Chris Broullire on what he and his wife should have done when they saw changes in his mother-in-law –
“What we should have done at that time and we didn’t know, we didn’t know enough is we have a terrific website, ALZ.org. Anything you want to know about Alzheimer’s or dementia is available on ALZ.org”
A Ockershausen: This is Our Town. It’s Andy Ockershausen. I am delighted with our … I don’t call him a guest. He’s too much of a friend and so close to him over the years, a local guy, a prominent fundraiser, extraordinary salesman. I guess you have to be to raise the kind of money that he’s used to raising.
Chris Broullire: Is it fundraiser or fund raiser?
A Ockershausen: Well, it’s both. Why not have fun when you’re raising funds?
Chris Broullire: Okay, that sounds good.
A Ockershausen: He is currently the chapter president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. I met him at least three decades ago. He’s going to say longer, but I’ve known him in the radio business and the broadcast television business and the cable business and Chris Broullire, welcome to Our Town.
Chris Broullire: Well, thanks Andy, it’s great to be here. It’s great.
A Ockershausen: Our Town covers Annapolis. It covers Vienna, Virginia. We go as far as the Blue Ridge Mountains. We consider everybody in this big, huge bowl of what may be 8 million people as Our Town.
Chris Broullire: You are humongous.
A Ockershausen: Half of them live here, which is great and the other half are going on their way out of town. Chris, I go back with you so far but I did not know your background as a local yokel.
Chris Broullire: Can I tell you the first time I ever met … Yeah, but can I tell you the first time I ever met you? It was in the lobby right here at WMAL and I was referred to you by Tom Curro, Tom Curro Lincoln Mercury, and he said …
A Ockershausen: Oh, I know the name …
Chris Broullire: He says, “Chris, go see my buddy, Andy Ockershausen,” and I was just desperate for a job, right out of college, trying to get a job anywhere, especially in radio. “Go see my buddy, Andy Ockershausen,” and you spent about 20 seconds in the lobby with me telling me, “You got no shot, kid, good luck, call Dick Eurie.” That was my first meeting with Andy and I thought, “Thank you so much for …”
A Ockershausen: I probably did you a favor and you don’t realize it. I spent a lot of time wasting your time. You didn’t have that time to waste because you were looking for a job.
Chris Broullire: Yes, I was.
A Ockershausen: But believe me, I have done that so many times to tell kids or beginners, “You got to start at the bottom. You come to WMAL looking for a job is not the bottom.” I hate to say that but it’s true.
Chris Broullire: Well and at the time it was at the very top, the top of the top.
A Ockershausen: Well, I did this to Howard Bomstein. I made him so furious. He didn’t speak to me for years because he wanted to handle our business and I said, “No, we are doing business with people we love. I’m never going to change. Why do I waste time to watch a presentation?” Anyway, we got by it. He’s now one of my best friends and so are you Chris.
Chris Broullire: I had to get that in there, okay.
A Ockershausen: You were out of college, but you went to school at the University of Maryland, but before that you grew up in the Greater Washington area.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, born and raised in DC. I was born at Doctors Hospital, which was at 19th and I, which is no longer there. It’s an office building now.
A Ockershausen: We just went by it the other day and Janice said to me it’s a Children’s Hospital.
Chris Broullire: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Can you imagine what’s happened to our town?
Chris Broullire: Yeah, it’s changed a bunch and went to Campus School, which is a little eight room grade school near Providence Hospital.
A Ockershausen: I know it well.
Chris Broullire: I went to Gonzaga, met my …
A Ockershausen: Oh, I didn’t know that?
Chris Broullire: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Were you with Stuart Long? But Stuart is probably older to you?
Chris Broullire: Much older, I’m still very young.
A Ockershausen: But Gonzaga is a great beginning, great Jesuit school.
Chris Broullire: It is, it is. I had a paddle broken over my backside for misbehaving in Latin once, Father Hocking.
A Ockershausen: Fraternity?
