Wellesley Hairdresser Raising Awareness, Money for Alzheimer’s Research

Posted: Oct. 11, 2011

Boston October Symposium To Educate Public on Alzheimer’s Disease

Wellesley, Mass.--Local hairdresser and salon owner Barbara Canty knows the toll that Alzheimer’s Disease can take on a family. Five years ago, Canty’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and her experience caring for him has made her realize the importance of searching for a cure.

“I began to worry about my father when, at age 73, he could not remember what a credit card was,” said Canty. Five years later, the disconnect between her and her father became so great that she felt she had to say goodbye to him, even though he is still alive.

Like many families struggling with the hurdles of Alzheimer’s disease, Canty’s brothers and sisters stepped in to care for their father. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Canty’s father spent the first two years living a relatively normal life with the help of his children. It was only three years ago that Canty’s family made the difficult decision to move him to an assisted living facility. Canty now talks openly at her hair salon about her experience.

“Education and funding are key to finding a cure,” she said.

In Boston on Oct. 18, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to help finding a cure for the disease, will host a free symposium titled “Taking Control of Alzheimer’s Through Research” featuring a panel of Alzheimer’s experts.  Moderated by Bob Bazell of NBC News, the symposium will highlight recent breakthroughs and outline the plans for future funding and research.  

As part of her personal goal to help raise money for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, Barbara has been selling copies of  “On,” an inspirational book by Dr. Lew Losoncy.

“We don’t have Alzheimer’s or other diseases, so we have the choice to change our life,” said Canty. “Why not change our lives to get us the best life we can get?”

Canty said the book inspired her to turn her life “on,” and said she believes that Alzheimer’s patients are forced to live their lives in “off” mode. The book has been selling well, said Canty, and all of the money goes toward Alzheimer’s research.

“Barbara’s experience with Alzheimer’s is unfortunately like so many others whose loved ones have been touched by the disease,” said Tim Armour, president and CEO of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. “Through the research that we help fund and through symposiums like the one on October 18, we hope that by raising awareness we can help find more ways to support research for better treatments and a cure.”

The Oct. 18 symposium will be held at the Mandarin Oriental in Boston, and registration will begin at 3:30 p.m. All who are interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s research are invited to attend. Dr. Rudolph Tanzi and Dr. Robert Moir from Massachusetts General Hospital will be among the speakers, and David Shenk, author of the national bestseller, “The Forgetting, Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic,” will also be part of the discussion. 

Hosting the discussion will be Robert Bazell, Chief Science and Health Correspondent for NBC News. To register for the symposium and learn more about Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, visit www.curealz.org/symposium.