The greatest news I heard all week (and believe me, we all need good news these days) came from none other than the world’s most fortunate philanthropist, Bill Gates. I’ve always admired Mr. Gates for his ability to be on the cutting edge of technology and for his tenacity in the business world, but my favorite thing about Bill Gates is how he always remains grounded. Beneath all the money and the fame and the prestige, the guy is a common man through and through. He fights for the little guy. He knows how to give back.
Such was the case early this week, when Mr. Gates announced he’ll invest $50 million to help fund research to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
In case you haven’t been keeping tally, there are roughly 47 million people currently suffering from dementia-related illnesses. And yet, this worldwide epidemic barely makes on blip on national news broadcasts. Mr. Gates changed all of that simply by releasing his statement. With his investment, however, he will help to reverse the staggering outlook of this debilitating disease in the very near future.
“It’s a terrible disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones,” Mr. Gates wrote on his blog earlier this week. “This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer’s. I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it. It feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew. My family history isn’t the sole reason behind my interest in Alzheimer’s. But my personal experience has exposed me to how hopeless it feels when you or a loved one gets the disease.”
So, how do I come into this? Well, my debut novel, NO SAD SONGS, will be released in February of 2018 from Fish Out of Water Books. When I set out to write the book, my goal was to create a story that would help young adults make visceral connections to the hardships faced by the millions and millions of caregivers, who somehow find a way to juggle careers and children and economics all while watching their loved ones struggle to retain their identities against the rising tide of a debilitating disease. It is my hope that, like Mr. Gates, my novel will raise awareness about this public crisis and allow the next generation to begin formulating better strategies to cope with it (and hopefully end it) as they move into adulthood. Please help me to spread the word about NO SAD SONGS so that we can raise awareness and stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks.
And, Mr. Gates, I thank you on behalf of everyone who’s ever lost a loved one to the disease.
NO SAD SONGS is available for pre-order at Amazon and other retailers.