Just Keep Chopping: The Search for a Cure

One thing I love most about long summer days is their slowness; the ease with which the minute hand creeps around the clock is luxurious. Cookouts are a common theme in my family in the summertime. Specifically, gathering around a table to chop up vegetables and mix together cauldrons of pasta salad, potato salad, and the like to complement the mouth-watering grilled delicacies (aka hamburgers and hot dogs) that we'll be sure to be consuming out by the pool on a long weekend day.

The dog days of summer

Coming together in the dog days of summer, I think, is a beautiful representation of the togetherness and community that you share with those around you. Bringing Poppop to a barbecue means that there are a dozen people to keep their eyes on him rather than just one. I like to call this zone defense. If he's in your zone, he's yours to take care of. Populated with family, friends, and various loved ones, a good summer barbecue can leave you feeling content, loved, and exhausted. Taking this love and light into the week is something I strive for; sometimes, it's similar to finding a silver lining on a cloudy day. But that glimmer of sunshine is worth holding on to. Let me show you how.

Promising developments

Recently I received an email from a former colleague. Its subject was simple, "I know this is important to you." What she forwarded was a press release indicating the grant award to a company I have interacted with to perform cognitive screenings at pharmacies nationwide — the target of those screenings: cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's.1

I was supremely struck by the collaboration, the capital, and the scale of this announcement. In a world where Alzheimer's has no cure, we're fighting with the only hope that we've got: Attacking it early, preserving brain function for as long as possible, and keeping the plaque at bay by sheer force of will. I find hope here.

Unpromising developments

As I read through the headlines related to Alzheimer's, it's a doom scroll through sad tales, failed drug trials, lack of funding, and numerous other obstacles to getting care to the community we are all a part of. Similarly to how I approach the world news at large, I focus on the good, the silver linings, those tidbits, and a few lines of text that could show that we're getting closer. Failed drug trial: cross that off the list of ways to fight Alzheimer's, and we're one step closer. Lack of funding: they can test the metal of this community all they want, but man-made problems will never scale up to the level of Alzheimer's, and each and every one of us fight it every day — bring it on.

Community rules

My grandmother taught me how to do a lot of cooking, and in her later years, I would head to her house to do the chopping for those aforementioned salads for her. The funny thing is I never knew how much I was chopping, I would just go to town, and she'd tell me when to stop. When I asked, she said she'd know when I was done!

Well, friends, we may not know when this crazy Alzheimer's journey will end, but eventually, we'll have a loving presence tell us that it's OK to stop, that it's time to bask in the sunshine of a sweet summer day, the job is done. Until then, keep chopping warriors!

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