Alzheimer’s activist, wife and caregiver Nancy Goodes works tirelessly to eradicate the horrific disease that has touched her life on a deeply personal level.
The proverb “charity begins at home” has been misinterpreted over time. Nowadays, it has come to reference prioritizing your own family over those outside your inner circle. Setting aside the argument about whether the saying is Bible-based or not, there’s no denying its original meaning: Charity should indeed be taught and learned at home, but it shouldn’t end there.
In the case of Nancy Goodes, board of governors member for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (alzdiscovery.org), it so happens that both definitions hold true. Her dedication to ADDF, the only Alzheimer’s charity focused solely on funding potentially lifesaving drug research, is surpassed only by the undying love and support she gives to her beloved husband, Melvin Goodes, former chairman and CEO of Warner-Lambert. To witness firsthand the tenderness, patience and gentle handholding Nancy gives Mel is to behold unconditional love.
While Alzheimer’s is relentlessly and tragically destroying Mel’s memory, Nancy is determined to preserve it. “It’s so important for me to maintain my husband’s legacy,” says Nancy, who fervently assembles photo albums and videos so that everyone will remember Mel as he once was, not just who he has become as the result of his affliction, and to treat him with respect. “The humanity of the person gets lost, but Mel still shines through. He was, and still is, an amazing man,” she says.
The recent Hope on the Horizon event held by ADDF, which was co-founded by Leonard and Ronald Lauder in 1998, raised over $350,000, adding renewed vigor to the fight. “Bill Gates, as well as Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos, have partnered with us now,” says Nancy. “People are realizing we really have to throw big bucks at this.”
Photography by: Nick Mele