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Susan Franklin, 61
Agoura Hills, California
Alzheimer's has cast its shadow on Susan's home — but the sun stills filters through as she bravely carries on with the same spunk she showed at age 5, proudly heading for a Broadway theater with her mother. Early onset Alzheimer's can be the most swiftly devastating form, and Susan was diagnosed when she was just 58. She well knows the implications: Susan, a registered nurse, holds a masters degree in nursing with a specialization in grief and loss from UCLA. Once a passionate reader, her love of biographies has dwindled as her disease progresses. But she refuses to abandon hope. Susan and her husband Serge are enthusiastic about a clinical trial drug called Intravenous Immune Globulin (IGIV), which she's scheduled to get at the University of Southern California. Meanwhile she has given more then 30 public speeches about Alzheimer's, telling any group that will listen: "Every 70 seconds someone develops Alzheimer's. One of eight Baby Boomers will get the disease. I am one of them."
— Frank J. Yuvancic