UsAgainstAlzheimer’s was founded in 2010 by George and Trish Vradenburg.
They had watched Trish’s mother, Bea Lerner, succumb to Alzheimer’s disease, and 25 years after her diagnosis they were frustrated that nothing had changed. The Vradenburgs were joined by several others who had also experienced the pain of Alzheimer’s disease: Meryl Comer, John Dwyer, Jill Lesser, and Shawn Taylor. The founders of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s each know personally the devastation of this disease and each bring an urgency and passion to the cause.
George and Trish Vradenburg: Trish often talked about her mother being larger than life. She thought nothing could defeat her mom--until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Trish recalled watching helplessly as her mom’s mind, her dignity, her soul, and finally her body succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease. So Trish, a Hollywood writer, took that experience and wrote a play. Surviving Grace has been produced at the Kennedy Center, Union Square Theater in New York City, and other theaters around the world.
But Trish and George knew that they had to do more than just raise awareness; they wanted to make sure that other families didn’t have to deal with this devastation, so they founded UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. As Trish said to members of Congress, "we will go away when Alzheimer's goes away." Sadly, Trish Vradenburg passed away suddenly in 2017 of a heart attack, but her spirit and passion continue to inspire our work.
George is a lawyer by education, training, and profession with a career that included senior positions at CBS (as General Counsel), FOX (as Executive Vice President) and AOL/Time Warner (as Executive Vice President for Global and Strategic Policy) before "retiring" in 2003. As Trish would often say, the only thing he has failed at is retirement. He co-founded UsAgainstAlzheimer’s out of his love for Trish and to honor his mother-in-law and is committed to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s by 2020 so that his children and grandchildren don’t have to fear Alzheimer’s disease.
Meryl Comer: Meryl has spent over 20 years as an Alzheimer's caregiver, first for her husband, a physician and researcher who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease at 58. Now she also cares for her mother in her home. Meryl has decided to flip the pain of this experience and turn it into action. She feels compelled to speak out for those with Alzheimer’s who no longer have a voice and for caregivers who are worn out. Meryl leads our A-list initiative to ensure that patient and caregiver voices inform the research.