Negroni Week News

Fundraising Spotlight: Keep Memory Alive

September 14, 2021

Founded in 1996 by Larry Ruvo, Keep Memory Alive set out to raise funds to provide improved treatment and fuel research for cures for brain diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, among others. Ruvo’s father, Lou, passed away from Alzheimer’s in 1994 which drove Ruvo’s philanthropic mission. In 2009, Keep Memory Alive partnered with Cleveland Clinic to open the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Nevada, which provides state-of-the-art care to patients and their families. Here, Keep Memory Alive’s senior director Anna Robins talks about the power of raising awareness, details on the center’s programs for patients and their caregivers, and how the organization kept up its support during the pandemic.

How does Keep Memory Alive provide support to patients with neurocognitive diseases?
Keep Memory Alive is the philanthropic arm for Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. By raising funds and awareness through community partnerships and special events, we’re able to help provide enhanced services, care and resources for patients and their dedicated caregivers suffering from neurocognitive diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple system atrophy, multiple sclerosis, and more.

Why is raising awareness about memory loss key to Keep Memory Alive’s mission?
Research has shown that up to 40 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases might be preventable through healthy lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise. Raising awareness about these risk-reduction strategies and early detection of memory loss can help people take control of their brain health to try and prevent the onset of disease.

How do the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s caregivers and community programs function?
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health works tirelessly to provide valuable educational, therapeutic and support services at no cost to patients and their caregivers, including music therapy, “lunch and learn” education sessions, support groups, yoga sessions, community library, and more. The center stands alone in the breadth and scope of these services, which are designed to inform, enlighten, and empower patients and their families as they navigate the extraordinary challenges of brain disease.

How has COVID-19 impacted Keep Memory Alive’s work?
Patients and their caregivers often share that the journey of brain disease is isolating. Tack on a pandemic, with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, and this already vulnerable population (those age 65 and older with progressive brain diseases) was suddenly experiencing an unfathomable amount of isolation. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked diligently to successfully transition the majority of in-person patient and caregiver programming to virtual platforms, allowing us to extend our reach and bring friendship and support to patients and their families in the comfort of their own homes. Our annual Power of Love gala, which is usually held in spring, is now being held October 16, and we are very excited to honor Smokey Robinson and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds this year as we celebrate the gala’s 25th anniversary.

What are some examples of the impact donations from Negroni Week might have?
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is only able to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary care to everyday patients and families because of the philanthropic support of Keep Memory Alive. Every donation, no matter how small, makes a significant impact in helping patients and their families navigate through the challenges of brain disease, while propelling critical research forward. Donations have helped the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health provide 220,000 patient appointments, conduct over 100 clinical research studies of promising new therapies and provide 60,000 visits to its free educational, therapeutic, and support services.

Story Emma Mannheimer | Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic