LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Maria Shriver is on a mission to educate women about Alzheimer’s disease and talked to CBS2’s Pat Harvey about her movement to do just that in a one-on-one interview.
“When my dad was diagnosed, I had never heard of Alzheimer’s. I’d heard that Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer’s, but that was about it,” she told Harvey.READ MORE: WATCH: A Sneak Peek Of The Highly-Anticipated Academy Museum
Shriver’s father, Robert “Sargent” Shriver, known for serving in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and spearheading numerous projects like the Peace Corps, was diagnosed with the disease in 2003.
“I had small children. My dad was diagnosed. My mother started having strokes breaking her hips and I was trying to be first lady,” she recalled. “There was a lot on my plate.”
Over the years, California’s former first lady would learn from her personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease, writing a children’s book about the subject, producing documentaries, and executive producing the new film, “Still Alice.”
Actress Julianne Moore recently received an Academy Award for her role as Alice, a 49-year-old college professor dealing with the diagnosis.
Although many associate the disease to the elderly, “Still Alice” showed audiences that’s not always the case.READ MORE: Driver Killed, 5 Injured In El Monte Shooting, Crash
“That’s the beauty of ‘Still Alice.’ All of a sudden people said, ‘Wait a minute. This can happen to a woman in her 50s. This could happen to a woman in the prime of her career. This could happen to a woman in her 60s. Wait a minute. I need to re-educate myself. I need to understand what this disease is,’ ” Shriver said.
As Harvey reports, statistics indicate women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer.
“Correct. In your early 60s and so that should really like wake people up,” she said.
Today, Shriver is launching a new campaign called the Wipe Out Alzheimer’s Challenge in an effort to motivate women of all ages to get engaged, educated, and empowered.
“I think the Alzheimer’s Association establishing this fund to research women’s brains for the very first time is really exciting,” she said. “Let’s build a movement. Let’s encourage women to build their own brain trusts of friends that they can turn to and say, ‘I’m in a caregiving situation.’ ‘I think my mom or dad might have Alzheimer’s.’ ‘I, myself, can’t remember. Help me.’ ”
Shriver herself encourages anyone suffering from symptoms to see a doctor.MORE NEWS: George Holliday, Man Who Videotaped Rodney King Beating, Dies Of COVID