CINCINNATI—The numbers associated with Alzheimer’s disease are staggering enough—more than 5 million Americans diagnosed, at a total cost of $172 billion for care in 2010. But it was the human cost that motivated Bob and Sandy Heimann to step forward as the donors who helped make the Memory Disorders Center at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Neuroscience Institute possible.
"We want to make a difference,” Sandy Heimann said at Thursday’s official launch of the center at the UC Physicians Office in West Chester, after telling attendees about her mother, who has Alzheimer’s.
Just 18 years apart in age, "we were best friends,” she said. "I miss my mom. I see her several times a week, but she doesn’t know it—she doesn’t recognize me, or walk, or talk,” because of Alzheimer’s, which currently has no cure.
The Heimanns anonymously endowed a chair in Alzheimer’s research and education in 2008 with a gift of $1.5 million. That endowment has grown to over $2 million with subsequent contributions from the Heimanns and will fund what will now be known as the Sandy and Bob Heimann Chair in Research and Education of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Sandy Heimann is chairperson of the UC Board of Trustees, vice president of American Financial Group, Inc., and vice president of American Money Management and Great American Insurance Company. Bob Heimann is a board member of the UC Foundation and president of Globe Corporation.
"While we like to stay behind the scenes, we know that it’s time to announce the chair,” Sandy Heimann said. "There are just too many families that need help (and) to know how and where to get help.”
The endowment supports the work of Brendan Kelley, MD, the center’s director and an associate professor in UC’s neurology department. "Dr. Kelley and his team are a gift to the city,” Sandy Heimann said.
The Memory Disorders Center is one of eight specialty centers within the UC Neuroscience Institute (UCNI), a leading treatment, research and teaching center for complex neurological conditions. Patients will be seen at the UC Health physicians offices in West Chester and Clifton, with the Memory Disorders Center based primarily in West Chester.
Joseph Broderick, MD, chair of the neurology department and research director of the UC Neuroscience Institute, welcomed guests to the launch, which also featured remarks by James Kingsbury, UC Health president and CEO, and Joseph Hinson, president of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance.
Hinson presented Kelley and the Heimanns with a plaque in welcome and commemoration of the Memory Disorders Center.