BrightFocus hits very close to home. I think like many others, they have family members that have been touched by the disease areas that we serve. My mother died of Alzheimer's disease. I had the opportunity to buy a brick in our garden adjacent to our headquarters here in Maryland, and it makes you really think twice about what you can do for others. And so being part of the Board is part of my commitment to help my family, my friends, and people that I know that are in the same situation.
50 percent of people aged 85 and above will contract Alzheimer's disease. That's a statistic. Statistics generally aren't very important to people until they affect them personally, and this statistic affected me very personally because at age 86 my mother started almost imperceptibly having symptoms of losing her memory — memory blips — and the two of us were in complete denial, which is a common which reaction to the disease. Eventually, she started to decline and we spent the next seven years together, and I say we because Alzheimer's disease is a disease that affects the patient but it also affects the entire family — the caregivers, everyone who is around the person, and it was seven long years that we went through this together, and I as a result have a very, very great sense of urgency to find a cure for this.
Michael H. Barnett, Esq
When I was asked to get involved with the organization I had to really examine where I was as an individual, professionally and my family, and the thing that resonated to me was a saying that I heard a fellow say, which was you learn, you earn, and then you return, and I thought at this point in time having gone through school, having worked, this is a time for me to give back. It's one thing to give money, which I have donated to other organizations, but when you return, for me, it was also giving time, and that was a very important commitment to me personally, and I've been very satisfied with it, and I hope my efforts have also helped the cause for a BrightFocus.
Learn more about the leadership team at BrightFocus Foundation.