As part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Day at training camp, the team and Empower Retirement also announced a joint donation of $50,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association through the Broncos Country Walk to End Alzheimer’s Team, which will then support both research and helping caregivers.
Research for treating Alzheimer’s took an exciting new step in June, as the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease for the first time since 2003. The medication, called Aduhelm, is “the first treatment directed at the underlying pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease” and “is expected to lead to a reduction in the clinical decline of this devastating form of dementia,” wrote Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
This news was certainly exciting for the Bowlens, but they’re hoping to see even more positive developments result from the research side in the future.
“There needs to be more research, and everyone knows it,” Brittany said. “In order to make research happen, we need dollars, and that’s why fundraising is really important to my family, because we know that those dollars go toward finding a cure. Just this past June … there was a huge breakthrough. Those who are early onset or just experiencing the first stages of Alzheimer’s, they’re starting to have medications that can help them kind of progress through the disease in a more graceful way. But there’s still no cure, and there should be.”
But aside from the monetary aspect, the day also allowed fans to bond with one another, including the Bowlens, over the necessary support and the difficult challenges that they face when loved ones are diagnosed.
With Brittany and Annabel’s mother also battling Alzheimer’s, that support is vital.
“You lose someone mentally, and then have to lose them physically, so it’s almost like you experience two deaths,” Brittany said. “And to do that twice, it’s hard. But if you have a supportive family and you surround yourself with the right community organizations, with the right friends, you’ll find the strength to get through it. I know that Annabel and my siblings and I, we’ve all supported ourselves and each other, and we’ve leaned on the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter for lots of resources, and we’ve found the right people to surround ourselves with, and that’s kind of how we came it through. It’s really through the other people who are helping us stay strong.”
In times like these, Brittany and Annabel said that they look to their father’s wisdom for guidance.
“It’s really, really tough,” Annabel said. “All I try to remember is that my dad would say, ‘Be tough, because we are tough. We hang in there, and we’re a strong family.'”
And through their work to support the Alzheimer’s Association, they have been able to find a supportive community and to path to pay it forward and hopefully help other families that are in a similar situation.
“I don’t know if it makes it easier that we can bring attention to it, but it’s our responsibility,” Brittany said. “My dad always said that the Broncos are a platform. They have a strong legacy in this community, and there’s a responsibility to do that the right way and to be number one in whatever we’re doing. So we’ve made this intentional decision to support Alzheimer’s and bring awareness and fundraise for it. That’s an immense level of respect for the platform allowing us to do that.”