Dena Oberfeld's struggle with Alzheimer's disease inspired her husband, Ted, and their children, Felice and Harley, to organize and run a campaign aimed at raising awareness as well as much needed funds for Alzheimer's disease research, prevention and support. The family established the Oberfeld Family Campaign Fund for Alzheimer in the spring of 2012 and then embarked on a 9-month crusade, sensitizing relatives, friends, business associates and others about this devastating disease and the need to act now.
“Watching Dena's illness progress is almost unbearable," says Ted. “Unlike cancer, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, no treatment to stop or delay its progression, no remission and no hope for now. No one knows what causes it, or how it can be avoided or prevented. We want to change that, for Dena and for everyone whose life is or will be impacted by this debilitating disease." “We also want to create awareness that Alzheimer's is not only a disease of the elderly, as is still commonly believed," adds Felice. “A growing number of people in their 40's and 50's are also being affected and it can take as long as 20 years before symptoms appear." “It is a worldwide emergency," concurs Harley. “Not enough is being done to help researchers understand the disease or to improve access to treatment and support services, even as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are on track to reach epidemic proportions. We have to do something now, while there is still time."
In all, the Oberfeld campaign has raised over $525,000, including a generous lead gift of $100,000 from the family itself, providing essential support to the widely-acclaimed JGH Program for Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. The Oberfeld Family Campaign Fund for Alzheimer supports equally three areas of the program: the groundbreaking basic research conducted by neuroscientist Dr. Andréa LeBlanc towards finding the root causes of Alzheimer's; the new Alzheimer Risk Assessment Clinic, headed by neurologist Dr. Hyman Schipper, which is conducting fundamental and translational research to identify modifiable risk factors and investigate preventive strategies to stem the growing epidemic of Alzheimer's; and the Anna & Louis Goldfarb JGH/McGill Memory Clinic headed by Dr. Howard Chertkow, which is the largest of its kind in Canada and provides internationally recognized expertise in the early diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders and dementia.