Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel has been selected to serve on the National Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisory Group. As she shares her story about living with dementia, she’s helping to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and reduce the stigma associated with the disease.
When asked what it means to “live well with dementia,” Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel (DMin ’03) says, “‘Living well’ is about finding joy and happiness in spite of a diagnosis. It’s about moving from ‘Why Me?’ to ‘What’s Next?’ It’s about maintaining ‘selfhood’ even as the self slips away. It’s about focusing on the present, even as the events of the past fade into a fog. It’s about acceptance of the losses in life and being thankful for the blessings found. It’s about faith, hope and love.”
Rev. Huling Hummel was chosen from 37 applicants across the country to be part of the Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisory Group which provides input to the Association about programs and materials that would support the needs of early-stage Alzheimer’s individuals. More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and those in the early stage of Alzheimer’s provide the Association with valuable perspectives that can help in the search for causes and cures. Early-Stage Advisory Group members have advocated for increased research funding and added younger-onset Alzheimer’s to the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance Initiative so that those with the disease can have access to certain social security benefits.
Rev. Huling Hummel has been active in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, serving on its Speakers’ Bureau, leading a Persons with Dementia support group, and chairing the Southern Tier Connections programs. She’s been enrolled in an Alzheimer’s clinical trial for more than four years and she uses every opportunity to encourage people to enroll in TrialMatch®, a free, easy-to-use clinical studies matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, and physicians with current studies. “The only way that researchers will find a cure to Alzheimer’s is for folks to step up and be part of a cure, by participating in clinical trials,” says Rev. Huling Hummel. “Together we can #ENDALZ.”
This post was originally published in McCormick’s online newsletter, “Leading Change” on October 6, 2015.