Your Brain Matters

By Lynda Millner   |   November 23, 2017
Alzheimer’s Luncheon co-chairs Katina Etsell and Gerd Jordano on either side of CEO Rhonda Spiegel and Patti Davis

The Alzheimer’s Women’s Initiative (AWI) Committee gave its fourth annual “Your Brain Matters’ Luncheon” at The Fess Parker. This was obviously on people’s minds (pun intended), since there was a crowd of 500 attending and looking forward to the speakers and some Alzheimer’s education.

Co-chairs were Katina Etsell and Gerd Jordano, who was also a co-founder along with Anne Towbes. The mission of AWI is to educate families, associates, and neighbors on the economic and human impact of Alzheimer’s; honor those who selflessly provide care for people affected by Alzheimer’s; expand the resources available to more than 40,000 families locally who are living with Alzheimer’s each and every day and advocate for more federal research dollars to find a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Katina welcomed all and thanked Lady Leslie RidleyTree for being the honorary chair. Katina introduced Rhonda Spiegle, who is CEO of AWI. She said, “Alzheimer’s will be the healthcare crisis of the century.” Nearly two-thirds of the Americans living with the disease are women. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s is one in six – for breast cancer, it is one in 11.

Gerd presented the special Caregiver Award, a crystal Tiffany star, to Kim Campbell who is Glen Campbell’s widow. As Kim has said, “I have been grieving and saying goodbye to Glen every day for the last six years, ever since his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, not knowing which day he might forget me or which day might be his last.” He died August 8.

Dana Newquist with Rona Barrett, founder and CEO of the Golden Inn and Village, at the Alzheimer’s luncheon
Patti David and Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree

Roberta Briton, Ph.D., is the inaugural director for the Center for Innovation in Brain Science. She is the leading neuroscientist in the field of Alzheimer’s disease, the aging female brain and regenerative therapeutics. Her insights are leading the programs for research, including investigating the regenerative mechanisms of the brain.

Chris Hannafan was diagnosed at age 61 and told what it’s like to live with the disease. His partner, Debbie, was there with him.

Leslie introduced president Ronald Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, who wrote The Long Goodbye referring to her father, who died of Alzheimer’s after 10 years in 2004. She started Beyond Alzheimer’s in 2011, which is a support group for caregivers and family members whose loved ones have the disease. She facilitated the program herself and is now trying to get it into more hospitals other than Saint John’s in Santa Monica.

The luncheon ended with Lady Lesley donating $10,000 to the cause, matched by Maryann Schall. If you’d like to donate, call Mitchel Sloan at (805) 892-4259, x102.


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