I have decided to donate my brain for Alzheimer’s research. Many people are organ donors, which means they donate their organs, skin, etc but that does not include brain donations. Based on conversations I have had with Alzheimer’s researchers there is a great need for brain donations so that they can study the brains of people who have been clinically diagnosed with dementia and other cognitive diseases and provide tissue for research after their death. I will be donating mine to the Florida Brain Bank but there are several other organizations throughout the United States who do this as well.
To donate your brain through the Florida Brain Bank you have to fill out an application and agree to an autopsy which is paid for by the organization. You then need to identify the funeral home that can conduct the autopsy and harvest your brain within 12 hours of your death. You also have to agree to release all of your medical records to the Florida Brain Bank.
My husband and I met with the funeral home director on Monday and made arrangements to have an autopsy performed and harvest my brain and also discussed some preliminary funeral arrangements. Not a great way to spend a Monday afternoon when you are 58 years old, but because I have so many family members who have had dementia/Alzheimer’s I think it is important to do so that we can eradicate this disease.
Last week I did an interview with Deborah Kan, of Being Patient regarding my desire to be able to die with dignity and do assisted suicide when my condition diminishes to a point where I feel I have no quality of life (you can also read the article here). There are nine states in the United States that allow assisted suicide, but none of them will permit it for those of us with cognitive disorders. I have been researching my options for doing this abroad. But brain donation is still important to me so I am researching a variety of things right now for my end of life. I have always been a planner, and I am a person who “plans my work, and work boy plan” and my end of life plan will be no different.
We desperately need to find a cure to end Alzheimer’s and potentially other cognitive diseases like Parkinson’s. Please help me find a cure by donating to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Not today, Alzheimer’s not today!