Alzheimer’s disease. It affects millions, but rarely do you hear about the experiences of people taking care of a loved one with it.
Longtime racing sponsor Phil Frengs wants to change that, and he elected to use racing as his platform, creating the nonprofit Racing to End Alzheimer’s.
“It’s a loud sport,” Phil says. “So why not get loud about Alzheimer’s and dementia? People don’t want to talk about brain diseases. They usually want to keep it quiet.
Phil knows what it’s like to live with someone who has Alzheimer’s. His wife, Mimi, received the diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013.
“If you sit down with a neurologist and they say, ‘It appears that you’re suffering from dementia,’ that’s a tough discussion,” Phil recalls. “Some people can’t accept it. In my wife’s case, she knew something was wrong, but once that doctor said that to her, she never spoke of it again.”
After Phil Frengs’ wife, Mimi, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, he felt compelled to help others with loved ones battling the disease. Photography Credit: Courtesy Racing to End Alzheimer’s.
During this time, Phil, through his company Legistics, sponsored cars in what’s now called the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“While she was going through the first part of her journey with the disease, I was mostly home taking care of her,” Phil explains. “I was still going to races when I could.
Photography Credit: Courtesy Racing to End Alzheimer’s
“Then, it dawned on me,” he continues. “Branding on a car is expensive. It obviously has value. Well, what would happen if we put the names of those suffering from Alzheimer’s, or any form of dementia, [on the car]? Could we get people to do that via donation? Wouldn’t that be a great way to increase awareness of the disease and create funding [for organizations fighting it]?”
That provided the impetus for Racing to End Alzheimer’s, which was launched in 2017. It started with one race and then quickly grew to season-long campaigns.
An Incredible Fundraising Drive
Racing to End Alzheimer’s offers a variety of levels, ranging from $100 to $1000, to help fund entities fighting the disease. For $250, you can add a name of a loved one…