- Peter Gallagher, Dr. Susan Love, and Richard Cohen Also Recognized -
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with 34 million readers, today announced the recipients of its fifth annual Inspire Awards. The Inspire Awards pay tribute to 10 extraordinary people who inspire others to action through their innovative thinking, passion and perseverance. The 2009 honorees include Glenn Close (Mental Health Advocate), Richard M. Cohen (Voice for the Chronically Ill), Martin Eakes (Lending to the Poor), Katherine Freund (Transportation Activist), Peter Gallagher (Alzheimer's Advocate), David E. Hayes-Bautista, Ph.D. (Latino-Health Researcher), Quincy Jones (Global Poverty Fighter), Susan Love, M.D. (Cancer Crusader), Rose Nakamura (Compassionate Caregiver), and Alma Powell (Children's Advocate).
"These leaders set a great example for all on how passion can support and spark change in creative, innovative ways. Their stories are truly inspiring," said Nancy Graham, Vice President and Editor of AARP The Magazine.
Honorees will receive their Inspire Awards during a private cocktail reception and dinner hosted by television host James "JB" Brown at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., on December 8, 2008. Television journalist and mental health advocate Jane Pauley will also make a special appearance to present the Inspire Award to Glenn Close.
All ten profiles appear in the January/February 2009 issue of AARP The Magazine, in homes now and available online at www.aarpmagazine.org.
THE 2009 INSPIRE AWARD WINNERS
Glenn Close - Mental Health Advocate
Perhaps best known for her portrayal of the deeply troubled Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close, 61, is no stranger to the affects of mental illness off-screen as well. The Emmy Award winner has a more personal connection with this issue, which strikes five percent of the U.S. population and affects one in four families. In a rare public statement, Close reveals to AARP The Magazine that she has two family members who suffer from serious psychiatric disorders. "I've seen mental illness firsthand," she says. "I know there are millions of people affected, and it's not just the patient who is suffering. It's everyone around them." Two years ago the actress began working with Fountain House (www.fountainhouse.org), a nonprofit organization that she discovered while searching for help for her relatives. Fountain House offers its members assistance with jobs, education, and housing and also provides a supportive community. In 2009, Close will take her involvement a step further, headlining a national advertising campaign intended to diminish the stigma of mental illness. "When I first thought about doing this, I wondered if people would think that I was mentally ill," says Close. "Then I thought, 'What's the alternative? Not to do it?'" Close acknowledges that continued research into better treatments is important. But erasing the stigma, she says, is the first step.
Richard M. Cohen - Voice for the Chronically Ill
Richard M. Cohen didn't plan on becoming an advocate for the chronically ill. In fact, for most of his life, Cohen hid and sometimes lied about his own diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, even as he covered wars and national politics as a CBS news producer. He also married Meredith Vieira, now co-host of NBC's Today show, with whom he has three children. But in 2004, when he was giving a talk at his local library about his bestselling memoir, Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness, Cohen overheard members of the audience talking about their own struggles with chronic illness and thought, "Someone ought to write a book telling other people's stories." So he did. Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, A Chorus of Hope came out in January 2008 and it was quickly followed by a pioneering radio program that addresses issues faced by the millions with an incurable disease. "Everybody is touched by chronic illness," Cohen says. "It's the flood under the door."
Martin Eakes - Lender to the Poor
Martin Eakes bet his career on a contrarian notion: poor people are better at borrowing money than the rich. His Durham, North Carolina community credit union, Self-Help (www.self-help.org), serves a clientele of classic credit risks -- among them, low-income families and single mothers. The default rate for these so-called toxic borrowers? About one percent. "If I have a choice between making a loan to a rich person or one to a poor person, solely on grounds of credit risk, I'll pick a poor person every time," says Eakes. "They simply take care of their debts better." Since Eakes started Self-Help in 1984, it has provided more than $5.24 billion in financing to 60,130 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits. In 1999, he led the battle for North Carolina's pioneering anti-predatory-lending law and, as early as 2002, warned federal legislators that corrupt financial practices had set the scene for a massive wave of foreclosures. He's now battling to make sure that the subprime mortgage meltdown doesn't further victimize the most vulnerable.
Katherine Freund - Transportation Activist
Katherine Freund is the last person you'd expect to be an advocate for older drivers. In 1988 her son, Ryan, then three years old, was run over by a car. The driver, an octogenarian with dementia, didn't stop; he said later he thought he might have hit a dog. But after Ryan recovered, Freund turned to the mishap itself. "We do have to screen older drivers," she says. "But once you identify someone as impaired, they still need transportation." And so Freund established the Independent Transportation Network (www.itnamerica.org), a nonprofit that last year offered more than 30,000 rides to seniors in eight states. Unlike publicly funded transportation for older adults, which limits trips to doctors, churches, and grocery stores, ITNAmerica has no restrictions. "It's hard to make a case that the public should fund discretionary rides," Freund says. "But it's easy to make the case that quality of life depends upon them."