Chris Broullire: Father Hocking, it was a fraternity paddle. Father Hocking used to paddle the kids who didn’t behave in Latin class. He actually broke the paddle in three pieces over my backside.
A Ockershausen: Well, that’s a good Jesuit school then, right?
Chris Broullire: Yes, we had good discipline.
A Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Chris Broullire: … Good discipline and I behaved after that.
A Ockershausen: Your family lived in the city. Was your dad in business here?
Chris Broullire: He worked for the federal government. He was the deputy director of the FSLIC, which is no longer. Now it’s the FDIC.
A Ockershausen: Yeah, I do remember that. It was a savings and loans or something, wasn’t it?
Chris Broullire: That’s right and now it’s the FDIC and we lived in University Park in Prince Georges County and right down the street from Jim Henson, The Muppet guy, just like a block away.
A Ockershausen: Channel 4.
Chris Broullire: There you go and grew up in University Park and the reason I went to Gonzaga is my father drove down Michigan Avenue every day to …
A Ockershausen: Okay, to drop you off.
Chris Broullire: To get to his office at the FSLIC, so he just dropped me off.
A Ockershausen: I find a lot of kids that never had that ability to go into town to school that you had that so many young people miss something when they don’t have to ride the bus. They don’t have to plod to Gonzaga, the old streetcar. My group all went to Gonzaga on the streetcar.
Chris Broullire: Right, right, well and I hitchhiked home. Can you imagine doing that today? You just wouldn’t.
A Ockershausen: I had a friend, Jim Cuddihy, sat right on that side telling me about his son. You remember Cuddihy?
Chris Broullire: Yeah sure.
A Ockershausen: But his son was at Gonzaga and now at St. Joe’s up in Philly. His son had to ride the bus, but it straightened him out. It was a great lesson and to sit and learn in Our Town to ride the bus and the people.
Chris Broullire: Amen and you learn to be self-reliant if you are on the bus or if you are hitchhiking home so …
A Ockershausen: You know how to handle it.
Chris Broullire: … Somehow I got home every day.
A Ockershausen: That’s what his boy, would hitchhike and he lived way out in the suburbs. Chris, now did Curro enter your life, because he entered my life in maybe the sixth grade. We went to a place called Sherwood Playground. That’s where I met Tommy Curro when we both probably 10-years-old.
Chris Broullire: My brother Mark, God rest his soul, dated Nan Curro, starting when he was 16 and they got married and they have three children and he did pass away from brain cancer.
A Ockershausen: I knew that.
Chris Broullire: That’s how I know Tom is that my brother used to work at his dealership.
A Ockershausen: In Laurel.
Chris Broullire: In Laurel on Route 1, yeah.
A Ockershausen: I visited him in Laurel. I know him quite well and the other Broullire that worked for us at Comcast Sports Net ..
Chris Broullire: Bridget.
A Ockershausen: Bridget now has children, I understand?
Chris Broullire: She has a baby, a beautiful child and she’s been married for a while and has a beautiful child.
A Ockershausen: All these things are important because these people are a part of Our Town. The Broullires were very important and I know Tommy was and he was a Lincoln dealer and he grew up in H Street Northeast. I said he must have robbed somebody to get to be a Lincoln dealer? He must have stolen that dealership.
Chris Broullire: Well, he started, he was a great salesman. He was a terrific salesman, became a great sales manager and then Ford gave him a store in Laurel and he made it a huge success.
A Ockershausen: Chris, he was a special guy.
Chris Broullire: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Anybody that grew up on H Street in the pool room, that’s where they all hung out, Tommy and Henry Sacks and the group. How in the world, you get into the broadcast business with nothing from the automobile … You never went to work for the dealership.
Chris Broullire: Right.
A Ockershausen: Your dad … He tried to hire you?
Chris Broullire: No, I went to the University of Texas at Austin for four years and then came back and graduated from College Park after my father died.
