapist to dedicate my time and my effort to helping find a cure for this insidious disease. I was honored to be invited to become a part of Women Against Alzheimer’s. Networking with incredible women (and men) who are all committed to finding a cure was amazing. I was in Washington, D.C., lobbying Congress. I wanted to introduce myself to Congresswoman Susan Davis and make sure she knew about our organization, so I went by her office and spoke to one of her aids. Later in the day I met Congresswoman Susan Davis in the hallway and she knew of me, so I gave her one of our shiny coral B.A.B.E.S bracelets. I was really there, lobbying and networking with all the influence people and policy makers. It was amazing!”
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