Public education with reliable information about Alzheimer's disease: this has been an important goal of the non-profit Alzheimer Forschung Initiative e.V. (AFI) for almost three decades. The AFI is supported in this by its ambassador Okka Gundelknown from the ARD-Morgenmagazin and Tagesthemen. Now Okka Gundel has been awarded the "Health:Angel" together with the AFI. The award, also known as the "Oscar of health communication", is sponsored by Health Media Award e.V..
"This award touches me personally very much, because Alzheimer's is a matter of the heart for me. We must not forget the elderly!", says Okka Gundel. All of us at the Alzheimer's Research Initiative are there for the people when this bitter diagnosis has been pronounced. We are there for the sufferers and also for the relatives affected. Education is particularly important, because only in this way can the families make the best of the situation. In addition, the Alzheimer's Research Initiative also supports research projects to make Alzheimer's curable. We are very pleased that our work has been recognized with the Health Media Award. Thank you very much for this great award. This award is a great motivation for all of us!"
Tony Westwood, Grand Jury President of the Health Media Award gave the following reasons for the decision:
"Okka Gundel has been an ambassador for the Düsseldorf-based Alzheimer's Research Initiative since 2012. After all, that's ten years and a long time for a voluntary commitment. In addition, the moderator has made her own cancer disease public and thus set a sign that health is a topic to which one may also stand in public. Her courage and personal commitment are therefore honored with the Health Media Award."
Okka Gundel is involved in various projects for AFI as an ambassador. She moderates AFI events and represents the organization at public appearances. For the sports journalist and TV presenter, it was a very personal decision to get involved in the issue of Alzheimer's:
"My grandmother had Alzheimer's. I still remember exactly what it was like when she didn't recognize me one day in the café. It's a scary disease - and the number of people affected and their relatives will increase. Society must come to terms with dementia."
says Okka Gundel, who lives in Cologne with her husband and three children. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and an incurable disorder of the brain. As nerve cells in the brain die, people with Alzheimer's become increasingly forgetful, confused and disoriented. Personality and behavior also change as the disease progresses. Many patients become agitated, aggressive or depressed. Judgment and the ability to speak deteriorate. Despite intensive research, there is still no cure for the disease.