A Ockershausen: At Austin is in the news again because about the tower. The anniversary of the tower shooting.
Chris Broullire: Right, right, that was before me, so I was not there during that time, but I got to work for the campus radio station at the University of Texas and I would stay up all night, trying to do my own production. I had an air shift and I just loved it. I just loved it. When I got back to the University of Maryland, I got a degree in radio, TV and film from College Park, graduated from College Park, worked at the campus radio station and that’s where I met my wife.
A Ockershausen: Wow.
Chris Broullire: I was at …
A Ockershausen: She was at the radio business, too?
Chris Broullire: She …
A Ockershausen: A lot of people have gone through that station over the years.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, WMUC, yeah.
A Ockershausen: Remember that, you know?
Chris Broullire: It was just an old shack where the business building is right now. I was a boss rock jock and I did a Monday air shift from a 3 to 6 and this was when Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills and Nash, that was current, Bad Company, that was current music. I didn’t notice this girl across the glass, did the news on the top of the hour and I would say, “And here’s Ann Russell with the news,” and then Ann would give the news. Whatever was going on campus or whatever riot or something that we were covering or whoever was streaking across the ground, probably my brother was streaking across the Maryland campus.
A Ockershausen: The streaking, boy, that was a time period, wasn’t it?
Chris Broullire: As well, my other brother, Michael, whoops … I guess he is busted now. I never did it, I never did it myself, but he was very …
A Ockershausen: Look, coming up on the Academy Awards, I remember the first one I saw live TV. The guy posed right in the middle of the award ceremony in front of 80 million people.
Chris Broullire: I met Ann because she was across the glass and then it finally dawned on me after about three or four months I said, “She’s kind of cute, so what’s up with that?” We started the semester in September and March 3rd was our first date, so it took me a while.
A Ockershausen: Wow, you did.
Chris Broullire: I was kind of slow.
A Ockershausen: A slow learner, too.
Chris Broullire: Slow learner, slow in everything and …
A Ockershausen: You were a slow learner to get behind the microphone because I tell everybody I was advised by my friend, Jim Gibbon, “Don’t get into sports, don’t be an announcer, get into sales because that’s where the money and the life is.”
Chris Broullire: Right and that worked for you.
A Ockershausen: Oh, my god.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, just stay, just a …
A Ockershausen: The greatest advice I ever got I’m telling you that.
Chris Broullire: Just a little bit.
A Ockershausen: Chris and then you came from Texas, of course, but the University of Maryland was great, but that was a learning experience, but you got into the broadcast business where the money was.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, on the sales side.
A Ockershausen: Right.
Chris Broullire: Well, I wanted to be a television producer and I just couldn’t … I interviewed at Channel 7 in the mailroom …
A Ockershausen: I didn’t turn you down.
Chris Broullire: … Anything, I would’ve done anything to work for a TV station.
A Ockershausen: Did you try them all?
Chris Broullire: No such jobs I did and then finally I got the word that “Chris, you ought to be in sales,” so I interviewed with Pierre Eaton at WINX.
A Ockershausen: Golly, that name conjures up memories of …
Chris Broullire: … 100 years ago and I interviewed on a Friday afternoon. Of course, he had this deep voice and he would talk like this.
A Ockershausen: A radio guy?
Chris Broullire: I had a very short interview on a Friday afternoon. He says, “When can you start?” I started Monday, the next day and I was a salesman.
A Ockershausen: With WINX?
Chris Broullire: With WINX.
A Ockershausen: WINX, AM Station.
Chris Broullire: Yes, thousand watt day timer. What was cool is that everybody did everything there, so the chief engineer would be on the air on Sunday mornings, just because that was part of his deal. He was the chief engineer. We had to …
A Ockershausen: We all had to make a living.
