We’ve all heard the term “B.Y.O.B.” before — but instead of asking people to bring beer or booze, Maria Shriver is asking people to bring something very important: their brains.
The B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Brain) lunch and discussion took place in the MariaShriver.com offices between Maria and Lisa Genova, author of the New York Times bestselling novel “Still Alice, ” the inspiration behind the Oscar-winning movie by the same name.
Shriver began the conversation by asking Genova to tell the story of how she wrote her book. “My background is in neuroscience,” explained Genova. “I was doing scientific research. My interest in Alzheimer’s started with my nana.”
When her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease, Genova wanted to understand what was happening and to connect with her. And while that was the initial inspiration behind the novel, the author’s interest zeroed in on the early stages of the disease to try and chart it’s entire progression. She interviewed dozens of young women about their experience and wanted to honor their stories in her novel.
“I had this intuitive understanding that literature is the place where you can explore empathy,” said Genova, adding that when it comes to Alzheimer’s, finding a cure and raising money for research, telling the story matters: ff people think of Alzheimer’s as people in nursing homes, and if Alzheimer’s looks like Julianne Moore, those are two very different stories and images in the general public’s minds.
The conversation moved on to the myths surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease, with the biggest one being that there is nothing we can do. The 3-minute video above expands on the truths about the disease according to Lisa Genova, including the roles of other chronic illnesses, stress and genetics, and share it with all of your friends and family.
To hear more about how Genova self-published her book after 100 rejections, and her “guerrilla-marketing” phase, and what each of us can do to fight Alzheimer’s on all levels, watch the full conversation here:
Join Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge at thewomensalzheimerschallenge.org.