Let me tell you about my mother’s side of the family. First, my grandmother Martha. She came to this country from Cuba with her family as a teenager. She met and married Donald Kent, then a young soldier returning from Korea who later became a writer and journalist. Together they had two children, my mother Debbie and uncle Brian.
When my mother was sixteen my grandfather Donald Kent got cancer, out of nowhere, and died. (He never smoked and didn’t work with chemicals. To this day nobody knows how it hapened.) He was still young, in his late thirties. My grandmother remarried another Korea veteran, coincidentally also named Don (to whom she is still married,) and had my ‘half-uncle’ Richard.
Three years ago my grandma Martha got dementia; her brain functions declined, she stopped remembering some things, but she was still basically okay; she still did Salsa dancing with her husband Don, a marathon runner currently in his sixties, and could still tie her own shoes. The next year she could hardly do anything for herself. She was diagnosed with Alzheimers.
When I saw my grandmother today she was totally zoned out. She cheerfully laughed at everything, but only because she couldn’t understand it. She called everyone she saw “baby,” at first I thought she was being nice, then I realized it was because she couldn’t remember who they were (and these are her own family members.) It broke my heart: that’s Alzheimers for you.
She is currently only 56 years old.
Donald Kent did not have to die in his thirties of cancer. My grandma Martha didn’t need to get Alzheimers.
We could have a cure for Alzheimers and cancer, if we would only get our priorities straight.
Number one: Stem cell research. Not much else to say about that.
Number two: enough AIDS funding. I am sick and tired of hearing about AIDS. Let the African leaders cure their own damn problems. Idi Amin had enough money to buy all the luxury cars and fancy palaces he wanted, while his own people starved: this is not our business. America needs to look out for Americans, and right now thousands of Americans have Alzheimers and cancer, FAR fewer than have AIDS. AIDS affects a tiny portion of America compared to cancer, Alzheimers and Diabetes (which my Godfather died of years ago.) Billions of American government dollars are going to fund AIDS relief in Africa and AIDS scientific research here in this country. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We need to get our priorities straight, dammit, and stop pouring so many medical funds into the money pit of African AIDS. And AIDS in America is transmitted through unsafe sex, by human error: It is preventable with safe sex practices which hundreds of homosexuals and heterosexuals alike apparently are too irresponsible to follow. Unlike Alzheimers, which strikes people for no damn reason at all. For God’s sweet sake, where’s the justice?
America has the best scientists, the best resources and the most money. It’s time for us to find a cure for Alzheimers and cancer. No, reducing AIDS funding and transferring it to other diseases is not the magic bullet that will solve the problem, but it is a step in the right direction.