Marty Bahr was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer's Disease (AD) in 2000 at the age of 50. He succumbed to the disease eight years later, passing away December 30, 2008.
Marty was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and lived much of his life there. His final six years were spent in Chicago, Illinois where he received exceptional clinical treatment for AD from Rush University Medical Center's Alzheimer's Disease Center (RADC).
During his working life, Marty spent his career in the insurance industry. He rose through the ranks to become an executive with a major insurance company. He was forced to leave that position as the AD symptoms began to manifest; as he could no longer perform the duties required. At that point in time (around 1995), an AD diagnosis had not been made—the medical community at large did not yet recognize that AD could occur in a younger age group (“younger” defined as under the age of 65). It would be another five years before Marty would be delivered the diagnosis by University of Washington Alzheimer's Research Disease Center. (ARDC)
The impact of AD on the person inflicted with it and on family and friends is physically, emotionally and financially devastating—even more so when it unexpectedly strikes earlier in life. When Marty was diagnosed, he and his wife, Laurie, discovered there were limited services and resources available to AD individuals under the age of 65—everything was geared toward the senior citizen. They turned to RADC and the Alzheimer's Association for help.
Inspired by Marty, Rush and the Alzheimer's Association responded by forming an early onset AD support group in 2003 focused solely on those individuals under the age of 65. The group began with Marty, Laurie and two other couples. Today, it numbers more than 60 individuals with early onset AD in the Chicago area plus their family members, who meet on a monthly basis. The group was named Without Warning™. It was the first young onset AD support group of its kind in the country. It now serves as a model to others throughout the United States working to form support groups of their own.
The Without Warning™ mission statement follows:
Without Warning™ supports and empowers individuals and their families who face Alzheimer's Disease early in
life. Experiencing young onset Alzheimer's Disease is often accompanied with many new emotions: fear, uncertainty and anxiety about the future. Designed to enhance vitality and quality of life, Without Warning™'s specifically tailored programs offer opportunities for education, research and support. By realizing that “we are not alone”, we hope individuals will find commonality, dignity and opportunity to live each day fully and with meaning.
Marty's wife, Laurie, continues to reside in suburban Chicago.
He has two children: a son, Rob, 31, and daughter, Katie, 28; and a grandson, Campbell, 2.
Martin (Marty) Bahr
1949 - 2008
University of Washington
Without Warning™ Program
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