More than 6 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. For every person diagnosed, there are, on average, two others who take on unpaid caregiving roles, accounting for another 11.5 million people who must contend with the disease daily. Last year alone, Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost $345 billion in health care costs nationally, and that number is estimated to rise to $1 trillion in the next 25 years. These numbers highlight the urgent need for action. The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Missouri is dedicated to tackling the issue through education, advocacy, research and services for individuals living with the disease.

The association offers an array of important services to families dealing with Alzheimer’s, including a 24-hour helpline (800.272.3900) to answer questions and provide assistance whenever needed. The nonprofit offers in-person and virtual support groups for both Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers, provides educational programs to local businesses and community partners, and works with families in care consultations, including guidance on how to approach a loved one they suspect may have the disease.

To make these services possible, the Alzheimer’s Association relies on community support. One of the nonprofit’s largest annual fundraisers is its Beacon of Hope Gala. This year’s event is April 27 at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. John Tracy, executive chairman of Dot Foods, and his wife, Linda, will be honored for their significant impact on the association both locally and nationally. For Tracy, the cause is an extremely personal one. “I lost both my grandfather and father to Alzheimer’s,” he says. “It’s a disease that impacts not just the individual, but also entire families. We all know someone whose life has been significantly changed by it.”

Having worked with the Alzheimer’s Association for 15 years, Tracy has served on the board for both the local chapter and national organization. Dot Foods also has been an important corporate partner, raising funds through an annual campaign and encouraging employees to get involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and other events. Tracy also directly supports research being done at Washington University School of Medicine by Dr. Randall Bateman to develop a blood test for Alzheimer’s. “Early detection is extremely important and can have a big impact on how the disease is treated,” Tracy notes.

Thanks to innovative research, we are entering a new era in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Treatments like Leqembi have been approved by the FDA to treat underlying causes of the disease, not just the symptoms. Last year, the Alzheimer’s Association made a landmark $100 million investment into scientific investigations, helping to fund 271 projects around the world. In Missouri, 13 grants were awarded, including some to support research being done right here in St. Louis at Washington University School of Medicine and Saint Louis University.

“My wife and I are humbled and honored to be recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association, but it’s important that we acknowledge the true heroes in the fight against this disease,” Tracy says. “Caregivers are on the frontlines, facing unbelievable challenges, and researchers are leading the charge when it comes to treatment, prevention and a cure. We are proud to support these efforts so that we all can look forward to a brighter future.”

The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Missouri provides care and support for those affected by the disease and other forms of dementia. Its Beacon of Hope Gala is April 27 at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Pictured on the cover: Gala co-chairs Ken and Melissa Cella, Lindsay Schuessler, Sen. Brian Williams. For more information, visit or contact vice president of development Kelly Quinn at

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography

Pictured at top: Beacon of Hope Honorees John and Linda Tracy
Photo courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association of Greater St. Louis