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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Mar 232010
Ida and Alan

Many of you know of Memories are Everything: The 7 Summits where I want to raise $1M for Alzheimer’s’ research through awareness and fund raising events associated with climbing the 7 Summits; the highest mountain on each of the 7 continents. I announced the plan almost year ago so it is time for a proper update.

First it is important to understand that this is about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, not mountain climbing. You see, search if I could sing or dance or had some other skill that I thought would raise the money, I would use it. It certainly would be easier than climbing Mt. Everest! But I don’t. I climb mountains and can keep an audience entertained for a while after dinner.

To raise a million dollars, it takes more than a million people. And I need help to reach them. After all, I don’t have that many Facebook friends 🙂

These are difficult economic times. There are a lot of incredibly worthy causes out there. Think Haiti or cancer or, yes, Alzheimer’s. My mom died from Alzheimer’s in August last year, 2009. Two of my aunts died from Alzheimer’s. I might get Alzheimer’s. You might get Alzheimer’s. Every minute, someone is diagnosed with it. There is no cure. You lose your total identity. The result is always death.

As I helplessly watched my mom drift away into no-man’s land between life and death, I knew I had to do something. I had to try to make a difference. Raise $1 million dollars. Research is expensive. For every dollar spent on care, the US Government spends less than one penny on research. This is not a path to a cure.

Private researchers are making great strides. The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund directs 100% of all their donations to research and none to their overhead. They are my partner of choice.

There is hope. We cannot surrender. Alzheimer’s is not a forgone conclusion of aging. It is a disease just like diabetes or cancer. It strikes people in their 40’s without consideration to geography, gender or lifestyle.

So go climb mountains – that was the plan. Get like-minded people to come along. Use all the modern day communication tools – the Internet, Twitter, Facebook. Use traditional methods: advertising, speeches, newsletters. Leverage non-profits and community organizations. Talk to anyone; everyone. Tell the story as loud and as often as possible.

Alzheimer’s is killing people every minute and you might be next. You will never know it; but your family will.

Over the past year, I have talked with hundreds of people. Large companies in health care, insurance, technology, finance. I talked to climbing gear companies – tents, packs, boots – you name it. Even a power company. Some politely said no; other priorities. Most never said anything.

I kind of get it. Who is this Alan Arnette? Mountain climbing? How about Nascar? Alzheimer’s is an “old person’s” disease – not our target market. It is someone else’s problem.

So after a year of pitching Memories are Everything: The 7 Summits for Alzheimer’s; I have no large partner willing to help me reach the millions.

What to do? Not give up. No.

I will continue to look for that company; that organization; that person who can – who will help. I will continue to use my website and my coverage of Everest to raise awareness. I will speak to anyone, anywhere, anytime to tell them story of Ida Arnette and the day she asked “Who are you?”

If it is not climbing mountains, then something else. You see; this is not about climbing. It is about saving memories – saving lives.

Comments on/from Facebook

  4 Responses to “If I Could Sing or Dance …”


    Alan, you are doing important work, with Alzheimers and your climbing website. Times are tough now for all of the non-profits and there are so many. I hope that you keep your dream of climbing Everest alive. You will love it. You can do it. If/when you decide to go back, let me know what I can do to help you. It will be a meaningful climb for you. Keep up the good work.


    Good luck Alan in your quest to raise a $1 million dollars for a very worthy cause. I am sure the BIG sponsership is just around the corner.


    Well done Alan. I really like your strength of spirit. You are doing good work. Your Mom would be very proud of you.


    Mental toughness – it’s not just for the mountains. You have it. I know you’ll get there.