Luncheon with Dan Gasby and B. Smith Hits Home with Caregivers
The Dan Gasby and B. Smith Alzheimer’s Luncheon hosted by North Carolina A&T State University’s Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s Aging and Community Health (COAACH), on Oct. 25 gained the attention and support of community leaders and partners, caregivers, university faculty and staff as well as world renown researchers. But it was the sincere words and interaction of Gasby and Smith that captured their hearts.
In 2013, celebrity lifestyle maven B. Smith was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband Dan, television executive whose contracts included Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and the Oprah Winfrey Show, is now her care giver. Smith has been a model, actress, celebrity chef, and owner of three B. Smith restaurants.
The luncheon was presented as a platform to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s care. Through Gasby and Smith’s transparent and intimate discussion of Smith’s diagnosis and daily coping with the disease, attendees not only perceived the enormous love and dedication that Gasby has for his wife, but they were given first-hand knowledge about the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, the importance of maintaining good health and supporting research.
“It’s not about me or my wife,” said Gasby. “It’s about the future and working with organizations like COAACH to make a difference. The greatest opportunity you have in your life is to be healthy. The only true wealth is good health.”
Following the luncheon Gasby, with Smith by his side, took the time to sign the book he and Smith wrote titled, “Before I Forget,” which chronicles the couples journey with the disease and features some of the vital work that COAACH is doing for Alzheimer’s.
The center has proactively been on the forefront of Alzheimer’s disease research, education and awareness, community empowerment and advocacy. Through the unrelenting efforts of Dr. Goldie Byrd, principal investigator, the center has secured millions of dollars in funding to continuously work toward a cure.
“All of us can do something towards the cause of reducing the effects of this disease,” Byrd told luncheon attendants. “[Alzheimer’s] is not just about getting old; Alzheimer’s is a very real disease.”
Among COAACH’s numerous efforts to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s, the center also announced and played a snippet of “I Know It’s You” – a song recorded by Grammy-nominated R&B singer, Reuben Studdard. The song is in tribute and appreciation of the selfless acts of caregivers.
Attendees were also encouraged to prepare for COAACH’s upcoming 2016 Caregiver Education conference, Nov. 12.