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Why Wayne Brady Is an Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champion

Photo: Courtesy of Demetrius Fordham

“Let’s Make a Deal” host Wayne Brady ends every episode by saying, “I love you, Mom.” It’s his way of connecting with his grandmother, who raised him and who he calls “Mom.” She’s 90 and has Alzheimer’s, and only identifies him on TV.

“She won’t recognize me when I’m face-to-face with her,” he said. “But she recognizes the way that she watches me on TV. So I tell her I love her through the TV. This work is the most important to me.”

The Emmy Award-winner has been an Alzheimer’s Association “Celebrity Champion” for a decade. He originally started using his platform for this cause when he saw his aunt caring for family members with the disease, which over 6 million Americans have. That same aunt is now caring for her mother — Brady’s grandmother — who has Alzheimer’s.

“Like a lot of diseases, and sickness in general, it is truly the leveler of all playing fields,” Brady said. “You can be anyone. You can be the smartest person in the room, you could be the president of a company, you can be whatever you are, but you can still be touched by this insidious disease.

“Just educate yourself and show compassion to those who are going through it, because until you have a family member who is touched by it, you don’t know the struggle.”

Brady says nowadays there’s better awareness about Alzheimer’s, as well as resources for patients and caregivers. He encourages people to support more Alzheimer’s research, noting that a lot of progress can be made with the proper funding and resources.

“Just like what happened for the COVID vaccine, if all hands were on deck, every single country, every great mind in their field, and they had the funding and they had the time, and they shared that knowledge,” Brady said, “you can’t tell me that great advances couldn’t happen.”

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