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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Sep 212011

As I leave our climb of Kilimanjaro, I wanted to send this special message today, World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21st.

November is national Alzheimer’s month for an urgent reason: Alzheimer’s is growing faster than we are making progress on a cure. When I first started the 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s in December 2010, every 70 seconds a new case was diagnosed in the United States; today it is every 69 seconds.

The cost of caring for an individual in a facility has also grown dramatically from the $5,000 a month required for my mother a few years ago to $9000 a month according to one case. My summit of the highest peak in Antarctica was dedicated to those with early onset Alzheimer’s.

And for those caring for their loved one at home? It is now documented that over half the caregivers suffer from lack of sleep, guilt and increased depression. I dedicated my summit of the highest peak in South America to family caregivers.

But it is not hopeless. Major advances have been made in understanding Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Genome Project has identified four genes that are associated with the disease and that will help researchers on their quest to finding root causes. And multiple al trials are underway all towards finding methods of reliable early detection, improved ments and a cure. Researchers received the dedication from the summit of Mt. Elbrus in Russia.

Recently President Obama signed into law the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). This act would require the department of Health and Human Services to create a strategic plan for the federal government’s role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease, form an advisory council, and coordinate research, care, institutional services, and home- and community-based programs. This will put Alzheimer’s on a similar path taken by the Government for AIDS and cancer.

As important as research is, increased awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s is of equal importance. Knowing the signs that a person is showing early signs can help make the transition easier for everyone involved. The Alzheimer’s Association notes these difference between Alzheimer’s and typical age-related changes:

Signs of Alzheimer’s Typical age-related changes 
  •  Poor judgment and decision making
  •  Making a bad decision once in a while
  •  Inability to manage a budget
  •  Missing a monthly payment
  • Losing track of the date or the season
  •  Forgetting which day it is and remembering later
  •  Difficulty having a conversation
  •  Sometimes forgetting which word to use
  •  Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them
  •   Losing things from time to time


And of course, once the symptoms appear learning to interact with an Alzheimer’s individual is paramount. But the bottom line is that love, attention to details and a caring environment goes a long way to making their journey as peaceful as possible.

As I have now climbed 6 of the 7 Summits on six different continents, I have been amazed at how widespread this disease has become. I dedicated my summit of Mt. Everest to my mom and to all the mom’s around the world with Alzheimer’s. The impact on women is startling.

One each climb, from Argentina to Russia; I have had multiple conversations with teammates, guides and local people about Alzheimer’s and the impact on their love ones. They all tell a similar story – that they did not see it coming in their loved one, the costs devastated family finances, they felt guilty and helpless to provide help.

We have now sent our message of need, hope and urgency from the top of world and the top of the continents. This week it was from the roof of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, dedicated to the dad’s with Alzheimer’s. I have been gratified with the response from our followers and the media. The donations will help fund critical research projects, caregiver support and overall education and awareness through our three nonprofit benefactors.

Through the support of the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program of Pfizer Inc. and Janssen AI on the 7 Summits Campaign all funds I have and will continue to raise go directly to three organizations I selected: the Alzheimer’s Association, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund™ and the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA).

I hope you will donate to one them today.

Please Donate for Research Today

I climb to honor my mother, the 5.3 million individuals with Alzheimer’s in the US and the over 35 million worldwide. I will continue to climb and raise money and awareness. This disease is unfair, unpredictable and needs to be stopped. And with your help, it will be.

You can read more about the 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything at

Climb On!


Memories are Everything


Comments on/from Facebook

  One Response to “World Alzheimer’s Day from Kilimanjaro”


    We should all get involved in gathering as many people and resources as possible to stop this disease from affecting so many people out there. Good luck on Kilimanjaro!