Ahman Green is the new face for Alzheimer's Association
(February 27, 2014) Future Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Ahman Green is the new “champion” for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin Chapter.
The announcement was made Thursday at D1 Fitness in Green Bay, where Green is co-owner. He will serve as the Association’s leading spokesman, make appearances and assist with fundraisers.
“Ahman, D1 Fitness and the Ahman Green Foundation will step forward to help us lead our efforts in finding a cure for this disease,” said Diana Butz, development and marketing director with the Greater Wisconsin Chapter.
Green — the Packers’ all-time leading rusher who will be inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame in July — said joining forces with the Alzheimer’s Association is personal. His mother, who lives in Florida, was diagnosed with the memory-robbing, life-ending disease three years ago, and his wife’s grandmother also has the disease.
As a former football player, Green also is concerned that NFL players may be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia due to head injuries sustained during their careers.
“The Ahman Green Foundation’s been around since 2001, and we just kind of helped out where needed,” he said. “Now I have a flagship to help out. ... I have been a champion a few times in my life ... and to now be a champion to help out people, that was the whole goal of my foundation. Now I have a point of focus.”
Grabbing people's attention
As spokesman for the Greater Wisconsin Chapter, Green said he wants the majority of money raised at events to go toward research to help families touched by Alzheimer’s.
“In the business and marketing world, the first day in meetings is what can we do to grab attention to sell this product,” Green said. “So the product is Alzheimer’s and support for it. You’ve got to have something to grab people’s attention, and I’m that attention-grabber.”
New initiatives include the Alzheimer’s Association D1 Charity Bootcamp and the D1 Alzheimer’s Association Round to Remember Golf Outing on June 12. Green also will assume a leadership role in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event on Sept. 20 at Lambeau Field.
Kim Kinner, executive director of the Greater Wisconsin Chapter, said Green puts a new face on the disease.
“He was a champion on the field; now he’s a champion off the field for us,” Kinner said. “Having somebody like Ahman talking about the impact of the disease on his family for us, that really raises the level of awareness. With Alzheimer’s comes a lot of stigma, and he’s willing to talk about it.”
A Growing Problem
More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease. In Wisconsin, the number is 110,000, roughly the size of the population of Green Bay. In less than 30 years, that number is expected to double.
“It costs memories, opportunities, dollars and ultimately lives,” Kinner said. “At the Alzheimer’s Association we believe that we can’t afford to lose another brain to Alzheimer’s.”
The 2014 federal budget, passed last month, includes $122 million in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. It’s a great first step, Kinner said.
“Alzheimer’s knows no boundaries. It isn’t in your family until it is. Each of us is at risk, and that’s why we need champions like Ahman Green. He can help us to elevate that sense of urgency and more awareness on Alzheimer’s and how it impacts families. We need awareness to translate into action.”