The event at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center focused on the center’s powerful initiative, the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) Mother’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show. A total of 171 guests attended the program, which benefits the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention Center established at the Ruvo Center in 2020.
Shriver, WAM’s founder and internationally recognized broadcast journalist, led a group of dignitaries hosting the event, including Cleveland Clinic co-founder Camille Ruvo; Jessica Caldwell, director of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic; and Dr. Beri Ridgeway, Cleveland Clinic’s chief of staff.
Shriver has been a supporter of the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas from its inception, first as a member as the clinic’s advisory board as it was being built and later honored by Larry and Camille Ruvo for her groundbreaking 2004 book inspired by Alzheimer’s care-giving, “What’s Happening To Grandpa.” The Shriver Report website has also brought to light how Alzheimer’s is impacting women in higher numbers than men.
Shriver says that as she continued to do research, she turned to the Ruvos to open the Women’s Alzheimer’s Prevention Center in Las Vegas.
“At first, people resisted that this disease disproportionately impacted women, then people resisted the idea that prevention should be mentioned in the same breath as Alzheimer’s,” Shriver said in an interview just before Wednesday’s program. “So I wanted to partner with people who also had big visions, who had big dreams, and who could get them implemented.”
Shriver reeled off what are fast becoming familiar statistics related to females and Alzheimer’s.
WAM investigates physiological characteristics in women, which might contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s.
“We’re wondering, is that one of the reasons? Women are two-thirds of those who get depression and anxiety. Those are precursors to Alzheimer’s We’re trying to understand everything that happens in a woman’s life, whether there’s an effect of birth control on the brain. What is the effect of pregnancy on the brain? What is the effect of all of these autoimmune diseases on the brain? What is the effect of hormones on the brain or lack of estrogen on the brain?”
Shriver says the Cleveland Clinic is fast playing catch-up on the treatment for Alzheimer’s in women.
“Women’s health research lags decades and decades behind men,” Shriver said. “So we’re trying to shine the light on that and then fund the research that might give us the answers as to why women are in this situation. They are not just with Alzheimer’s, but with all of these diseases because they’re all connected.”
The idea has always been to grow WAM from its seedlings at the Ruvo Center.
“Our whole goal was to show proof of concept here, go to Cleveland, go to Florida, go wherever there is a Cleveland Clinic. Go online, spread this message to people who live in rural areas,” Shriver said. “We just launched, at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, the largest brain study in the world that will track people in the healthy stage of life.”
Shriver spins a classic Vegas motto to make her point.
“Let’s make this a bigger deal,” she said. “What started in Vegas is not staying in Vegas.”
The Armani spring-summer fashion show raised additional funds for WAM. Shriver has directly tapped into the renowned fashion company for support.
“Giorgio Armani, which is the preeminent visionary in fashion, has now said, ‘We know women’s brains are important. I am going to bring all these models and put a stake down here,’ ” Shriver said. “So many companies make billions of dollars off of women, and they haven’t focused on women’s brains … Often I’ve often gone to people in that world to get involved in this space, and they go, ‘Well, you know, we do breast cancer,’ I’m like, ‘Well, that is great for breast cancer, but there is more to women’s health than that. It’s broader than that.
“We need companies that make up the fashion world, that sell shoes, that sell everything that women buy and support, we need them to say, ‘Oh, we recognize that women are holistic human beings.