Help Laura Napolitano manage early-onset Alzheimer's

For: Laura Napolitano
San Francisco, CA
Organizer: Joan Becker Kelsch, Chris Sayler, and Jeff Bader
$29,620
of $30,000 goal
98% Complete
Raised by 148 donors

The Story

Laura Napolitano has spent her whole life helping others.   Not only friends and family, but she even chose to use her medical training to become a top HIV/AIDS researcher.  She has always been there for whoever needed her help.  Now she needs ours.

Two years ago, Laura was having difficulty completing basic tasks at home and at work.  The diagnosis was devastating.  At age 51, Laura was told she had Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease.  

Whether you know Laura from her childhood in Tom’s River, Williams College (‘85), or during her medical career at Rochester, Mass General, Harvard, NIH, or UCSF, you will remember her as vivacious, energetic, hard-working, and as loyal a friend as one could ever hope to have.  Her brain was a steel trap -- she never forgot a name or a birthday, and could recite Casey Kasem's American Top 40 from every year of her childhood (she had enough brain cells to do that!).   When she wasn't working, Laura was a loving mom/wife/daughter/sister, an athlete, and loved playing practical jokes on her family and friends.  


The disease has progressed quickly.  Laura now struggles to perform basic functions without assistance and requires 24-hour supervision.  Laura’s wife, Ingrid, is stretched to the limit working full time while raising 9-year-old Christopher and taking care of Laura’s needs. Laura was the primary breadwinner and they need financial assistance to provide Laura with the care and treatment she will need for many years to come.

Laura is young and active and needs very different types of activity and stimulation than older Alzheimer’s patients, so the costs go well beyond the $75,000+ per year that a daytime caregiver will cost.  And for Ingrid, these costs will be on top of what she will need to raise their son. 

So let’s all help Laura and ease the burden on Ingrid and Christopher.  It’s what Laura would have done for us.  

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 16, 2017

Posted on December 16, 2017

It is with heavy hearts that we report that Laura passed away peacefully with family by her side in the early hours of December 14.  Laura was so many things to so many people -- mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, doctor, teammate, colleague, lab partner, college classmate.  She lived a very full life and will always be remembered for her spunk, energy, sense of humor, brilliant mind, love, and kindness.  The world is better for having had Laura in it and she will be missed by many.  Ingrid and Christopher send their appreciation for all the kindnesses sent their way.   

Posted on October 21, 2017

Posted on October 21, 2017

Ingrid and Laura's sister, Susan, made the very difficult decision to move Laura to a memory care facility.  It was too hard to keep her at home as she needs 24 hour supervision.  Laura paces for many hours a day and isn't able to verbalize anymore.  She recognizes her family and carries pictures and cards with her while she walks.  Laura will receive loving care and attention at her new home and Susan and Ingrid can visit often.  Donations are welcome to help defray costs for Laura's care and to help with travel to visit her.  

Posted on January 5, 2017

Posted on January 5, 2017

January Update:
Laura, Ingrid, and Christopher were at Laura's sister's house for Christmas.  Laura is staying for a couple more weeks to give Ingrid and Christopher a bit of a break.  They will be looking for a new caregiver for Laura when she gets back.

Laura's condition is slowly deteriorating.  Her attention span is short and she exhibits some typical Alzheimer's behaviors, particularly being angry.  Christopher has learned that music calms Laura so he sometimes plays music at bedtime to settle Laura down.  She needs care 24-7, which is an ongoing challenge.  Ingrid and Christopher need breaks now and again so they can continue to give Laura the attention and love that she needs.  Contributions will help them cover caregiving and activities for Laura, as well as support and activities for Christopher.

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