Spotlight on… Sandra Grow, AFTD Board of Directors
Since her husband Karl was diagnosed with FTD, Sandra Grow has been driven by the need to better educate healthcare professionals about this disease, and to spread awareness of FTD throughout the
general public. Over the last 10 years, she has brought this passion to AFTD’s mission — first as a volunteer and, as of April 2018, as an AFTD Board member.
She says that progress has been made in terms of awareness in recent years. “But I still think we need
to educate healthcare professionals and increase public awareness that this is a disease.”
More widespread awareness could improve quality of care, she said. “People aren’t diagnosed early
enough. With early diagnosis comes quicker care, better support, and more attention paid to safety issues” that are often associated with FTD symptoms.
Sandra recalled Karl’s journey to a diagnosis. “We noticed changes in his behavior early on,” she said. These changes grew increasingly disruptive, Karl lost his job, and Sandra was left trying to figure out what was going on. “It’s the same story everyone has,” she said.
After neuroimaging and cognitive testing produced a diagnosis of behavioral variant FTD, Sandra found help through AFTD. “AFTD has givenme so much over the years in support, education and helping to make connections. Even though this is a really sad diagnosis, I have met some wonderful people through AFTD whom I would not have otherwise come into contact with.”
Before joining the Board, Sandra was already an engaged AFTD volunteer, co-facilitating a support group in Ohio and joining the Partners in FTD Care advisory committee, where she works with fellow healthcare professionals to help produce AFTD’s Partners in FTD Care newsletter. She has also attended five AFTD Education Conferences, which she described as the “biggest thing for me, in terms of help – meeting other people and understanding that they’re out there.”
Recently retired, Sandra says she is ready to devote her energy to furthering AFTD’s mission as a Board member. “I feel strongly about the success of AFTD, and hope to give back to them for all they have helped and taught me – and ‘pay it forward’ to those that may still need help and guidance,” she said.
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