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Don Demers’ Story – Father and Son Seek Answers

(Don Demers’ Dad in his ’59 Healy)

Don Demers says the light bulb went off for him when he dove into finding out about neurological disorders after his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. That’s when he learned that brain research is the new frontier when it comes to discovering what’s behind hundreds and hundreds of neurological diseases. He decided then that he had to donate his father’s brain, even if research won’t bring a cure fast enough.

It’s been tough to see his father, also named Don, feel like he’s slipping a bit. Before he retired nearly 20 years ago, he had a 35-plus-year career on Wall Street, managing money for insurance companies and banks, and digging deep into what made companies valuable to investors. They used to call his dad “Do-it-all Don” because he loved tinkering with things around the house, doing any kind of handyman work including re-modeling bathrooms and kitchens. Now, the things he used to handle in the blink of an eye are a bit of a struggle because cognitive issues trip him up. But he can still fish, and he works hard to stay in great physical condition.

Don Jr. says he’s been changed by his dad’s illness.

“It’s definitely taught me a different level of compassion in the way I approach people. It’s given me pause in certain situations to be a little more patient,” shares Don. “It’s like money – it does you no good when you’re gone. Look, we have spent so much money in this country on band-aids for neurological diseases. Now scientists are really making inroads on how the brain works and links between the brain and the stomach and bacteria — it’s like leaps and bounds. You have the ability to give someone a resource that will enable scientists to make progress toward more than a band-aid…real cures.”

Don has become a strong advocate for brain donation. He says he, his siblings and parents have all registered to donate their brains to research with the hope that future families will benefit.

Don was also featured in this recent news story about brain donation. See the online article and video.

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