For many members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Alzheimer’s disease has been an unwelcome visitor, robbing them of family, friends and fellow Eagles. But, in classic Eagles tradition, they chose to fight back with a donation to support Alzheimer’s research at OMRF.
At their annual meeting this month in Spiro, the state branch of the Eagles presented a check for $5,800 to OMRF. The funds will be used to support Alzheimer’s research in the laboratories of OMRF’s Jordan Tang, Ph.D. Donations were raised through various fundraising events like auctions and bake sales throughout the past year.
“Alzheimer’s makes families feel just as hopeless as cancer or other life-threatening diseases,” said Eagles past state president Mary Bourne. “We hope our gift to OMRF can be used to help scientists learn more about it.”
Tang is one of the world’s leading experts on proteases, a group of proteins crucial to human health. His work has led to a deeper understanding of these vital proteins and to new treatments for HIV/AIDS, hypertension and, most recently, an Alzheimer’s drug that is currently in human clinical trials.
His research has been recognized and honored by the Guggenheim Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences and United Nations. The holder of the J.G. Puterbaugh Chair in Medical Research at OMRF, Tang is the only Oklahoman ever to receive the Alzheimer’s Association of America’s highest research prize, the $1 million Pioneer Award.
“There is currently no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, so we must explore every possible option to find a way to stop it,” Tang said. “We are grateful that the Fraternal Order of Eagles has chosen to take action against the disease and saw OMRF as a place worthy of their support.”
Since its founding in 1898, the Fraternal Order of Eagles has given more than $100 million to charity with emphasis on supporting the armed forces, police and firefighters, funding disease research and assisting needy children and the elderly. There are more than 1,700 aeries (chapters) and auxiliaries in the U.S. and Canada. In Oklahoma, groups operate in Bartlesville, Chickasha, El Reno, Muskogee, Spiro and Stillwater.