On June 21st, 2017, MMS colleagues worldwide showed their support for The Longest Day, part of the June Alzheimer’s & Brain Health Awareness Month. Colleagues wore purple to work to recognize those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to wearing purple for this great cause, MMS colleagues are lucky enough to have other ways to contribute to bringing new Alzheimer’s treatments to the market. We have supported over 100 projects that study new therapies and treatments for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and dementia-related cognition (including support of an NDA in this indication). MMS has significant organizational expertise in this area, and has provided a broad range of functional support including medical and regulatory consulting, medical writing, pharmacovigilance, programming, and biostatistics support. “I am proud that Alzheimer’s disease is one of MMS’ core areas of expertise. This disease impacts so many lives, from the patients who suffer to the caregivers who sacrifice so much to care for their loved ones,” said Uma Sharma, Chief Scientific Officer of MMS. “I am proud to wear purple today!”
Alzheimer’s continues to bring pain and suffering, often long after their loved ones have passed away. Kathy Laughlin, an MMS Principal Medical Writer, shares her family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, “I had two loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s disease: my Dad, who had it; and my Mom, who was his primary caregiver. As my Dad got worse, he forgot that my Mom was his wife. He would ask her to please contact his wife and let her know that he was ready to come home. He was not in a facility but living in the same house they had shared for 60 years. To this day, years after his death, this is a very painful and significant memory for my Mom. Intellectually, we knew this was not his fault, but emotionally she felt like all her care and caring was being wasted.”
Samantha Foksa, an MMS Associate Manager, Human Resources & Administration, talks about the impact Alzheimer’s is currently having on her family, “My Grandma Barbara (Barbara Ann, as we call her) has Alzheimer’s and in the last year or so it has gotten worse. At first, she did not remember recent details, but then she started blaming her caretaker for missing things from her house, that she had just moved and forgotten about (like a magnet from the fridge, for example). I am the first grandchild and she is also my Godmother, so seeing her go through this has been hard. She is constantly asking my Papa “What do I do next?” and it’s really sad to see. She has recently been eating a healthier diet and doing exercises and brain games, and that has been helping to slow down the progression. I hope one day there can be a cure so people do not have to watch their loved ones go through this.”
Blair Kozuch, a Quality Assurance & Training Specialist at MMS, had a grandfather who suffered from a form of dementia. “Our family lost my Grandpa to Lewy body dementia complications in
July of 2016, which is a type of dementia associated with Parkinson’s. He had only been diagnosed for three years, but experienced a rapid decline in health during the last six months of his life. We were fortunate enough to keep my Grandpa at home. My mother, my aunt and I took turns spending the night or day with him, and assisting my Grandma with every aspect of his care. This gave her the opportunity to catch a breath and regain some semblance of sanity.”
Blair is passionate about supporting a cure for brain health disorders, and shared the following insights about caring for her Grandfather, “Taking on the responsibility of care-giving for someone with cognitive impairment is life-altering, draining, frustrating, and exhausting. There is also an obvious emotional overlay of guilt and grieving for a loved one who is gone, yet still with you. For my Grandpa, living with the disease was totally isolating and scary. Because of the lack of medicines or treatments on the market, all we had to give him was kindness, patience, and love. My advice for caregivers is to provide those with the disease some familiarity and activity so they can live their life to the best of their ability.”
MMS is proud to support The Longest Day, and to strive for new advances and treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease. We hope to one day see an END to ALZ.