WASHINGTON, DC, June 15, 2017— Greg O’Brien, an award-winning writer and investigative journalist who through his book On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s gives a first-person, embedded account of his dealing with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, was officially announced as a new member of the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) Network Board of Directors.
O’Brien, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, brings to UsAgainstAlzheimer’s a passionate voice for the advancement of innovative Alzheimer’s therapies and improved support of family caregivers. O’Brien lost his maternal grandfather, his mother, paternal uncle and father to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. His perspectives, shaped by these first-hand experiences with Alzheimer’s, will be an asset in UsAgainstAlzheimer’s pursuit of its goal to end the disease by 2020.
“We are humbled to be fighting this disease alongside someone who lives through it every day,” said George Vradenburg, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Co-Founder and Chairman. “Greg embodies the spirit of the Alzheimer’s movement and emboldens our work to hasten a cure for this disease that is disrupting families, like his, from living long thriving lives.”
Upon awarding O’Brien the 2016 Bea Lerner Valor Award, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Co-Founder Trish Vradenburg said, “Greg is eloquent, insightful, spiritual, humorous and visionary. He is the Poet Laureate of Alzheimer’s. Greg has become part of our organization and our family. He is a hero.”
This month during Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, O’Brien will be the focus of multiple NPR All Things Considered stories. The first piece, airing this weekend in observance of Father’s Day, addresses his experience as a grandfather. The second story, airing on 6/24 or 6/25, will feature insights on functional, non-memory related effects of Alzheimer’s disease. All Things Considered airs from 5-6 pm ET on Saturday and Sunday. Audio will be posted online following the program at 7 pm ET.
“Alzheimer’s is personal for me, as it is with all those in the fight. I know the front-line well. I am honored to serve on the board of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s,” O’Brien said. “Co-founders George Vradenburg and his late wife Trish have become family to me, and family to my family. It takes an extended family of supporters to fight Alzheimer’s. I see myself as a narrator in this journey, hoping to open a window for others, and in the process, helping to find a cure so collectively our children and grandchildren can be spared from this demon, prowling like Abaddon.”
O’Brien, who is preparing the release of the second edition of his book On Pluto, has written for numerous media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, The Washington Post, Time, Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, The USA Today, Associated Press, Boston Herald, Providence Journal, Arizona Republic, New York Metro, Boston Metro, Philadelphia Metro and others.
On Pluto has won the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award for Medicine, the 2015 International Book Award for Health and was an Eric Hoffer International Book Award finalist, as well as a finalist for USA Best Book Awards. PBS/NOVA, National Public Radio (NPR) and other national and regional media have chronicled the Pluto journey.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) is an innovative non-profit organization demanding – and delivering – a solution to Alzheimer’s. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments.
Founded in 2010, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s has worked across sectors to: (1) secure the national goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 and help secure nearly $500 million in additional public funding for Alzheimer’s research over the past few years; (2) drive global efforts that resulted in the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, the G7 group, to embrace a similar 2025 goal and to call for greater levels of research investment and collaboration; and (3) forge industry commitments to improve efficiencies for an expedited drug discovery and approval process.
Contact: Tim Tassa