Chris Broullire: We had a guy that would live at the transmitter site because he didn’t have a home and he wouldn’t shower during the winter, but then during the summer he would use the garden hose and take a shower. This is a … Then just to spite Pierre, the chief engineer, who was doing his morning show on Sunday, would promo Monday – Friday and he would say, “Be sure to listen to fill in the announcer’s name every Monday – Friday.” He just read it as is, fill in the announcer’s name. He says “If you wanted me to read it, you should have put the name, so he just said, “Fill in the announcers name every Monday – Friday,” that’s the kind of station it was.
A Ockershausen: Well …
Chris Broullire: It was fun.
A Ockershausen: Yeah, we had a station like that. We used to run the radio from our transmitter site on Greentree Road. All the talent was out there and then all the sales and everything was in that. We got out of that when it became a real thing, but we had a chief engineer that … No, no, a transmitter engineer that was working daytime and he was one day outside washing his car when the FCC Commissioner came by to check all the parameters on the transmitter and he said, “I’m here from the FCC to check it out,” and he said, “Go ahead, help yourself. We don’t ever lock the door.” That was not smart. The commission fined us, all kind of problems.
Chris Broullire: Not a good idea.
A Ockershausen: We kept the engineer. He was a good guy, but he was trying to be helpful to the FCC. Here you go at WINX. Now WINX is a long way from the powerhouse stations you went to after WINX.
Chris Broullire: As a place to start.
A Ockershausen: But you learned.
Chris Broullire: I learned. I learned how to handle rejection because I got a lot of no’s and sales …
A Ockershausen: In sales that’s what it’s all about.
Chris Broullire: If you just keep going …
A Ockershausen: But you didn’t give up?
Chris Broullire: I didn’t give up. I was there for a year and a half.
A Ockershausen: That prepared you for charity work, but go ahead.
Chris Broullire: I outlasted all the other salespeople that started there. Then after that I got a job at WTOP and that was the beginning. That was a real station.
A Ockershausen: Oh my God, that was heaven.
Chris Broullire: That was big-time. That’s when the Bullets were in the playoffs.
A Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen. I’m talking to Chris Broullire and we’re going to take a break here, Chris because I want to hear the rest of the story.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town.
A Ockershausen: This is Our Town, Andy Ockershausen with a wonderful conversation with a wonderful guest, he’s not really a guest. He’s part of the atmosphere is Chris Broullire. Chris is at WINX, ends up going, not ends up but starts going to WTOP, a powerhouse radio station. I go back so far with them when they were downtown in the Earl Building, which doesn’t exist anymore.
Chris Broullire: Right.
A Ockershausen: The Earl Theater and all that.
Chris Broullire: This was at Broadcast House, next to Channel 9.
A Ockershausen: Oh, they had moved to that Broadcast House. They call it cast.
Chris Broullire: Right.
A Ockershausen: It wasn’t broadcast. It was broadcast. They were a little more important than WMAL in the days, but I had a call from the general manager of the station one day and said, “You might be one to know, we are carrying the University of Maryland football was the deal and we’re giving it up. We don’t want any live sports. We’re going to all news, 24/7 and you can’t have all news and interrupt it with a football.” I called Bill Covey at Maryland and I said, “We’ll take the games.” We had had them before and lost them, but they did us a great favor. How in the world do you get with all this ability, you get then to an FM station? Is that correct?
Chris Broullire: Yeah, so I went from WTOP to WASH. Sue Dalton hired me at WASH.
A Ockershausen: Sue, sweet Sue.
Chris Broullire: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Sioux City Sue. You know she worked for ABC on the West Coast. She worked for KABC Radio with all my friends in the business.
Chris Broullire: Okay, yeah, so she gave me my chance and I was at WASH in its what I will call “glory days.”
A Ockershausen: Oh my God. Eddie was doing a morning show?
Chris Broullire: Eddie Gallaher was doing the morning show. It’s so nice to know so many nice people.
A Ockershausen: Oh my God.
Chris Broullire: Then he would do the time check. He would say, “It’s 8:10 and that’s eight minutes after 10,” and people would go, “What?”
