*Former restaurateur B. Smith is cooking up a new dish with the creation of a new social media campaign designed to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and the caregivers who take care the nearly five million Americans battling the brain disorder.
The cause is a personal one for Smith, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago.
At the heart of the campaign is encouragement from the couple for people to use the hashtag #Take1Moment as they share a memory or picture of someone who has or had Alzheimer’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. To reward those participating, the campaign will give a “thank you meal” from Chef’d, a gourmet meal delivery service, to a caregiver. The campaign plans to give away 1,000 meals.
“Caregivers are like first responders in the family. They run to the situation as opposed to running away,” Gasby told theGrio.com on Monday, which was World Alzheimer’s Day.
“The thing about being a caregiver and the husband is that sometimes the roles get to be intermingled and you have to make decisions or you have to sort of be a parent at times.”
“It can be a very stressful situation, but you have to learn to be patient,” continued Gasby, who has been Smith’s caregiver since she her diagnosis. “We have such a strong love and commitment for each other that we work through those things.”
The social media campaign comes months after Smith, who is noted for being the first black model on the cover of Mademoiselle in 1976, was reported missing from her Long Island home in November. The situation came to a happy end 14 hours later when she was found safely in a Manhattan diner.
As for their motivation with taking on Alzheimer’s, Smith and Gatsby reference the fact that blacks are two times more likely than whites to develop the degenerative brain disease.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. A 2013 study conducted by the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago stated that Alzheimer’s rates could nearly triple by 2050.
Despite the outlook, Gasby remains hopeful of things changing through increased awareness of Alzheimer’s.
“I believe 20 years from now the kids are going to be saying, ‘I heard of Alzheimer’s, what is it?’ But we can only do that if we start now by talking about it and taking care of the people who are taking care of the people who have Alzheimer’s,” he told theGrio. “We’re going to find a cure for this.”
In the meantime, Gasby and Smith remain active in spreading the word about Alzheimer’s with a book they’re currently working on that focuses on dealing with Alzheimer’s. The book is set to come out in January.
For more information about Smith and Gasby’s social media Alzheimer’s campaign, click here.