Peter Gallagher - Alzheimer's Activist
For 20 years before his mother's death in 2004 at age 89, actor Peter Gallagher witnessed her gradual descent into the oblivion that characterizes Alzheimer's disease. Gallagher, 53, a film and Broadway veteran who most recently starred on the hit TV series The O.C., immersed himself in the search for a cure. He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org), organizes Los Angeles-chapter fundraisers, and participates in fundraising Memory Walks, all with the unshakable belief that treatments for this devastating disease will be found before too long. Until that happens, the actor won't give up. "It makes me feel less powerless," he says. "I do it for my mother. It's the best way I can think of to honor her."
David E. Hayes-Bautista, Ph.D. - Latino- Health Researcher
For Dr. David E. Hayes-Bautista, one baby's story says it all. Selene Segura Rios, a flu-stricken 18-month-old whose working parents couldn't afford the ER, died of dehydration -- not in a Third World country but in the United States. Selene, like many Latinos, lacked access to proper health care, a problem Hayes-Bautista has been fighting his whole career. As a grad student in the 1970s, Hayes-Bautista brought needed care to desperate Californians as a founding director of La Clinica de la Raza, a chain of low-cost medical centers that treats more than 100,000 patients a year. An engineer by training whose compassion and love of hard data led him into the field of medical sociology, Hayes-Bautista is now director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at
Quincy Jones - Global Poverty Fighter
Music impresario Quincy Jones still vividly recalls the moment, 56 years ago, when a five-year-old girl approached him after he had performed in a Tunisian nightclub. She had a flowered dress on, and one hand behind her back. The other hand was held out in supplication. "I'm from the ghetto," says Jones, who grew up on the South Side of Chicago. "But I'd never seen that before. We gave her everything we had." The next day he learned that the girl's uncle had cut off her left hand so she'd be a more sympathetic beggar. "That got me for life," he says. Today the legendary entertainer spends his free time directing the Quincy Jones Foundation (www.qjfoundation.org), a nonprofit aimed at helping poor children worldwide. Among his group's more ambitious projects: assisting with programs to eradicate malaria in Africa, developing housing in post-apartheid South Africa, and establishing youth centers in conflict-ridden locales. Says Jones: "I really think we are in a position to make a difference."
Susan Love, M.D. - Cancer Crusader
Someday there will be a cure for breast cancer, but someday isn't good enough for Dr. Susan Love. In late 2008, the cofounder of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (www.dslrf.org) launched the Army of Women Initiative, a partnership with the Avon Foundation that she hopes will accelerate the search for a cure for the disease that strikes one in every eight women. "I can't fathom letting this disease go on for another generation. The time has come to stop it," says Love. The initiative's aim is to recruit one million healthy women of every age and ethnicity to team up directly with breast cancer researchers. It's just the latest in a string of stunning achievements for Love, who also developed a model for multidisciplinary breast care at the Revlon/UCLA Breast Cancer Center and wrote the seminal book on breast cancer, Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book.
Rose Nakamura - Compassionate Caregiver
The trouble in the island paradise of Hawaii is a collision of demographics and geography. The state boasts laudably high longevity rates, but younger generations of Hawaiians have long been encouraged to further their education and careers on the U.S. mainland. The result? Elderly parents whose children live an ocean away, complicating the already considerable challenges of caregiving. Rose Nakamura, 80, saw this pattern often with members of her Buddhist temple in Oahu: not wanting to inconvenience other relatives, the elderly would often stop attending services when they could no longer drive. In 1989, she founded Project Dana (www.vhbt.org/Project_dana/index.html), a modest program to connect older members of the community with volunteers who provide companionship, run errands, and generally embody the Buddhist principle after which the project is named. "Dana is about extending compassion and care, without any reward or recognition," says Nakamura. Today, the program serves more than 1,000 kupuna, or elders. Says Nakamura: "Caregiving is everybody's business."
Alma Powell - Children's Advocate
Children are Alma Powell's passion. Not just her own children and grandchildren, but all children, of all colors and faiths. At 71 -- the most fulfilling time of her life, she says -- Powell is chair of America's Promise Alliance (www.americaspromise.org), a children's-aid organization she founded in 1997 with her husband, General Colin Powell. Five promises anchor the Powell effort: to succeed in life, all young people need caring adults, safe places (homes or schools), a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others. America's Promise helps fulfill these promises by providing expertise and financial support to children's organizations across the country. At stake, Powell believes, is nothing less than the nation's future. "UNICEF did a study last year of 21 developed nations and how well they take care of their children. We're number 20," says Powell. "What is our future if we don't turn that around?"
Additional information on AARP The Magazine's 2009 Inspire Award honorees can be found online at www.aarpmagazine.org/inspire.
About AARP The Magazine
With more than 34 million readers nationwide, AARP The Magazine (www.aarpmagazine.org) is the world's largest circulation magazine and the definitive lifestyle publication for Americans 50+. Reaching over 24 million households, AARP The Magazine delivers comprehensive content through in-depth celebrity interviews, health and fitness features, consumer interest information and tips, book and movie reviews and financial guidance. Published bimonthly in print and continually online, AARP The Magazine was founded in 1958 and is the flagship title of AARP Publications.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 34 million readers; AARP Bulletin and AARP Bulletin Today, the go-to daily news source for AARP's 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our Web site, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved