Dear Friends –
As most of you have no doubt heard, the family of Bruce Willis has shared that while he had a preliminary diagnosis of aphasia last March, he has undergone further testing, and it developed into primary progressive aphasia and have announced to the media that he has been diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). This is the same disease and variant that took Maureen’s life.
Here is a link to the announcement: Willis Family Statement | AFTD (theaftd.org)
Here is also a link to ways you can learn more and take action: AFTD Statement | AFTD (theaftd.org)
There have been several reactions to this devastating news for the family. Most of it has been well wishes and expressions of sorrow. There have been a few somewhat vocal about the amount of attention he is getting, the premium care he will receive beyond the “average joe”, and questions about whether Mr. Willis’ privacy should have been maintained at this juncture in his life. I have even corresponded with some people struggling in their own care for an FTD loved one who were of the mind, “Why is his FTD more noteworthy than that of my own loved one? Aren’t they as important as a celebrity? Shouldn’t my loved one receive as much attention, care, and support?”
I would encourage us all to consider compassion.
I think on the moment that I found out Maureen had FTD and how I felt in that instant – helplessness, despair, grief, and a desire to make her well again, because . . . well, she was my everything. I would ask that each of us consider that and offer Bruce Willis and his family our best wishes at this difficult time for them.
It is also important to realize that this is a pivotal time in FTD. A world-renowned individual and his family have brought FTD into the spotlight. His diagnosis has been shared countless times in 24 hours across the globe. More people than ever before are looking up FTD to better understand the disease. Many will be tracking the journey of him and his family. This has already raised awareness of FTD and has the potential to raise funding for research and a cure.
This remains devastating for him and his family. We can respect that, while also acknowledging that this attention can give many of us hope.
I know it does for me.
If any of you want to reach out with questions or concerns, please let me know.
Love you all!