While the H1N2 swine flu grabs daily headlines regurgitated by reporters who rip-read-rewrite and have not left the comforts of their offices for the last couple years, real tangible diseases are left to flounder in the soup of journalism waiting to see the light of day.
Digital Journalists’ always takes the extra effort to go find those stories and bring them back into focus for the public and shed new light on sometimes decade’s old issues that have not gone away and are more relevant today than ever before.
Keep Memory Alive is spear heading efforts in the treatment and finding cures for the devastating mental disorders of Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and other brain disorders from being lost in the quest for hot headlines and the days scary new diseases.
World wide brain disorders touch everyone’s lives in one way another, from themselves, to family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
What you may not know is that in Las Vegas Nevada new ground has been broken in facilities, treatment, and care and by the first of the year a new facility designed by Frank Gehry, world renowned architect, will be completed.
The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute will be, when it’s completed the center piece of Mayor Oscar Goodman’s dream of a world class 61 acre campus of medical facilities just a block from the Fremont Experience in downtown Las Vegas. Even in these strapped economic times Mayor Goodman continues his quest to leave an invaluable mark on the Vegas landscape that generations of world citizens will come to know as one of the pre-eminent places for the advancement of medical sciences, treatments, and care.
This 100 million dollar center piece is advancing daily on its completion shy just 30 million dollars of the needed funds to complete the project and open it doors for the world congregate, work, and dream of the day when degenerative neurological diseases have cures and families are no longer devastated by a loved ones disability.
Its history starts just that way, a family shaken by Alzheimer’s.
Lou Ruvo was a successful restaurateur who owned and operated the highly popular Venetian restaurant on Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas. In 1994 he passed as a result of Alzheimer’s.
His son Larry became determined to see that no else had gone through what his family did. “He first became interested in doing something for brain disorders when a family friend, Milton Wexler’s wife passed due to Huntington’s,” a spokeswoman for Keep Memories Alive told Digital Journal. She asked to keep her name from publication out of respect for all those who are championing this cause, this monumental task which has big names and contributors who are fighting to make Larry Ruvos’ dream come alive in honor of his father Lou Ruvo.
Larry Ruvo is a well known business man in Nevada who owns and operates Nevada Wine and Spirits. It is Larry's love for his father where this story begins. It is the world community of families that is making this caring creation, this visually artistic building, become a reality, meant to inspire all those who see it, visit it, and use this facility to seek out advancements to do battle with brain disorders.
Walking around this building in its construction phase one can imagine the piece by piece, test tube by test tube, long night after long night, step by step process it takes to analyze, correlate, discover, refine, and eventually come up with viable effective treatments, cures, and care for brain disorders.
This project for the advancement of medical sciences got off the ground with a gift from the State of Nevada and its citizens of 3 million dollars in 2007. Since then the charitable arm known as Keep Memory Alive has been the driving force raising 10 of millions to make this dream facility a reality.
In July, the center, before its completion began taking in patients. On July 13th the first patients were received by the staff at the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute.
In a statement to the local Las Vegas press Larry Ruvo said this, “We still have much more to accomplish, but welcoming patients is a truly significant bench mark for us, it’s certainly a day worth celebrating for everyone who has worked so hard to make this effort a reality.”
After a two year step by step process of fund-raising and awareness campaigns, the construction process is nearing completion as workers begin adding the shiny metallic skin that will reflect the Mohave Desert sun, creating a beacon of hope for families around the world.
Recent fund raising events included “a Rodeo in Lake Tahoe and a live auction which had the assistance of names like Stephi Graph, Andre Agassi, and Emeril," said the Spokeswoman for Keep Memory Alive.
Coming up in October is the Mesquite Golf Getaway in Mesquite Nevada on the 16th and 17th.
The last week in October the international think tank, the Leon Phal Symposium will feature 300 to 500 scientists from around the world who will congregate in Las Vegas to discuss degenerative neurological diseases. The dream of tackling brain disorders is a world wide concern for doctors, scientist, and families. Last year Al Gore, Newt Genrich, Sandra Day O’Conner and others met to discuss and make plans for the future of fighting these disorders of the brain.
On February 18th The Cleveland Clinic came on board bringing it’s incredible credentials to Las Vegas and partnered with the center, giving it credibility and providing an 85 year track record and a 4rth ranking hospital in the USA with an annual budget of just shy of 5 billion dollars to focus on this dream project and get its doors open and start treating patients.
Three factors to their signing up for the long haul was Larry Ruvo’s commitment to medical research, Frank Gerhys’ design, and Keep Memory Alive.
One of the things that make The Cleveland Clinic stand above many of its peers is it policy to publish for the public is outcomes of surgical procedures which includes survival and infection figures which are not required by law in Nevada for it’s hospitals.
The other fascinating item is that physician fees are based partially on patient surveys. Which puts the doctors and surgeons patient practices up front and tied to their income, putting the patient’s views in the financial mix.
Frank Gehry has been a vital part to creating the visual beauty of the Larry Ruvo vision and Gehry renowned is world wide designing buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington.
Frank Gerhy born in Toronto, Ontario Canada calls Santa Monica, California home now. His designs are considered in the style of deconstuctivism or sometimes referred to as post-structuralist breaking through conventional designs to create visually stunning works of architecture around the world. He is an icon and a celebrity in and beyond the confines of architects.
There’s more to this fantastic vision of Larry Ruvo honoring his father Lou Ruvo.
Right now two bills are making their way through both the House of Representatives and the US Senate that have funding for Alzheimer’s attached to it.
In the US Senate Bill S.1492 the Alzheimer’s Brake Through Act of 2009, sponsored by Barbara Mikilski with 16 other co-sponsors seek to increase funding to the NIH-National Institute of Health’s budget to 2 billion dollars to help fight Alzheimer’s.
In the US House of Representatives bill HR2386 which is being sponsored a litany of Representatives is seeking appropriations for Alzheimer’s.
In this time of Health Care upheaval in the United States and headlines coming daily on resistance to some federal controls on the troubled health care system in America, it is important to remember the rapidly aging citizenry in US and need to focus its attention on treatment, care, and cures rather than banal rhetoric being splashed around like a child’s first finger painting and focus on real solutions advancing such incredible visions like Larry Ruvo’s, in honor of his father Lou Ruvo, to seek out the solutions to degenerative neurological diseases.
There are many other such causes that seek to find solutions like cancer and heat diseases, and the time for getting upset and angry spurred on by political action committees biased rhetoric, needs to come to an end and those misguided energies need to be brought to focus on real solutions that face us all, all our families, and all the peoples of the planet. Instead of screaming out at politics, its time to embrace our humanity and become a nation of citizens that lead the world in caring for the sick, the injured, and those stricken with disabling diseases.
Remember that we are all on this planetary ark together, spiraling through the galaxy, in a universe where we can if we really put our collective efforts together, stop petty bickering, and become a species of caring visionaries just like Larry Ruvo who loved his father enough to set out on a life time quest to seek out and provide solutions to degenerative neurological diseases.
This article is dedicated to my Grandfather, Lionel Floyd Murphy who passed due to his lost battle with a degenerative neurological disease at the same time that Larry Ruvo lost his father Lou Ruvo. May they both rest in peace with the knowledge that their progeny is still carrying on the fight so other families will someday not have to go through loss of someone they love to degenerative neurological diseases.