Nonprofit aims to raise funds and awareness about dementia-related conditions
By Sara Edwards
Angelenos Chad and Lexa Cole saw firsthand the taxing effect Alzheimer’s has on patients and family.
Chad, who works in real estate, has been an advocate for Alzheimer’s since 2011 and created ALZOUT with Lexa to accelerate the process of finding a cure.
“We could see that donors wanted a place where they could donate directly to research and that didn’t have a large infrastructure,” Chad said. “We saw the necessity for people to be able to direct their donation to research without the red tape or bureaucracy, so to speak.”
The Marina del Rey-based nonprofit organization is raising money and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease through educational programs and donations to support research toward finding a cure.
The nonprofit was founded in 2018 but didn’t officially launch until 2019. It has continued to create donation opportunities despite the pandemic. Lexa said that while 2020 made raising money difficult, they were able to continue raising awareness through social media pages on Facebook and Giving Tuesday along with private donations.
The organization also has a partnership with Ralphs Community Contribution Program and the Amazon Smile program, where proceeds from purchases can be donated as well. Potential donors can learn more or sign up on ALZOUT’s website.
“Alzheimer’s has not gone away with COVID-19 here,” Lexa said. “We’re at an age where it’s our parents, early onset is more common and it could be us.”
ALZOUT works in association with the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, one of 30 places across the country that studies aging and memory loss, including Alzheimer’s. According to ALZOUT’s website, the school has “made major contributions to our knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular risk factors and memory problems.” Chad said they work with USC to provide donations and funding for equipment because of the extensive research going on.
“They have been able to sustain and keep their lab going and keep their full staff,” he shared. “That’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to persevere through this to the light at the end of the tunnel.”
In its first year, Chad said ALZOUT was able to raise money for Keck School to help purchase a piece of medical equipment that accelerates the time it takes to test Alzheimer’s samples. They were also able to sponsor a symposium in 2019 that highlighted young researchers aiming for a cure for Alzheimer’s.
“We’re a very event-driven organization and with COVID-19, we’ve really taken a hit with those plans,” Chad said.
As the organization continues into 2021, it wants to expand outreach and fundraising opportunities to raise money for more research.
“Our plan now is to also engage some higher profile personalities and influencers to share their stories,” Chad said. “Our first year was really an attempt to gain credibility with the community and show them that we’re a legit organization that’s out there actually doing stuff.”
ALZOUT will hosting its first virtual town hall of 2021 with Dr. Hussein Yassine, a leading researcher at the Keck School on March 4. They will discuss the latest discoveries in Alzheimer’s and dementia research, as well as the effects the pandemic has had on patients and care providers. More information is available at alzout.org and on its Facebook page.