A Ockershausen: Eddie, we were just talking about him doing the commercial for the popovers.
Female: Normandy Farms.
A Ockershausen: Oh, he did …
Chris Broullire: He did Normandy Farms. Right?
A Ockershausen: He was fabulous.
Chris Broullire: And how about, was it Trotteria? What was it “Don’t forget to tip, Gus, don’t forget to …
Janice Ockershauen: I’ll help La Trottoria?
Chris Broullire: … Yeah, don’t forget to tip Gus the waiter.
A Ockershausen: He made a great, amazing talent. Willard Scott and Eddie Walker called him “Eddie Galluper,” and they would do a takeoff on him. Eddie Walker was a great mimic. I don’t know whether you knew that? He was fabulous.
Chris Broullire: He is so funny.
A Ockershausen: What a great talent.
Chris Broullire: He would do live restaurant commercials and make you salivate at 8:00 in the morning.
A Ockershausen: Really, really good salesman and I thought he was example and I tell Janice that all the time. I used to tell our guy, “You’re not here to read a commercial. You’re here to sell a product. If you want to know something, listen to Eddie Galluper sell some cheap ass restaurant,” but he would do it with flair.
Chris Broullire: He was great, yeah, absolutely.
A Ockershausen: Great and he kept coming back. Here you are then at W … That’s a powerhouse station with a Dalton. Incidentally, the Daltons I think one of them died, what of them passed away?
Chris Broullire: Bill, Bill has passed away.
A Ockershausen: Bill did? We saw them in Florida three or four years ago and had a great time.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, I think she still lives in Naples.
A Ockershausen: I think Sue was Sue Torren or something like that?
Chris Broullire: Mmm-hmm (affirmative)
A Ockershausen: That’s where I knew her at ABC.
Chris Broullire: Great lady.
A Ockershausen: Now you’re in the broadcast business and then the first time I run into you again, you’re in the cable business.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, went to Comcast Cable, Comcast Spotlight.
A Ockershausen: You went first to Meloy didn’t you, before that?
Chris Broullire: Well, that was at WGMS, so she hired me. Catherine Meloy hired me in 1994 to be the general sales manager at WGMS when it was Classical 103.5.
A Ockershausen: Right, she had just gotten that job.
Chris Broullire: She was fairly new as a general manager I think, yeah.
A Ockershausen: No question.
Chris Broullire: I was there for six years and when we started the revenue was $6 million a year and after six years it was $12 million a year.
A Ockershausen: Oh, I think incredible, incredible run. You know how Catherine got that job?
Chris Broullire: I don’t.
A Ockershausen: They wanted to hire me. I said, “I can’t do classical music. I never listen to this station.”
Chris Broullire: But you’re a classy guy?
A Ockershausen: I said, “I have a candidate for you, true story,” and they interviewed Cat.
Chris Broullire: She used to work for you at WMH.
A Ockershausen: Absolutely, right here.
Chris Broullire: Right, right.
A Ockershausen: Very dear friends of ours and Catherine was sitting right here and knew the whole story, but she was the easiest hire they ever made. She took that station, woom, which I knew she would do.
Chris Broullire: Oh, she’s a great lady and a great leader.
A Ockershausen: Oh my God, it’s what it’s all about.
Chris Broullire: And people love working for her.
A Ockershausen: It’s what she’s done for her charity.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, that’s right at Goodwill.
A Ockershausen: Look at what you have done for your charity? Chris, why and then you were so successful making a lot of dough at Comcast, winning a lot of awards.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, we did.
A Ockershausen: Why would you leave that?
Chris Broullire: I just … When Bennett Zier came back to Clear Channel, he hired me at DC 101. My last job in radio was general sales manager at DC 101 and Elliott in the Morning. I don’t know? You just get radio in the blood.
A Ockershausen: It’s true.
Chris Broullire: You love the people.
A Ockershausen: Look at us.
