There was a sizeable turnout at the George W. Bush Institute May 7 for the Triumph Over Alzheimer’s Forum and Dinner. In fact, at least 275 tickets were sold for the special evening. The robust result meant that Leslie Ann Crozier‘s startup nonprofit Triumph Over Alzheimer’s—which aims to advance research into the irreversible brain disease—has come from out of nowhere to raise more than a quarter of a million dollars for the cause in less than two years.
The Bush Institute event—which followed Leslie’s inaugural fundraiser at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in May 2017, when her group was known as the It’s Their Time Foundation—included a cocktail reception, a dinner, an auction, and a panel discussion titled “Research ‘Rock Stars’ Take on the Myths and Realities of Alzheimer’s.”
Participating in the symposium were Dr. Roger Rosenberg, director of the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Center of UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University. (Tanzi, a musician who’s played keyboards for Aerosmith, was the panel’s actual “rock star.”) The talk was moderated by Dr. Michael Hayden, Killam Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia.
Just before the panel convened, a lively and crowded reception was held that brought together guests like Event Co-Chair Katherine Wynne, Sarah Losinger, Lottye and Bobby Lyle, Caroline Rose Hunt, Lee Bailey, Dr. John Gill, Diane and Stuart Bumpas, Jacque Delkus, Billy Lee Rippey and Carol Seay. Then they and others, including Jim Moroney, Joyce and Larry Lacerte and Barbara and Stan Levenson, repaired to the auditorium to hear Roger, Rudolph, and Michael wax eloquently about the causes of Alzheimer’s—unwanted proteins called “plaques and tangles,” which impair learning and memory functions, they said—and ways to ease the suffering of those with the disease.
“The elephant in the room is, we don’t diagnose Alzheimer’s until we start seeing symptoms,” Rudy told the crowd. “We need to start determining [the unwanted proteins] with a scan, 20 years before the disease shows up.” Chimed in Michael: “What Rudy is saying is, just as we do with heart disease, where you can lower your cholesterol and help prevent a heart attack, let’s find a way to measure the early signs, before the disease starts.”
After Roger noted that certain behaviors—like smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise—increase one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Rudy mentioned a “seven-day plan” he’s helped develop that could help protect the brain and possibly prevent dementia. (Seventy percent of Alzheimer’s patients are afflicted with dementia.)
Rudy’s so-called SHIELD plan, which he developed together with Dr. Deepak Chopra, consists of:
- S, for sleeping at least seven hours a night.
- H, for handling stress.
- I, for interacting with others.
- E, for exercise.
- L, for learning new things.
- D, for diet, preferably a Mediterranean diet that focuses on fruit, nuts, vegetables, and olive oil.
Asked what people can do to ease the burden on Alzheimer’s sufferers and their families, Roger replied, “We should state our case. Cancer overcame its stigma, but we’re just beginning [to do that]. … Mutual support by friends and family is also important.”
The evening concluded with a dinner—spinach and roasted beet salad, roasted chicken breast and seared halibut, flour-less chocolate cake—that was emceed by WFAA (Channel 8) weatherman Pete Delkus. It also included the playing of a video featuring a touching song about Alzheimer’s called “Remember Me.” The song was co-written by Rudy and “The Voice” finalist Chris Mann, who also performed the poignant tune. In addition, a live auction offered the likes of a trip to Winter Park, Colorado; a 14-carat Susan Saffron white gold diamond ring; and a dinner for eight at Stephan Pyles’ Flora Cafe.
According to Leslie, all proceeds from the evening—$160,000 worth—will be turned over to Roger to benefit his Alzheimer’s research at UT Southwestern and to Rudy and his research team at Harvard.
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