Robert, always Bob, DeMarco passed away recently – and we have all lost a true patient leader, a tireless advocate, researcher, and supporter for Alzheimer’s caregivers, a gifted author, and an inexhaustible speaker.
Bob never sought awards or recognition for his Alzheimer’s work, but his legions of followers made sure his dedication and far-reaching impact were noticed. He won multiple WEGO Health Awards with his Alzheimer’s Reading Room blog, Facebook page, and email group. Purely by word of mouth and the power of his remarkable content, he brought hope, light and a trove of practical advice to millions.
I am one of the luckiest of the millions – Bob lived in my hometown of Delray Beach, Florida. He moved to Delray Beach in 2003, leaving behind a powerhouse financial services career to become Alzheimer’s caregiver for his mother Dottie. I met him after Dottie had passed, but he was still fiercely dedicated to the Alzheimer’s community, and I asked him to have a beer with me.
That first beer together lasted three hours. Bob’s relentless curiosity and energy were infectious – our long talks ricocheted from search engine science to Delray politics to Alzheimer’s research and clinical trials to his career in New York. That first time and every time after, we would talk about Dottie too; how he had found so many ways to understand “Dottie’s World” as he called it, and to make her life
with Alzheimer’s not just safe but rewarding and happy and fun.
Bob passed that wisdom, that irreplaceable love, and hard-won experience, along to everyone facing Alzheimer’s and to those of us at Health Union WEGO who had the chance to know him personally.
I spoke to him just a day before he passed, and his only regret was that he hadn’t done enough – that if he’d done more to fight his cancer, he could have done more for us all. We talked about that, and I did the best I could to tell him that Bob’s World really had made the world a better place.
Bob was a phenomenal Alzheimer’s patient leader and a collaborative member of (legacy) WEGO Health. The winner of the 2016 WEGO Health Awards Best In Show: Blog, Bob held webinars and live events for patient leaders to learn from his patient leader expertise. You can view one of his past webinars here.