Chris Broullire: You especially, yeah, you especially love the people in radio and you love the energy and the excitement. I was the general sales manager at DC 101 and then I got …
A Ockershausen: A big powerhouse in our town, absolute powerhouse.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, yeah, Elliott in the Morning.
A Ockershausen: What was the man’s name that … When they put that station on the map? We just saw his son’s working here now Janny?
Chris Broullire: LaBar.
A Ockershausen: Scott LaBar is here, but the old man is in Florida. I worked a lot with him over the years growing up and a matter of fact, I had to go to him to hire the Grease Man, who was doing a show on Channel 50 and The Grease Man wouldn’t accept it. I had to go to his boss to get him hired and he did. He made a deal with us and we did a Redskins Show with The Grease Man. It was so much fun.
Chris Broullire: He is so funny, The Grease Man is so funny.
A Ockershausen: Oh my, what an amazing talent. In fact, he went overboard unfortunately. Here you are at WGMS making a lot of dough and then you get into the cable television business.
Chris Broullire: Right. Into Comcast and then was there for a while and then like I say, Bennett called me and hired me at DC 101. I was there for about a year and a half. The radio business has changed a lot.
A Ockershausen: Wow, that’s putting it mildly.
Chris Broullire: Especially at that time and so when I got a call from Jean Oates, who was my boss at WPGC, so we skipped over a couple of stations. I have been at more stations than an Amtrak locomotive.
A Ockershausen: Let me tell you something. You couldn’t keep a job. You were making so much money they found a way to get rid of you.
Chris Broullire: Usually, it was up every time. Jean Oates was leaving the MS Society. She had been there for 12 years, The National MS Society, multiple sclerosis and she says, “I’m going to retire. Are you interested?” I became chapter president of the MS Society and I was there for eight years.
A Ockershausen: You left then the broadcasts for the cable business?
Chris Broullire: Right, left DC one-on-one to go to …
A Ockershausen: Oh, you left the cable and went back?
Chris Broullire: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: I don’t know why you would ever leave the cable?
Chris Broullire: I can’t keep it straight either.
A Ockershausen: You were getting awards. I know you were doing so well with Spotlight and you were number one. I know you were cleaning up because we knew what was going on. Spotlight was killing us for a while in games and rates. We’ve been talking to Chris and I’m going to be back with you Chris and talk about your new life and number of lives. This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen, brought to you by Best Bar Communications.
A Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and Chris Broullire. I’m now going to switch to Chris’ present life or present lives to me is he is Mr. Charity. He worked for the MS Society. I know what that is, the National MS Society. I did some promotions with you. I know what that is, but for the life of me Alzheimer’s Association was a new word until I found out about you being there and you being CEO. Why do I get confused between Alzheimer’s and what is the other big charity, Janny?
Janice Ockershausen: Dementia.
A Ockershausen: Dementia, I’m confused. Maybe I have dementia, but …
Chris Broullire: You don’t have dementia.
A Ockershausen: I hear them both and are they the same?
Chris Broullire: They are not exactly the same. Dementia is kind of the umbrella word for all dementias. Alzheimer’s is one of dementias. As different diseases affect different parts of the brain, you have frontal temporal dementia. You have Louis Body Disease. You have Alzheimer’s. Different parts of the brain are affected and so they have different names of different diseases, but they’re all called dementia. We use Alzheimer’s as kind of a shorthand for dementia, but we work to fund research for a cure for all dementias, including Alzheimer’s.
A Ockershausen: This is for Our Town, how big is your territory? I know you’re in there’s the number of states that we are.
Chris Broullire: Right, it’s pretty much the same as the broadcast signal. It’s Gaithersburg Fredericksburg and it’s Winchester to Solomon’s Island.
A Ockershausen: I knew of your MS work. Isn’t MS somewhat brain-related also?
Chris Broullire: It is. It’s a neurologic disease, but it’s a different kind of disease.
A Ockershausen: Well, you were very successful. How long eight years with them?
