Let's be honest, most of us don't think about Alzheimer's as something we might have to deal with any time soon. But here’s the reality: we all get older (even you!) and in the meantime the disease could affect our family members, including our parents. For David Guibord, the disease became personal long before he ever thought it would. David's dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while still in his 40s -- when David was only in middle school -- and passed away shortly after.
Now Guibord, along with other members of his family, are dedicated to raising awareness and finding a cure. They've joined Hilarity for Charity, Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller’s groundbreaking organization that encourages college students to spread awareness. Their biggest event,HFC U is a fundraising competition between universities. The schools that bring in the most money get amazing prizes, including a party with Seth. Last year Guibord helped his college, Santa Clara University, to come in second place.
MTV News spoke to Guibord about why this is such an important issue, and how all of us can get involved with HFC U this year.
MTV: Can you tell us a little about your personal experiences with Alzheimer's?
DAVID GUIBORD: When I was in seventh grade, my father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He was battling with the disease for eight plus years and he passed away three years ago, in January 2012, after a lengthy process of going through the horrible disease. Now my family is trying to pass on the idea of spreading awareness on the disease and how horrific it is.
MTV: What are some facts about Alzheimer's not many people know, and why is this an issue young people should care about?
GUIBORD: It’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. With Alzheimer’s, usually you develop some kind of symptoms in your early to late sixties. My dad started developing symptoms at the age of 48. We knew there was something not right about him so we got him checked out and the doctor diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s. It’s one of those diseases where it can creep up on you, but it doesn’t have to be hereditary in order for you to get it. It’s scary.
I think it’s better for our youth to be aware of it, because we can take precautionary measures and avoid developing Alzheimer’s. As long as our youth is aware of the impact of the disease, they can spread the word about it and it will become more well-known throughout the nation.
MTV: How did you first hear about Hilarity for Charity, and why did you want to help out?
GUIBORD: My sister is a big advocate of The Alzheimer’s Association. She passed me along an email saying what a cool charity HFC is, and I thought, “This is my calling.” So I signed up for Hilarity for Charity and got the ball rolling.
MTV: How did you raise so much money for Hilarity for Charity? Any tips for others who are raising funds?
GUIBORD: A portion had to do with family and friends we’re close with. They’d been there all the years of my father going through the disease. Also, school. I got ahold of someone who was able to email the whole entire campus, including staff, faculty and students. I wrote an email explaining my cause and what I’m trying to do. I posted a lot of things on social media, like Facebook. Finally, the number one thing that really helped me was having the purple Alzheimer’s Association wristband that I purchased from the Orange County chapter. I was handing out those wristbands all over campus for $5. Obviously the donation would go toward the fundraiser. I sold about 1,000 wristbands.
I think social media helps a lot for raising money. Everyone’s connecting on Facebook and Twitter. Also, a lot of people knew about my story so they knew where I was coming from.
MTV: Do you plan to continue to do Alzheimer's activism?
GUIBORD: Absolutely. We’re coming closer and closer to finding a cure for the disease, and it’s going to start with our youth and letting them know how serious this disease is. Alzheimer’s can happen to anyone, so we need to spread awareness.