WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dear Abby aka Jeanne Phillips will be honored with the 2015 Proxmire Award, which recognizes a national figure who has demonstrated leadership and positively impacted public awareness around Alzheimer's disease and dementia, at the second annual Great Minds Gala presented by LeadingAge and Integrace on March 16, 2015, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
Diane Rehm, host of The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio (NPR), will serve as master of ceremonies for the gala, a fundraising event held in conjunction with LeadingAge's PEAK Leadership Summit that was created to help improve both the care offered to people with Alzheimer's disease and the support options available for their caregivers. Rehm, who was presented with the National Humanities Award by President Obama at the White House in 2014, began her radio career in 1973 as a volunteer for WAMU 88.5, the NPR member station in Washington, D.C.
This year's Proxmire awardee, Jeanne Phillips, bestowed, along with her brother Edward Phillips (deceased) and another anonymous donor, a $10 million grant to the Mayo Clinic to build the Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in honor of their mother, Pauline Phillips, who originally created the pseudonym "Abigail Van Buren" for the Dear Abby advice column in 1956. After receiving several letters asking for advice for people affected by Alzheimer's disease, Pauline Phillips started showing signs of the disease in the mid 1980's. Jeanne Phillips, who worked with her mother since the age of 14, began offering advice as Dear Abby in 1987, sharing the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren.
"One of my mother's most powerful pieces of advice for a struggling caregiver was, 'Dear Desperate, You are not alone,'" said Jeanne Phillips, the current Dear Abby. "After watching my mom struggle with this disease for more than 25 years, I'm humbled to be honored at this event, which celebrates those who tirelessly ensure that people like me and my mother are never alone."
The award was originally envisioned by Ellen Proxmire to honor her late husband, Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994, and spent the last 5 years of his life at Copper Ridge. Since 1993, Mrs. Proxmire has been working with Integrace and the Copper Ridge Institute to raise awareness and funds to improve Alzheimer's care.
The mission of LeadingAge is to expand the world of possibilities for aging. Our membership touches 4 million lives every day and includes 6,000 not-for-profit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 39 state partners, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research partners. LeadingAge is also a part of the International Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, whose membership spans 30 countries. LeadingAge is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization focused on education, advocacy and applied research.
Integrace, headquartered in Carroll County, Maryland is a forward thinking not-for-profit company of dynamic retirement communities, including Fairhaven, Buckingham's Choice and Bayleigh Chase (formerly William Hill Manor). Each community offers a vibrant lifestyle that includes health and wellness programming such as yoga, rehabilitative care, personal trainers and on-site wellness centers. Integrace is also a nationally recognized leader in dementia care and programming. Copper Ridge, the Copper Ridge Institute and Bayleigh Chase (formerly William Hill Manor) are all catalysts to a profound shift in how individuals live with, and relate to, those living with dementia.