The Judy Fund honors the woman (and women) whose lives shape ours
May 2016
The Judy Fund
Dear Family and Friends,

Mother's Day is the time when we honor those mothers who are with us and remember those mothers who are not.

Judy This year marks a dozen Mother's Days without my mom, Judy. Being one of many daughters (and sons) who cannot call their mother to say "I love you" on Mother's Day, this occasion can be bittersweet.

But every time I see blue forget-me-nots blooming, and every time someone generously supports The Judy Fund, we tell the whole world how we feel about our moms – and about this disease that took my mother Judy and so many other strong women from us far too soon.

My father began The Judy Fund even as my mother was saying goodbye to all of us. His vision was clear: Raise one million dollars from colleagues and friends in Judy's name. And he did just that: Within four months, my father engaged a core group of very generous donors, all of whom still give generously. Thank you!

Today, you continue to make a tremendous impact in the fight against Alzheimer's. Together, we honor my mother and protect future generations of our family – as well as other families – from this devastating disease.

Rina and Judy: Friends and in-laws, by design
My mother and Rina Eliashar had a special relationship, first as friends and later as in-laws. It started in 1974. I was having a swim party, and my mother suggested inviting "that nice Hurwitz girl" to meet a nice Gelfand boy – my brother, Todd. Thirty minutes later, Doreen arrived at the Gelfand front door with swimsuit in hand. Judy and Rina exchanged promising glances, and 40 years later, Doreen and Todd Gelfand celebrated the arrival of their first grandchild. Every Mother's Day, I celebrate my sister-in-law Doreen as one of the important women in my life. And I remember the email Rina sent her children just before Mother's Day 2014, instructing them not to buy her anything but instead to donate to The Judy Fund. That email touches my heart to this day.

Rina and family
Rina Eliashar with her children in 2008.
Back: Dan Hurwitz. Front left to right: Tamar Hurwitz, Rina Eliashar, Sharón Eliashar and Doreen Gelfand.

Ehud Eliashar
Rina Eliashar lost her sister-in-law, Toni, to Alzheimer's in March 2016. In April, Toni's son dedicated his fundraising for the London Marathon to honor his mother and to fight the disease.
With each passing year, another person in our family or circle of dear friends loses a mother or another loved one to Alzheimer's. This year, it was Rina and Doreen's family, when Rina's sister-in-law, Toni, lost her battle with Alzheimer's.

Rina's nephew, Ehud Eliashar, ran the London Marathon in April, just one month after his mother passed away. Having dedicated his race to raise a very large sum for Alzheimer's Research UK, the poignancy of his tribute to his mother grows even more. Weeks before the race, Ehud told a London newspaper, "My mum doesn't recognize me anymore, though she does know my name." The recent passing of Toni, Rina's sister-in-law, magnifies the importance of Ehud's commitment and all of our commitments to fight Alzheimer's with all our hearts. And this Mother's Day, our hearts go out to you and your family, Ehud.

Illuminating gender differences in Alzheimer's and dementia
Though longevity and lower death rates can explain in part why women are at a higher risk than men to develop Alzheimer's disease, many fundamental questions remain. Studying gender differences in Alzheimer's — biological, genetic, epidemiological and social (in regards to health economics and care and support research) — could shine a light on why women are at higher risk and catalyze important discoveries about the disease process for men and women alike. To unravel the mysteries of Alzheimer's disease in women, the Alzheimer's Association has launched the Women's Alzheimer's Research Initiative (WARI).

Sigma Kappa
The women of Sigma Kappa Sorority were among the first donor group to help build the Women's Research Initiative at the Alzheimer's Association to determine why women are at a greater risk for Alzheimer's. Now, The Judy Fund will join them in this groundbreaking research.
Women's Alzheimer's Research Initiative (WARI)

Fundraising goal = $5 million

Investment opportunities encouraged at $100,000+

The Judy Fund has made a $100,000 annual commitment to this important initiative. Please join us!

Double your impact this Mother's Day
Mother's Day is a great time to join us again by donating to turn your interest in Alzheimer's disease into action. Between now and June 30, your gift to The Judy Fund can go twice as far to advance research and support efforts such as the Women's Alzheimer's Research Initiative, which illuminates gender differences in Alzheimer's and dementia. For every dollar donated to The Judy Fund by June 30, 2016, the Gelfand family will match up to $100,000 with a gift to the Alzheimer's Association. Please visit to make a gift by June 30, 2016.

On this Mother's Day, we continue to think about and appreciate all the moms taken from us by this disease, and we look forward with determination to our shared vision of a world without Alzheimer's.

Happy Mother's Day to all. Let's make this day, and every day, count!

Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns
Chair, The Judy Fund

Leeza and Mom
"My mother loved the more leisurely pace of the summer. 'Why are you in such a hurry darlin?' she'd say to me. It's interesting to me how the little things are so comforting. Every time I have an iced tea, I think of her. When I hear the song 'Que Sera,' I think of her... these days, my mother's spirit is found in almost all the moments that define who I am. I am my mother's daughter, the keeper of her legacy; the eternal flame of her perpetual hope, the truth that guided her towards grace."
Leeza Gibbons, who lost her mother and grandmother to Alzheimer's
Leeza and Mom
"My mother, Judy Gelfand, could not be defined. She was equally as interested in raising money to build hospitals and synagogues as she was in joining me at a Grateful Dead concert. I loved that about her. She could not be put in a box. She was limitless. As the youngest child in our family, I had a special relationship with my mother. Growing up educationally challenged, let's just say my childhood was an adventure for everyone involved. But Mom never let it get us down. She believed in me and taught me about The Little Engine That Could — that anything in this life is possible you just have to dream it and make it happen."
Dean Gelfand, on our mother, Judy
Susan and Mom
"That first year after her diagnosis was a magical time to me. I knew we had a window of time to enjoy each other... and I tried to make the most of it before it was too late. My mother and I had never really had a very good relationship before then. But when she got sick she was so grateful to me for helping her, and I soaked it all up while I could."
Susan Disney Lord, on her mother, Patricia Ann Disney
Pat had a heart of gold, and when you see someone like that affected by this disease, you want to make an impact.
Tom Belin, on Pat Thompson, the mother of his lifelong friend Paul Thompson

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's disease®.

Alzheimer's Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601
© 2015 Alzheimer's Association. All rights reserved.
800.272.3900 | | Donate

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