On the Front Lines Against One of America’s Leading Killers

By Giving List Staff   |   October 18, 2021

It took visits to several doctors before anyone noticed that Evelyn Stone had Alzheimer’s disease. By then, it was already too late. Evelyn’s mere forgetfulness had progressed into a more serious cognitive deterioration. Her husband, Jerome, a packaging magnate from Chicago, was astounded by the lack of knowledge about Alzheimer’s, and in 1980, he brought together multiple independent groups of researchers, physicians, and caregivers to better understand the disease. His search was in vain; Evelyn died three years later.

But the cadre of medical experts Jerome Stone had gathered would eventually coalesce into the world’s largest organization working to advance care, support, and research for this devastating disease – the Alzheimer’s Association.

Forty-one years since Jerome Stone founded the association, Alzheimer’s has ascended into one of America’s leading killers. While deaths resulting from heart disease, stroke, and HIV continued to decline, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, between 2000 and 2018, reported deaths from Alzheimer’s jumped by 146 percent. In California, it is now the third leading cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer.

In the next 30 years, the havoc that Alzheimer’s wreaks on American families and the medical system will only multiply. And there is still no cure for the disease. “What’s really sad is that until we have a cure, Alzheimer’s will be much more prevalent in our lifetime,” says Lindsey Leonard, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association California Central Coast Chapter. “The system is overburdened with the amount of people that need care. Along the Central Coast, we project we will be helping 3,000 individuals this year.”

While the search for a cure continues, the Alzheimer’s Association remains on the front lines against the disease as the leading authority of information and one of the biggest providers of support groups for patients, caregivers, and people impacted by the disease. It is also the largest nonprofit funding research into Alzheimer’s, investing more than $250 million in 750-plus projects.

And it is racing to find a cure with the same passion and sense of urgency that inspired Jerome Stone to save his wife Evelyn’s life many decades ago.


The Alzheimer’s Association

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Executive Director, California Central Coast Chapter: Lindsey Leonard

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Alzheimer’s disease is tragic and irreversible and has become a national crisis and global epidemic. Having witnessed the enormous emotional, medical, and financial challenges it has created for friends and family caring for their loved ones with dementia has caused me to be a part of finding a solution. Through my support at the Alzheimer’s Association, I feel connected to many in our community that are experiencing this tragic diagnosis. I want to be with them in finding a treatment and one day: A CURE!
Gerd Jordano

Support the Fight Against Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. The California Central Coast Chapter is seeking the support of its community to help make a difference in our mission to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Your support is critical in allowing our chapter to continue providing free educational programs, support services and care consultations throughout our tri-county region, while also supporting critical research toward a cure. Get Involved: To make a donation, become an event sponsor, participate in one of our fundraisers such as The Walk to End Alzheimer’s® or The Longest Day®, or learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit our website at alz.org/cacentral. For around-the-clock support and information, the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) is available to people living with dementia, caregivers, families and the public. 

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Organized every year in more than 600 communities across America, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s biggest event to attract attention and funds for Alzheimer’s research, care, and support. In the Central Coast – which includes Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo – the Alzheimer’s Association has a goal of raising $750,000 in 2021 and hopes to increase its fundraising to $787,500 in 2022.

Key Supporters

Katina Zaninovich, Board Chair
Lynne Andujar
Leigh Cashman
John Dixon
Richard Beswick, PhD
Richard Mann
Peter Delevett
Kenneth Kosik, MD
Charlie Zimmer
Robert Hirsch
Danna McGrew
Lol Sorensen