Making the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease A Focal Point:
Visual Storytelling Grant to Promote Awareness of the Global Epidemic for 3rd Year in a Row
December 3rd, Washington, D.C.
The Bob & Diane Fund, a grant-making organization dedicated to promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases, is awarding $5,000 to Worcester, MA photographer Stephen DiRado for his decades-long work, With Dad. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million Americans, killing more people than Breast and Prostate Cancers combined. In Mr. DiRado’s home state of Massachusetts, 130,000 people over the
age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s while 337,000 family caregivers are bearing the burden of the disease. On average, Alzheimer’s caregivers in Massachusetts provide 384 million hours of unpaid care. [source: alz.org]
Today’s announcement attempts to bring awareness, interest, and support for funding research efforts by awarding a photographer whose work tells the stories of patients with dignity and respect.
The Bob & Diane Fund, which launched in June 2016, is the passion project of Gina Martin, whose mother, Diane, succumbed to Alzheimer’s after a five-year battle. Diane’s high school sweetheart and husband for almost 50 years, Bob, was her primary caregiver and died just 3 months later. Their legacy of generosity and compassion for others was what inspired Gina to create the Fund in their names.
“The visual stories of patients and caregivers can humanize what is, in fact, a very cruel and dehumanizing disease,” says Gina. “My hope is that the work funded today and in the future will have a profound and lasting effect on people, persuading them to support and advocate for a cure.”
Stephen’s work, 'With Dad' will be presented in the Washington Post and featured on www.bobanddianefund.org.
With 58 submissions from 18 countries, the contest was judged by a jury of esteemed photojournalism professionals, all of who expressed unanimous high praise for the awardee’s work.
“Stephen’s story is like a slow drip of time, where we can see both aging and time pass. He has a consistent visual voice and style,“ says Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine.
“The work brings softness, dignity, respect, and tenderness to people living with Alzheimer’s. Stephen is very conscious of the string that ties all the images together,” says Chip Somodevilla, Senior Photographer, Getty Images News.
Keith Jenkins, Director of Digital Content, NPR, “[I] like how the photographer brings us along on the journey and that we see life, not just an illness”.
The vision of the Bob & Diane Fund is of a world where Alzheimer’s disease is cured and millions of people are spared the cruel and painful experience of losing a loved on to this awful disease.
For more information on the Bob & Diane Fund visits www.bobanddianefund.org.