Saturday, November 7, 2009

New website on its way

This is the weekend! The website ( is being overhauled! It's been a long time coming, but nothing good ever happens quickly, or so they say.

It's been a really hard year for fundraising in Palm Beach County. The market, Madoff, and an imploded housing market has slowed The Unforgettable Fund to a crawl.

I am meeting with Scripps Florida on Friday. They have asked me to be part of their Alzheimer's presentation in January. Not only am I happy to do this, I'm ecstatic there will be an entire auditorium full of people who are in a postition to help. They will be given all that I've got, every last bit of it, to help convince them to be part of this effort.

Anyone have any thoughts on what to present? How to present? I'd love suggestions. What would make you respond? What can one say or do that would motivate another to give?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Brief Dream

I don't often dream about my father but yesterday I did. He was in a white guayabera. He simply said, "Don't be like me. Be instead of me."

I've been pondering that all day.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And here are some more. It opens with this - and nothing more.

When a viewer clicks, this appears.

And then this is what a text page will look like.

Of course, these are first thoughts. Would love to have your help in comments. Now is a really good time to go anonymous if you're afraid of hurting my feelings. As a designer, it would be really hard for me to not take criticism as anything but helpful. How can designers do that? What doesn't help us, we ignore!

Thoughts on the New Web Site

Here is a sample page of the new web site that's under construction for The Unforgettable Fund. I would love your thoughts about this look. Or look, if you'd like to share your thoughts, I would love that. Or you know what I mean.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New website on the horizon

We have a new website in the works for The Unforgettable Fund. Keep checking back...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Unforgettable Fund Thanked and Thanked Again

And even more news on the research front - Remember last year when we learned that our first intern, Marie Neant-Fery, in Dr. Malcolm Leissring's lab was first author on a distinguished Alzheimer's paper? Well, it's happened again, this time with our second intern Christelle Cabrol, who also was first author on an important paper just published in PLoSOne .

And if that isn't awesome enough, there is this second to last paragraph in Science Daily that should make everyone who donated to The Unforgettable Fund stand up and take a bow. Applause. Applause.

Apparently, we're mentioned - for the second time in a published paper - as funders of this important research. And I quote from the paper itself:

"Funding: Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AG030718 and DA024888 to MAL and AG012749 to DJS and MAL) and by a generous donation from The Unforgettable Fund (to MAL and CC). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript."

More applause! More applause! But really, the woman I would like to thank is Marcia Nappi.

Last year, Marcia Nappi donated $5,000 to The Unforgettable Fund to be used specifically for Malcolm Leissring's research. She had met Malcolm at an event being held by the Alzheimer's Association. She was so captivated by his avenue of research, his passion for the subject and his relentless drive, she wanted to in some way help his investigations into Alzheimer's disease. She did just that with her well-applied generosity.

By funding interns in Malcolm's lab at Mayo Jacksonville, The Unforgettable Fund accomplishes three things:
1) We spread knowledge at the most affordable level
2) We free up a lead investigator's time to accomplish more
3) We directly impact the amount of research being done in an Alzheimer's lab.

This summer, The Unforgettable Fund will be funding two more interns at Mayo Jacksonville - Sabrine Hedouin and Ana Vaquer-Alicea - both from the University of Paris. We have no way of guaranteeing they will publish their findings as our first two interns have, but that seems to be the high bar their predecessors have set.

If you are interested in helping with this effort, and want your donations to go directly to scientists doing Alzheimer's research, please visit The Unforgettable Fund and donate! You'll be taking a bow before you know it!

CURNA - Dr. Claes Wahlestedt's spins off lab from Scripps Florida

Here is the web site for CURNA, the spin off lab formed by Dr. Claes Wahlestedt in Jupiter, Florida. While it's not the first spin off out of Scripps Florida, it is the second. And it is the first that uses purely local talent. And what's even better, two of the lab techs are students from Palm Beach Community College.

Ten years ago, the idea of local CC students working in the field of biotech in the state of Florida was laughable. One needed to work the tourist trade - waiter, waitress, line cook - or work in agriculuture because that's what Florida did for a living. Our scientific minds went to scientific destinations - none of which were in Florida.

Not so anymore - we have Scripps Florida in Palm Beach County, Torrey Pines in Port St. Lucie, Burnham in Orlando, to name just a few. We can also add Max Planck to the Jupiter roster. The economic terrain has been transformed in the state of Florida. We have tremendous potential to massively contribute to the understanding of how to keep human beings healthy, to reshape the path of drug discovery, and to make better informed decisions about our personal healthcare, that of the nation, and of the world. Big heady talk, especially for those of us who came to Florida years ago from major metropolitan areas. Can this really be happening in Florida? Apparently, it is. In Jupiter, they are no longer stupider.

If you don't follow biotechnology and science, and the only reason I do is because my father was so sick for so long with Alzheimer's disease, these names might still sound familiar to you - they've long been the leaders in scientific research. What's new is that they've come to my home town. I marvel at Scripps Florida - my husband works at Cooks, right across the street - especially at night when the streets are quiet. It seems to be running 24 hours a day, and looks to be, literally, the flag ship of scientific discovery with a spire that reaches into the sky, poking the heavens for answers.

