Joanne Strate

Gift Honors Mother and Supports Future Research

Joanne Strate

Joanne Strate, left, cites her mother Lillian, right, who had Alzheimer’s disease, as a major reason she supports Alzheimer’s Disease Research.

Joanne Strate’s enthusiasm and love of life come across in her writings and the photograph that she shares when telling the story of how she came to support Alzheimer’s Disease Research by making a gift in her estate plan. Joanne clearly enjoys the range of activities that her Minneapolis/ St. Paul environment has to offer.

“My passions are definitely golf, travel, water activities (being from the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’), cribbage, backgammon, movies, music, theater, dancing, bowling and cross-country skiing if we have any snow,” she says.

Joanne is also an energetic retiree, giving back to her community.

“Retirement can be a very active adventure, and I do wonder how I had time to work,” she says. “I thoroughly enjoy volunteering at Augustana Open Circle. This is an adult day care center and I basically intermingle telling jokes, dancing, singing and exercising. For many years, I’ve been visiting relatives, neighbors and friends in assisted living and nursing homes as well. I absolutely love older folks and they make me smile inside and out.”

Inspired to Give Back

The Minnesota native cites a number of influences in her decision to contribute to research. Chief among them? “My mother, Lillian, who is pictured here with me and my brother’s dog, Pinkie [above]. Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005 and passed away in 2012.”

In the final stages of her disease, Lillian was no longer able to do anything for herself. However, says Joanne, “Fortunately, she still knew her children.”

Lillian waited for her daughter before passing away, asking her son three days before to confirm her arrival.

“Ironically when that fateful day arrived, I was greeted with a big ‘Good morning!’ She knew it would be a good day to go to heaven,” Joanne says.

Another factor in Joanne’s decision was her caregiving relatives.

“My younger brother and his wife cared for my mom 24/7 for the last four years, and I assisted every other weekend to give them a break,” Joanne says. “You have to have the patience and stamina of a saint to be a caregiver year after year.”

She has other reasons for wanting to contribute: “This awful dementia runs in my family on both sides, and I’ve had a cousin and aunt succumb to it as well.”

Joanne is channeling those concerns into proactive steps.

“Personally, I will probably volunteer for a clinical trial in the near future. I will also get [genetically] tested to know where I stand,” she says.

Joanne is encouraged by the progress of science, but emphasizes the need for more research support of Alzheimer’s disease, saying, “The big hindrance is money.”

Although federal research funding for Alzheimer’s disease has increased in recent years, it still hasn’t reached the national goal of $2 billion in research funding so vital to curing Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.* Again, Joanne is on the case.

“It’s a no-brainer for me to designate a percentage of my estate for research,” she says.

Gifts like Joanne’s to Alzheimer’s Disease Research help support scientists worldwide as they drive bold and innovative research into the possible causes, detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Joanne sums it up with her usual optimism and enthusiasm: “I feel encouraged and hopeful that science is getting closer to slowing the growth [of Alzheimer’s disease] and understanding it all. It would be a godsend if a cure is found in my lifetime! I would like to pass with a smile on my face, too.”

Give From the Heart

Like Joanne, you can leave a future gift to us that honors someone important to you. Contact Lauren Fields at 301-556-9397 or lfields@brightfocus.org to learn about your giving options.