CBS News Journalist Brings Fight Against Alzheimer's To Tulsa

Friday, March 11th 2011, 9:40 pm
By: News On 6

Terry Hood, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa's Alzheimer's Association marked an incredible milestone this week and a nationally known journalist was along for the journey.

3/10/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Fundraiser Raises Money For Alzheimer's

Barry Petersen's reason to join in this fight is both painful and personal.

Petersen, a CBS News Correspondent, has spent more than three decades covering major news events in every corner of the globe.

He reported on the fall of the Soviet Union, the massacre in Tiananmen Square, and the devastation of the Asian tsunami. Yet nothing prepared him for this.

When she was 55 years old, Petersen's wife, Jan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Jan now lives in an assisted living center and no longer recognizes her own husband.

Now, Barry Petersen has joined the fight against the rising tide of Alzheimer's. He says it is the least funded of any major disease. There is no cure, no treatment.

Only a growing list of victims.

"Heart disease cause of death, going down. Breast cancer cause of death, going down. HIV cause of death, going down. Alzheimer's, we're now in the range of a 50 to 60 percent increase in the cause of death," he said.

Petersen says the answer is more money for research and Thursday night, Tulsa did its part.

With Petersen's help, the local Alzheimer's association raised more than one million dollars for the cause.

That's one of the tops in the nation. Yes, there is hope, but the clock is ticking.

"Will it be cured? Sure," Petersen said. Will it be cured in the lifetime of anyone watching? It's up to them."