Max Needham left Savannah, Ga. on Nov. 1, 2015 and biked for 55 days across America, arriving in San Diego on the day after Christmas. “There were so many times where I was absolutely at the end of my physical and mental rope, and I pushed past it,” said Max. “A journey like that puts a lot of things in perspective.” But it still can’t compare to pain of watching his grandmother suffer from Alzheimer’s disease when he was a child. He chose to raise money for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund because, “they fund novel programs/concepts in Alzheimer’s research that might not otherwise get off the ground.” With a degree in biology from Washington University in St. Louis, Max is hoping to attend medical school next fall. He raised more than $2,000 for research.
Hello! As you are reading this, I am out somewhere in the middle of America’s great nowhere, either sweating profusely and wishing I had brought less stuff, or shivering and wishing the opposite. Or who knows, maybe I’m having a great time and a helluvan adventure.
Humbly, I am out there somewhere, trying to bike across America.
After a lot of thought, I decided that I want this ride to benefit the individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. For me personally, I remember watching my grandmother struggle with dementia (the most recognizable symptom of Alzheimer’s) when I was a child, and have never forgotten the feeling of losing someone while they were still living. However, as a student of science and a future physician, the current research convinces me that this, right now, is the age in which we will cure this disease.
For a little more information, check out these two ted talks, which include some relevant statistics and history:
^^^(by the way, while he is correct in that there is no current effective therapy for Alzheimer’s, although a number of promising studies exist, I disagree with his claim that so little has been accomplished– our understanding of the disease, whether or not we can cure it currently, has expanded by leaps and bounds in the past few decades)
The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is unique in that the full amount of all donations go directly to targeted research, with the specific intention of providing funding to new projects with innovative ways of thinking about and addressing the disease. They are responsible for the Alzheimer’s Genome Project, at the time (completed 2008) the largest genetic disease scan in medical history, and an ongoing project evaluating the role of the genes identified in the disease’s progression. All administrative costs are underwritten by the founders of the organization, meaning that literally all donations fund research.
Please, donate any amount you feel you can spare. It is enough, it is appreciated, and it will help.
Finally, while I do not personally have the resources to do this now, on my word I will match the total amount donated during my time as a resident physician.
Thank you for reading, thank you for your support, and thank you, if you so choose, for donating.
PS: You are an educated consumer in everything you do, and you should be. I encourage you to read about the disease, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, and if you are really ambitious, about current research. It is, in all honesty, inspiring.