In 1999, Deane F. Johnson died as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease. After her husband’s death, Kate Edelman Johnson created the Deane F. Johnson Alzheimer’s Research Foundation dedicated to funding research focused on the prevention and cure of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Five D’s: In Kate’s Own Words
“I met the love of my life in 1978. I had the great joy of spending 23 years with an extraordinary and unforgettable man. He was a brilliant, legendary and highly respected attorney—the managing partner of O'Melveny and Myers. He later became the President of Time Warner.
He was a tireless philanthropist and a true Renaissance man. He could discuss art as easily as he could explain Einstein' s Theory of Relativity; he nurtured a magniﬁcent rose garden and had a ranch in Colorado where he bred cattle that were known far and wide as the best in the West. His love of animals and their protection extended to the Mt. Kenya Safari Club and Game Preserve, which he co-founded and built with his great friend, Bill Holden.
His mind was his tool, and what a mind it was—until it was destroyed by the curse that is Alzheimer’s Disease. As we all know, Alzheimer’s does not discriminate; it’s an Equal Opportunity Destroyer.
For me, coming to terms with Deane’s diagnosis was an emotional roller coaster. I refer to it as the 4 D’s: The first, of course, stood for Deane. The second for Denial—mine. The third, Depression because I was helpless. There was nothing I could do but love him and make sure he had the best of care. The fourth D is Determination. I was determined to do whatever I could to help find a prevention and a cure.
To watch a mind as brilliant, as witty, and as giving as Deane’s, succumb to Alzheimer’s was pure torture—a slow, agonizing, living death. I knew I had to do something. I had to make sense of what seemed to be senseless.
So, I created the Deane F. Johnson Alzheimer’s Research Foundation in 1999 to find a 5th D: Defeat! In 2004, the foundation helped create the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics at UCLA with Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, a world-renowned Alzheimer’s researcher and leader of clinical trials. At that time, Dr. Cummings was the Director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s Disease Center (named no. 3 in the world for Alzheimer’s research).
And So It Began...
The Center at UCLA addressed one of the most critical bottlenecks in the advancement of the search for a prevention and cure for Alzheimer’s disease: recruiting sufficient people to enroll in clinical trials and supporting these patients through the full regime of testing. Kate's leadership through the foundation’s work enabled Dr. Cummings and his research team to conduct well over 50 clinical trials and train groups of scientists from around the world on how to conduct clinical trials.
In August 2006, Kate and Dr. Cummings were invited to China to speak about the Johnson Center and to discuss the latest advancing treatments. This resulted in discussions for sister facilities to the Johnson Center being developed in both Xian Province and in Beijing where they shared information and scientific findings using both Western technology and Eastern sensibilities. In September 2009, Dr. Cummings was the keynote speaker at the International Alzheimer’s Conference at Queen Sofia’s Alzheimer’s Center in Madrid.
In 2009, Dr. Cummings research and milestones caught the attention of The Cleveland Clinic. They were able to acquire and a build a facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Dr. Cummings and his team moved in order to head the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is a unique and exciting concept in medicine: a medical center dedicated solely to the pursuit of more effective treatments for brain diseases and to the provision of state-of-the-art care for patients affected by these diseases and their families.
Today, the Deane F. Johnson Alzheimer's Research Foundation is dedicated to defeating the monster that steals memories and destroys the lives and loves of all who have ever suffered.