Friday, October 18, 2013

Ohio funeral director to aid Alzheimer’s cure by hosting a 26-hour radio marathon.

A funeral director from Cleveland, Ohio has a passion to one day put an end to Alzheimer’s disease in honor of his mother. He is supporting research for a cure in a most unusual manner; by hosting a radio marathon.

Mark Grissom, is the owner of Grissom Funeral Home, and will be taking over the airwaves, broadcasting live from WOOP-FM in Cleveland, Ohio and via the Internet from 6 a.m. Oct. 24 to 8 a.m. Oct. 25th , but not to discuss anything funeral related. Instead, he is raising monies and awareness to support the Alzheimer’s Association. He is doing this in memory of his dearly departed mother, Patty Ann Grissom, who died of Alzheimer’s on Dec. 14, 2010.

Grissom’s family was directly affected.

Grissom said that in the end stages of his mother’s illness, there were days when she could not distinguish him from his father. Her short-term memory was gone, but as is usual with the disease, she could recall vivid memories from her childhood.

“She couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast that morning, but she could tell you who her doctor was that delivered her 76 years ago” stated Grissom.

In July 2010, his mother took a turn for the worse, “and that’s when doctors told us that she had terminal Alzheimer’s and from then on, it was just a matter of trying to make her comfortable.” Grissom and his father made the difficult decision to put his mother in a nursing home because she had to have 24-hour care.

“Since her death, the Alzheimer’s Association has been really special to me, and I want to do whatever I can do to help them find a cure.” 

The idea for an Alzheimer’s marathon.

The concept of the Alzheimer’s marathon is to attract hourly sponsors for the broadcast. So far, he has 15 sponsors and guests, including one coming in to play the guitar and sing, and several restaurants providing food. Members of the local Alzheimer’s Association will also be on the air discussing the disease and treatment options.

“It’s more than about how much money we raise; we want to bring awareness to the disease.”

In honor of his mother, Grissom broadcasts for 26 hours.

Grissom is doing this marathon to honor his Mom and to educate others about the disease. “The way doctors explained it to us, the brain of Alzheimer’s patients shrink a little bit on a daily basis,” he said. “Two weeks before mom died, she contracted an infection. They gave her tons of antibiotics, but the brain couldn’t tell the antibiotics what they were supposed to do in her body. No matter how much antibiotics they gave her, it wouldn’t tell that medicine what to do to fight off that infection.”

“Everyone has a family member or next of kin who has had it or has it and deals with it,” he said. Aside from the seriousness of the reason for the 26-hour marathon, Grissom says it will be a lot of fun and a way for his funeral home to give back to the community it serves.

Some facts about Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

  • Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

  • Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a “catchall” for memory loss and loss of other intellectual abilities, serious enough to interfere with daily life.

  • Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

  • In the beginning memory loss is mild, but as it progresses to late-stage, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

  • Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older.

  • Alzheimer's is not just an “old age” disease. 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer's, which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.


  1. This is an excellent idea, and---I appreciate your courage! 26 hours is a long time! You're working for a just cause, and your efforts will make a huge difference. Good luck! You can do it!

  2. You are doing good work I appreciate your courage.This is a good idea. you can make it different.
    Good Luck.funeral director

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