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Donor story - Pam and Bill Russell

Caregivers have an ally when facing Alzheimer's disease

Imagine being a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s disease and not knowing where to turn for help. Suppose you were told that the only option for that person is a nursing home. What if information and support were available, but you didn’t know? Pam Russell can hardly fathom these scenarios, even though she lived them.

Pam has twice been an Alzheimer’s caregiver: first for her stepfather, diagnosed in 1996, and again six years later when her mother was diagnosed. At the time, she had never heard of the Alzheimer’s Association. Her only resource was her mother’s physician, and he provided very little information.

"I didn’t realize the Alzheimer’s Association was there to help me become more informed and consider other options. And I wasn't pointed in that direction."

Pam and her husband Bill, who was lovingly by her side during both caregiving journeys, could have benefitted greatly from the Association’s information, support, staff and resources as they faced this devastating disease.

"There’s a tremendous impact on the family. You can’t predict what the person with Alzheimer’s will be like on any given day. There are highs and there are lows. In the beginning stages, when you go to visit, you never know which person will be there, which makes the family nervous and on edge," Bill said. "People need support."

"People also need education," Pam, a retired teacher, added. "They have to know what they’re facing with Alzheimer’s so they can approach it in the best way."

Years after their caregiving duties were over, Pam and Bill stumbled upon the Association online. It was an awakening experience. When sitting down to update their estate plan, they immediately considered the resources the Association offers to people affected by the disease and the great strides the organization is making possible through research. A bequest to the Association became the clear choice.

Pam and Bill believe no family should have to face Alzheimer’s disease — "a stressful and puzzling illness" — without a trusted ally to help inform, guide and support. As they continue to learn about all that the Association does to help people living with the disease and their families, it makes gift giving so much more compelling.

Estate gifts help ensure that the Association’s work will continue for years to come. Pam and Bill’s generous gift will be left in the Association’s capable hands to support Alzheimer's Association strategic priorities locally, nationally and internationally.

"The Alzheimer’s Association has had a large impact on both of us. We are confident that the Association will be able to make good use of our gift. Not just in assisting people who are affected by the disease today, but also helping to support research that could contribute to the eventual cure," Bill said.

Pam and Bill believe in the power of their bequest to positively impact the future of Alzheimer’s disease and the many lives it affects. They are confident that the Alzheimer’s Association will be the organization to lead a change in the trajectory of this disease, and they are proud that their gift will help make it possible.


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Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.