Sunday, July 04, 2004

Tribute to a Greek God (Prologue)

He wore it well
We all have heroes. Fortunately for me, I had two of ‘em in my own family. My Father you know about; now I want to talk about my Big Brother. Of course, if you've been paying attention, it may occur to you to ask, “which one?” As I’ve mentioned, I was the #4 out of the 5 boys in our family.

However, before answering, I think it’s important to note that the term ‘Big Brother,’ at least in my mind, carries with it more than just the connotation of age difference. ‘Big Brother’ is a mantle as much as it is a title. It signifies someone who has earned the level of respect so as to be looked up to; to be sought after and emulated. And in that regard, with all due respect to my two other elder brothers, I really had only one ‘Big Brother.’

Big D: my brother, David.

This November 8th, 2004 will mark ten years since we lost Big D. He was the *unlucky one in our family who carried the familial genetic mutation for early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, the malady that has claimed so many on my Mother's side of the family. My Grandfather had it, and passed it on to three of his eleven children, who in turn passed it on to at least one of their own children.

But as tragic as David's death was to all who knew him and the many whose lives he touched, his contribution to medical science is a legacy that has touched many, many more.

Note: This is going to be another long series, one that will require considerable research for me to get completely right, so there may be some time between segments posted. Please bear with me…

*November, 2008 Update — Tragically, I wrote this story only months prior to learning that David wasn’t the only unlucky one among my brothers; my youngest brother, Alex (referred to in this story as ‘Lbro’ prior to my renaming him in subsequent stories), in November of 2004 would also be confirmed to have inherited the family curse. If you're interested in reading his story, it's an even longer one, but highly recommended for it’s insight into our family’s long and bittersweet involvement in Familial Alzheimer’s research. These two lengthy series are somewhat bookends of one another, although my family’s AD saga is far from over.

Next: The Man
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