Dan Wheldon Wins Indy 500 – and Alzheimer’s Awareness Wins, Too
By winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500, British driver Dan Wheldon gave a boost to his career – and to awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.
Wheldon’s mother, Sue, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009. She was unable to attend the race and see her son win his second Indianapolis 500. Still, millions of TV viewers saw Wheldon wearing the logo of the Alzheimer’s Association and saw him choke up when mentioning his mother in a post-race interview.
Wheldon, who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., said his mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 55.
“You can imagine the impact this news has had on me and my family,” Wheldon said. “This is a cause very dear to my heart, and I hope that by teaming up with the Alzheimer’s Association, I can help raise awareness on the toll this devastating disease has on individuals with the disease and their families as well as how important early diagnosis is for this population.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. As many as 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease.
Angela Geiger, chief strategy Officer at the Alzheimer’s Association, said: “As Dan knows, Alzheimer’s disease has a huge impact on the individual with the disease as well as family members, and the earlier Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, the better prepared everyone is for the challenges they will face as the disease progresses.”
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. There’s no way to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s.