In 1989, six women led the charge in creating A.W.A.R.E, or the Alzheimer’s Women’s Association for Resources and Education. Since then, men and women have joined the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, now called Aware, that is dedicated to fighting Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s is a global crisis,” Aware President Holly Hull Miori said.

Miori, who lives in Grapevine, was working at a neuroscience research center when she attended Aware Affair, the nonprofit’s annual fundraising gala. She later joined as a member before joining the board.

Aware is made up of more than 200 members. Membership levels range from $75-$500. The nonprofit provides funding to programs, projects and research through grants.

In 2013, Aware became a component of the nonprofit incubator The Dallas Foundation, which Miori said would keep the funding for research and caregiving local.

The nonprofit works with faith communities, arts organizations and medical communities in the greater Dallas area.

“We really want to take care of our community, and we want to be the catalyst for research,” Miori said.

One aspect of Alzheimer’s that people might not be aware of is how it can wear on caregivers, Miori said. She said Aware is trying to find resources for the members who are part of the nonprofit.

“We provide a network for [caregivers], so they can find each other and support each other,” Miori said.

Discussions around Alzheimer’s have changed as Miori said more celebrities share their experience with the disease. Still, she said communities are not comfortable talking about the disease.

“Aware is part of that education—taking a global issue and keeping it a local impact,” Miori said. “That is where Aware wants to be, by being part of the education, but also ... the research and caregiving.”

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that affects memory, thinking and behavior, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with the disease in 2020. The CDC classifies it as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

“Alzheimer’s is one of those diseases that breaks across all barriers,” Miori said. “It doesn’t care about your education, your socioeconomic [status] or your race. It can affect anybody.”