I was blind sided yesterday when I got an email from one of our team members posting information on an event hosted by University of Pennsylvania. It was one in which Governor Tom Corbett was signing an executive order to circumvent the state legislature and put in place a state appointed panel on Alzheimer’s disease. We are learning more and more about the disease itself and research has been fierce (or as fierce as it can be). I have friends that are in the labs plugging away at isolating proteins or amyloid plaque treatments. I am currently on the other side looking at care and how we can improve conditions for an Alzheimer’s patient.
Not too long ago, my grandmother passed away after a 10+ year battle with the disease. She fought until the end and while it was painful to watch as a grandson, it must have been even harder to watch as her daughters and one son. While we all deal with things a different way, I chose to deal with this in the best way I knew how: to become a researcher in the public health arena. I am truly blessed to have found a position with the University of Pennsylvania as a researcher on Alzheimer’s disease. There are many different diseases (chronic and acute) that deserve attention but Alzheimer’s is one that is still without a cure. That is why yesterday’s event had more of an impact on me than I first realized. When the Governor signed that piece of legislation, it was a momentous occasion for everyone in that room. It means that the state is now recognizing its aging population and doing something about it. If nothing else, it is a step forward in the treatment and care for Alzheimer’s patients.
May Katherine Chepenuk rest in peace and may we one day in the near future find a cure for this truly devastating disease.