This was a year for Neurological Awareness at the Oscars!
Our documentary, Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me, allowed people a glimpse at the “real deal!” We were the ultimate reality show, holding nothing back, in hopes of de-stigmatizing the disease, encouraging caregivers, and speeding up research to find a cure.
Then there was Still Alice, the tale of an Ivy League linguistics professor and her family struggling with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
And add to that, The Theory of Everything, the story of Stephen Hawking that shed light on the motor neuron disease known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
If only the NIH would allocate more funds toward researching neurological disorders. As it stands now, each year approximately 6 billion research dollars go to heart disease, 5 billion to cancer, 3 billion to AIDS and only 500 million to all of the neurological disorders combined.
But I digress…..back to the Oscars!
While we were waiting for the show to begin, Ashley and I were delighted to meet the author of Still Alice, Lisa Genova. Still Alice was one of the first books I read about Alzheimer’s and I had been anxiously awaiting the release of the film. I never dreamed I’d be meeting Lisa for the first time at the Oscars with both of our films honored with Oscar nominations. Julianne Moore, who starred in Still Alice, was nominated for best actress. She won, of course, and she certainly deserved it! Her portrayal brought me to tears several times throughout the film.
Lisa, who has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University, is as beautiful and gracious as she is brilliant and talented. Her book informed us about early-onset Alzheimer’s and the devastating effect it has on families.
One of the intriguing stories behind the making of Still Alice is that one of the screenwriters and directors of the film, Richard Glatzer, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, just months before beginning the project. We learned that night that Mr. Glatzer was unable to attend the awards because he had been admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory problems. Our hearts and prayers are with them!