Chris Broullire: Eight years at the MS Society, yeah. I came over to Alzheimer’s because my mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s and so it’s personal. It’s a very, very similar job. I’m the chapter president so I manage a staff of about 25 people and raise money, but it’s personal for me because my mother-in-law … Annie’s mother insisted on living by herself and we found her an apartment near Montgomery Mall. We checked on her twice a day, but she wanted to live by herself, didn’t want to live in a home.
A Ockershausen: I hear that frequently but go ahead.
Chris Broullire: We went in to check on here at 6:00 one night and she was gone and her car was gone. We drove all over Bethesda trying to find Mom. We couldn’t find her, called the police. They put a bulletin out to find Mrs. Russell. My wife got a call in the middle of the night and what had happened was she was driving up and down Connecticut Avenue and there’s a trafficl light at Porter Street, Porter Street and Connecticut Avenue. There’s a firehouse right there by the traffic light on Porter Street.
A Ockershausen: There’s a Chinese restaurant there, too.
Chris Broullire: It’s a good restaurant. She stopped at the traffic light and it turned green, it turned red, it turned green, it turned red and she forgot how to drive in the middle of the night. A fireman comes out of the house right there on Porter Street and goes, “Lady, are you all right?” Put it all together, called the police. My wife gets a call at 3:00 in the morning, “We found your mother.” Then she was diagnosed officially. We should have seen it coming because what happens is she would drive to our house which is very near her condo and she couldn’t find her way home, so she would park in our driveway, which is 2 miles from her house and she would start to cry because she couldn’t find her way home. My wife would get in the car and then try to lead her back to her own home. We should have seen it coming, but I think now there’s a lot more awareness of people with dementia, than it was …
A Ockershausen: This is where you come in and your society comes in, correct?
Chris Broullire: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Awareness.
Chris Broullire: What we should have done at that time and we didn’t know, we didn’t know enough is we have a terrific website, ALZ.org. Anything you want to know about Alzheimer’s or dementia is available on ALZ.org. We also have an 800 hotline. It’s 800-272-3900. If people have any questions about Alzheimer’s or dementia or “I think mom is acting differently now?” or “what do I do?” If they have legal questions, they have medical, insurance questions.
A Ockershausen: Wow, full-service.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, it really is. “Where do I put mom?” “What’s a senior living home that I can find for mom?” All of that, we have a helpline and that’s just one of the things that we do 24/7 that we can put people on the right course to get some help. We didn’t know that. This was some years ago.
A Ockershausen: What kind of number do you think you are working with that you are aware of?
Chris Broullire: Yeah, people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s at least 5 million people and then they say that for every person with dementia, there’s three people that give care to that person. Two thirds of the people with Alzheimer’s are women and most of the caregivers are women. They say for every person that has Alzheimer’s, there’s three caregivers. There’s 15 million people and if you know anybody that’s been a caregiver, man, that’s a full-time job. You have your hands full working with and helping somebody who has Alzheimer’s.
A Ockershausen: We went through that partially with Janice’s dad about doing things out of the ordinary, like taking a drive and so forth that were unspecified and finally he had to get assisted living because he couldn’t stay there anymore.
Chris Broullire: A lot of people are wanderers, so sometimes they’ll just walk out the front door and just walk.
A Ockershausen: I hear about that all the time and wonder.
Chris Broullire: There’s a lady in Burke, Virginia, that just died over the winter because she wandered and fell into lake. You can wander outside on foot or you can get in a car and wander so it’s pretty scary.
Female: But there is a duration of maybe 14 years sometimes between the first signs of it and then …
Chris Broullire: There can be. If you have a qualified physician that they can diagnose. There’s a bulletin we put out called “Know the Ten Signs,” and there are certain things you can look for and a physician is really the person to diagnose somebody officially. If anybody thinks that there is an issue, they should go see a neurologist and ask about it.
A Ockershausen: Get some proof. Why is it there are more women than men?
