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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rhinestone Cowboy Making Us Witnesses to the Truth about Alzheimer's

Glen Campbell's willingness to be a poster child for Alzheimer's Disease makes him a true American/Alzheimer's hero. Reports indicate that his health is now rapidly declining and he is living out his final days in an Alzheimer's nursing home in Nashville "mumbling incoherently" and unable to recognize friends & family.  What's worse?  It will get worse.  Each new day will bring new challenges and losses.  Each new day will bring new anxiety.  Each new day will be a new heartache - for Campbell and his family.  That's Alzheimer's!

Campbell's diagnosis was announced in 2011.  A farewell tour was scheduled for 2012 while the legendary singer/songwriter could still remember the words to his hit songs. He released his final song entitled  "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" last week and a documentary, Glen Campbell: I'll Be Mewill be released on Oct 24.  The documentary focuses on his final tour and fight against Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's kills and the prognosis is epidemic.  According to the Alzheimer's Association 2014 Alzheimer's Fact and Figures Reports Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer's in the United States. To add insult to injury, studies indicate that Alzheimer's deaths are vastly under-reported which results in a false sense of security and under-funding. Research shows that Alzheimer's was the underlying cause in 500,000 deaths  in the United States in 2010, a figure close to six times the estimate from the Centers for Disease Control.  In other words, in just one year, Alzheimer's killed nearly as many as AIDS - responsible for 636,000 deaths in the United States - had taken in more than three decades.  (Alzheimer's, a Neglected Epidemic. May 2014) 

We salute Campbell!  In the coming days we will see more and more cases of Alzheimer's & dementia.  Today we need more heroes like the courageous Mr. Glen Campbell.  He may not be able to miss us, but we will certainly miss him.  In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with our hero and his family.