The Unforgettable Fund contributes to the Alzheimer's research of Dr. Claes Wahlestedt at Scripps Florida. His lab is somewhere in this building...

Eagles fly to Jupiter

On Monday, April 13, a small contingent from Ft. Lauderdale's Fraternal Order of Eagles winged its way north up I-95 to meet with The Unforgettable Fund and to tour both the Alzheimer's lab at Scripps Florida and the Curna Lab at Alexandria Innovation Center in Jupiter.

What would bring this group out of its comfortable nest in Broward all the way to Abacoa? These women want to fight Alzheimer's disease and have taken up the cause by supporting the Alzheimer's research of Dr. Claes Wahlestedt of Scripps Florida and Dr. Malcolm Leissring of Mayo Jacksonville.

Since 2008, their F.O.E Aerie 3140 has donated a total of $13,000 to The Unforgettable Fund, a 501c(3) charity founded by Patty McNally Doherty of Palm Beach Gardens after the death of her father in 2006. This charity is able to donate every penny raised into the labs of Dr. Wahlestedt and Dr. Leissring because everyone who works with The Unforgettable Fund works for free. And for this luncheon, that included the chefs at Cooks on Main Street in Abacoa.

They donated a three-course instructional luncheon, with fresh mozzarella salad, an entrée of grilled vegetables with goat cheese, seafood quesadilla, and mini portabello/sirloin burgers, followed by a chocolate paté with Apricot jam quinelles.

With a meal like this, Cooks' guests were not able to eat like birds...

F.O.E. Pig Roast II for Alzheimer's

It never fails to make me smile when I think about the Fraternal Order of Eagles and their Pig Roasts. Each year, for the past two years, they've invited The Unforgettable Fund to join them for a BBQ beyond compare - pork, baked beans, black-eyed peas, salads, desserts - a huge spread that never seems to run out. The pig is roasted right behind their Aerie in a long, slow process that produces the most tender pork you could imagine.

Long lines form inside as diners wind their way through the kitchen. Having been their guests of honor last year, we knew not to eat ahead of time and were much better prepared to dine with the best of 'em.

Dr. Claes Wahlestedt of Scripps Florida returned for year two with his wife Lisa and their two children. Dr. Malcolm Leissring of Mayo Jacksonville was under deadline applying for a stimulus grant and was afraid if he drove down from Jacksonville that he wouldn't get it finished by Monday - but he texted during the event to check in.

My mother was as amazed as ever by the outpouring of caring and concern that the members of the F.O.E have for people they don't even know and a man they never met, my father. This group is motivated by compassion for those who have no memory of them - I have trouble imagining a more noble cause than Alzheimer's. The people you help the most won't even remember you cared.

When dinner was over, Stephanie and Linda awarded The Unforgettable Fund a check for $5,000 to be used for Alzheimer's research in the labs of Dr. Malcolm Leissring and Dr. Claes Wahlestedt. We are all incredibly grateful and appreciative of the effort made each year by this great group of people and their unwavering support of this research.

And, as promised, here are a few pictures:

Stephanie, Patty and Linda with $5,000 donation.

Patty and Claes

My mother, Gertrude, saying a few words to the crowd.

The young Wahlestedts having a great time.

The Second Annual Pig Roast at the F.O.E.

I just wanted to post this quickly, I've got just a few moments. The F.O.E threw another one of their outrageous Pig Roasts on Saturday night and awarded a $5,000 check to The Unforgettable Fund. I promise to post pictures tomorrow and to explain why we hold this group so near and dear to our hearts.

I also thought it was time to update the look of the blog so I posted a picture of my family, all seven of us with my mother and father - back when we all remembered who we were and where we were headed. Boy did that ever change...

I'll be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Elsewhere

I got a phone call the other night from a distraught woman in California whose father had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. A few days later, I received a phone call from another woman whose father in Wisconsin had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease as well. Yesterday, a woman left a comment on the blog. Her father has Alzheimer's too.

I shake my head, put it down on my desk, and wonder when will we stop this disease. I pick it up and bang it gently over and over again - When. Will. We. Stop. This. Disease.

When I started blogging about Alzheimer's, I chose to follow a small selection of what I felt were well-written, sincere journals of ordinary people doing the extraordinary work of caring for their parents, most of whom all had Alzheimer’s. It is an odd feeling, three years later, I'm not sure how to describe it, to know all of their parents are now dead.

First, Mona's father died, before I started reading her blog,
Then Bert's father died in 2007,
Then Deb's mother died in April 2008
Then Mike's father died in September 2008
Then Gail Rae's mother died in December 2008
Then Mike's mother died in December 2008.

I imagine them all to be at the Elsewhere Bar, in an eternal state of good cheer, pointing us out to each other, filling in the blanks of who we really are.

Alzheimer’s has no cure, no effective treatment, and no real promise that something is right around the corner. It takes time and money – the less money, the more time - to push science forward and with funding being slimmer than ever, we can only surmise it's going to get worse before it gets better. Pessimistic? No, I am an eternal optimist. But I have been tempered by the disappointment of a reality that says there is not enough to do enough of what needs to be done. Not in time for the children of these parents, anyway.

Enough is enough. What is the DEAL with this disease?

I'll keep asking and I hope you'll keep donating to The Unforgettable Fund for Alzheimer's research.