Dispatches from Alan Arnette at Everest base camp on his 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s

Posted April 15, 2011

Alan Arnette, a long time Alzheimer’s Advocate and friend of The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, is at base camp and is finalizing his training and preparing to summit Mt. Everest. This will be the third climb of his 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything campaign where he is raising awareness and $1M for Alzheimer’s research. He took a few minutes to share his thoughts on Alzheimer’s research. Climb on Alan.


Dispatches from Everst Base Camp

Sometimes as I am on a difficult climb, I think about Alzheimer’s research. OK, I know this is not what you were expecting me to say. But hang in there for a moment.

Climbing mountains requires vision, training and perseverance. At times, a single mindedness to accomplish what you set forth. As I am fond of saying, there are a thousand reasons to quit and only one to continue on the high slopes of Everest.

Trained as an Electrical Engineer but with a career in technology management, I have never been an Alzheimer’s researcher. I have, however, seen Engineers work a problem so diligently that the only word I can use to describe them is dedication. And in the end they solved the problem.

Alzheimer’s is such a problem. And the researchers are the solution.

Similar to so many, I learned about Alzheimer’s after it was too late. Along with my family, I watched my mom go through the tragic journey. I felt helpless knowing there was no cure, no way to comfort her. All I had was a smile, a gentle hug and endless love.

What scares me more than an avalanche on a mountain is the fact that every 70 seconds another family starts that same tragic journey. We cannot stop an avalanche but we can do something for future Alzheimer’s families.

My heart goes out to the family caregivers – they are the silent victims of this disease. They make sacrifices that pass often unnoticed. Their endless supply of love and compassion are tested often but pass with a silent appreciation by their loved one.

Standing on the high slopes, I think about Alzheimer’s research. What they are doing day in, day out – in the lab, working on trails, evaluating results. What they do often goes unnoticed, sometimes unappreciated – a quiet battle in a long war.

Research is the key. We must find the why’s; the key’s to unlock this mystery. And every step is a victory. Every conclusion whether it affirms the belief of disproves the theory is meaningful. This is what they do.

What we must do is to support them.

Climb On!