"The mental and physical demands of scaling seemingly insurmountable peaks are not unlike the everyday challenges faced by those living with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers," said Mr. Arnette, who cared for his mother with Alzheimer's until her death last year. "Both involve understanding personal limitations, reaching out for support and taking steps daily on a very long road."
Alzheimer's, the nation's 6th most deadly disease, robs individuals of collected memories, corrupts their distinct and true personalities and makes them unable to function independently. The burden of caring for these patients often falls to family members. In the United States, an estimated 10.9 million unpaid caregivers see to the daily needs of people struck by Alzheimer's. Last year, these caregivers provided about 12.5 billion hours of care.
"What are our life experiences and adventures about if not to create life-long memories that we can share and embellish, year after year, with friends and family? Memories are everything," said Mr. Arnette, whose high-altitude climb can be followed on www.Climb4AD.com.
Mr. Arnette, who has been mountain climbing since he was 38, retired from his job with a leading technology company to care for his mother, Ida, who has since died from Alzheimer's. Since then, the 54-year-old advocate has worked tirelessly to inspire people to join his efforts to help raise $1 million to advance Alzheimer's research.
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is funding Mr. Arnette's climbs. All money Mr. Arnette raises from donations will go directly to the organization he selected, the Cure Alzheimer's Fund™, for research. International Mountain Guides is also supporting Mr. Arnette's efforts.
"As a former caregiver for his mother, Alan understands the burden of Alzheimer's and the needs of patients and caregivers who are devastated by the disease. "His efforts to embark on this incredible journey are an inspiration to Alzheimer's patients, caregivers and beyond," said Gregory Rippon, MD, MS, Disease Area Medical Lead, Specialty Neuroscience, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs, Pfizer, on behalf of the Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program. "We are proud to support Alan Arnette's efforts to advance education and research to help fight this disease."
Every 70 Seconds, Someone is Diagnosed With Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, with another person newly diagnosed every 70 seconds. It has been estimated to affect more than 5 million Americans and more than 25 million people worldwide. The lack of awareness around dementia is a global problem, leading to misunderstandings of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging and gradually destroys a person's memory and their ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out basic daily activities like bathing and eating. As there is neither a cure nor a treatment that addresses the underlying cause of Alzheimer's, there remains a significant need to advance treatment options that change the course of Alzheimer's, improve patient outcomes and reduce the burden on caregivers.
The indirect and direct costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's disease is estimated to be more than $100 billion a year in the United States alone. The worldwide costs of dementia are estimated to exceed one percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, which equates to $600 billion, further demonstrating the global prevalence of the disease.
"Research is the key to solving the complexities of Alzheimer's disease and Alan Arnette's courageous fundraising efforts will help the Alzheimer's community come one step closer to finding a cure," said Tim Armour, President of the Cure Alzheimer's Fund™.
Mr. Arnette, a resident of Colorado, departs on the first climb of his seven climbs on November 24, 2010. The first peak is the 16,067-foot (4897 meter) Mt. Vinson Massif in Antarctica. By December 2011, he intends to reach the summits of:
- Aconcagua, Argentina, South America - 22,841ft/6962m
- Everest, Nepal, Asia - 29,035ft/8850m
- Denali, Alaska, North America - 20,320ft/6194m
- Elbrus, Russia, Europe - 18,481ft/5633m
- Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa - 19,340ft/5896m
- Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia, Oceania - 16,023ft/4884m
Mr. Arnette is taking on the extended challenge of climbing an eighth mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia, which is part of the Oceania continent.
For additional information on Mr. Arnette and The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer's: Memories Are Everything campaign, as well as how to track Mr. Arnette's quest on Twitter and Facebook, visit www.Climb4AD.com.
Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. is an equal collaboration committed to researching and developing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease.
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program believes that it is possible to reduce the burden of disease through early intervention in the illness. It is dedicated to delivering comprehensive and integrated solutions that help address the needs of people impacted by Alzheimer's disease.
Its research focuses on the beta amyloid hypothesis. Scientific evidence supports the idea that preventing the accumulation and/or promoting the removal of beta-amyloid may have the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and help preserve function in people with the disease. This theory is being tested in clinical trials.
Pfizer Inc: Working together for a healthier world™
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines for people and animals. Our diversified global health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as the world's leading biopharmaceutical company, we also collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.