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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Mar 112012
Tower Bridge in London

What an exciting week! I summited the highest peak in Scotland, ask the UK’s Ben Nevis on Monday and spoke at the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) annual conference in London on Thursday with a corporate speaking event in between.  But more than that, I met some incredible people, shared some thoughts and learned even more about the world of climbing and Alzheimer’s.

Alan on the eastern traverse on Ben Nevis

Alan on the eastern traverse on Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis Climb

I have just posted a complete trip report along with an FAQ on my climb. It was everything I expected and more. It was just as beautiful as advertised, more difficult than anticipated and thankfully, the Scottish weather gave me the day they had in months to make the technical climb.

ADI Conference

Thanks to my friends at the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program of Janssen AI and Pfizer, I was given the opportunity to present my 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s as a case study in advocacy work. I was humbled by the generous reaction of my large audience at the conclusion.

I also was honored to listen to presentations from many country representatives of their work to educate their public and raise awareness on Alzheimer’s. This included India, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland. There is some wonderful work going on in all these places. And their crisis is identical to what we see in the US – from stigmas, to education, finance, caregiver support and the need for research.

Alan presenting at the ADI Conference in London

Alan presenting at the ADI Conference in London

But the standout had to be the work by the Scottish team. A small group of individuals – all with various stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s gave a very moving representation on what I will call “life after “. They call themselves the Scottish Dementia Working Group and inspired everyone with their can-do attitude and energy to continue to live life and never give up.

One of the lesson I took away from the conference was the importance of public policy in addressing the massive problem of Alzheimer’s. Many speakers gave presentations on how to work with government representatives to educate them and on how to influence public policy and funding. There are many successful case studies around the world.

Finally , one promising comment was the prospective involvement of the World Health Organization in increasing the priority of work around Alzheimer’s.

At this juncture in my work, I am full of hope and optimism. I will continue to tell my story and use my climbing to further education, raise awareness and ask for donations on behalf of my non-profit partners.

I want to leave you with this touching video from Scotland’s Tommy Whitelaw. It is well worth the 3 minutes to watch:

Thanks for following and as always

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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  4 Responses to “A Week in the UK: Ben Nevis and ADI”


    Sitting here with tears in my eyes, how very moving that video was, what heartbreak for so many. I am here not because I actually know personally of anyone with Alzheimer’s but through the climbing links and wonderful shared information on this site. But I won’t and can’t forget why you do what you do Alan… God Bless …Heather (A Scottish Lass)


    Alan – very good update on your trip to Scotland. Just got done watching the video and it’s very powerful. I feel for the Tommy’s of the world and for all the carers that have to go through this painful process. All the best…climb on!


    Perhaps the most moving & emotional information on the real impact of Alzheimer’s & dementia I have seen & yet it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the horrible indignities our loved ones & caregivers experience on a daily basis. Thank you for keeping the mission going. Thanks for having our backs!
    With much love & gratitude,


    Congratulations- sounds like a successful mission. Question: Do we have anything similar to the Scottish group here in the USA? I don’t think I’ve heard of anything quite like it. All the best.