Chris Broullire: It’s just … That’s what we’re trying to find out. That’s part of the research. Is it hormonal? Is it because women live longer?
A Ockershausen: They do. That’s true.
Chris Broullire: The biggest risk factor in getting Alzheimer’s is older age. As we all get older, us baby boomers become older, there’s a bigger risk factor.
A Ockershausen: That’s true.
Chris Broullire: Women have more of that respect. There’s all kinds of theories about why is it more women, but that’s one of the things we’re studying.
A Ockershausen: You’ve got such an enormous problem here, the society has it. How do you handle that with your fundraising? Because it comes down to getting support.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, there’s more awareness now than ever. More people than ever understand what Alzheimer’s is or dementias and what can they do about it.
A Ockershausen: That’s your research project.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, so we fund research ourselves. The Alzheimer’s Association funds millions of dollars in research, but we also, most of the funding comes through the federal government. It is bipartisan because everybody understands, Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. Everybody can get Alzheimer’s and if we don’t fund it now, if we don’t find a cure soon, in 30 years Medicare will be overwhelmed, just imagine the expense for Medicare if all those people get to be that age and then develop Alzheimer’s?
A Ockershausen: People are living longer. No question about that.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, that’s right.
A Ockershausen: Society.
Chris Broullire: And are active longer, too, and smarter longer, but we’re hoping that Congress will approve and the president will sign $1.4 billion research funding for Alzheimer’s and other diseases, too.
A Ockershausen: Neurological.
Chris Broullire: Yeah and cancer and heart disease and Alzheimer’s, it’s all included, but it comes through NIH. If we do get the funding we think we can find a cure soon, within a few … I’m not going to pick a date, but within a few years.
A Ockershausen: Janny, what is that? That’s your ALZ.org?
Chris Broullire: That’s the website and that’s the national website, so anybody …
A Ockershausen: But then they will get down to local?
Chris Broullire: You start with ALZ.org and then you pick the town where you live. If you live in Washington area, you choose our chapter and then you can connect directly with somebody here at our helpline.
A Ockershausen: If you’re a minimal degree successful in this job as you were in broadcast, you will raise a lot of money. I know that Chris because you begin to sell when people tell you no. If you worked for WINX, you know what a bitch it is to sell. It’s not easy.
Chris Broullire: Well, it’s funny …
A Ockershausen: You’re selling a product and it’s not easy because people don’t want to hear it.
Chris Broullire: Yeah, well but I also find that people in this town are very generous …
A Ockershausen: Absolutely, I agree wholeheartedly.
Chris Broullire: They are very generous and they want to do the right thing. We have to find people that are connected to Alzheimer’s because there are a lot of great causes, heart disease and cancer and kidney and all of the great causes, but if someone has Alzheimer’s in their family they are going to be likely to connect with us.
A Ockershausen: It’s sort of a hidden disease, too, is it not?
Chris Broullire: It can be.
A Ockershausen: I know when people something is wrong with them and they limp, but this Alzheimer’s, you can’t say they have Alzheimer’s …
Chris Broullire: Well, it wasn’t that long ago if you’d say, “Well, what’s wrong with dad? Oh, he’s just getting senile?” Or hardening of the arteries or …
A Ockershausen: Like old age.
Chris Broullire: “Oh, he’s just getting old.”
A Ockershausen: Excuse.
Chris Broullire: People didn’t understand what that was and so now people are becoming aware that it really is dementia and Alzheimer’s and there is something that people can do about it.
A Ockershausen: Well Chris, I know you are going to be successful. You have already done it and any help we can give you and thank you so much for giving us this great opportunity with the podcast. As I told you, this is going to be up in the stratosphere forever. Tell your friends to tune us in to Ourtowndc.com. It will always be there.
Chris Broullire: Great, ALZ.org, thank you. Thanks for the chance, Andy.
A Ockershausen: Chris, this has been a great, great conversation, good luck to you and it’s too bad that Meloy let you go.
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