Embedded journalism typically refers to news reporters attached to military units engaged in war.
In the case of Greg O’Brien, the term applies to the award-winning journalist’s personal battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. O’Brien is embedded in his own mind, chronicling his journey with hope, faith and humor in his new book On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s.
O’Brien will speak and sign books from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, 555 N. Central Ave. Sponsored by Hospice of the Valley, the “Voices of Alzheimer’s” event also includes the agency’s dementia program director Maribeth Gallagher – a doctor of nursing practice and national expert on the disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
O’Brien was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2009, at the age of 59.
His mother and grandfather also had the disease; they share a common gene. O’Brien decided to face down the demon and write about it, chronicling moments like gargling with rubbing alcohol instead of mouthwash, introducing himself to a friend he’d known for decades, and getting lost for hours on a drive then coasting into his driveway at home with the lights off to escape detection.
With more than 35 years’ experience as a writer, editor, investigative reporter and publisher – including The Arizona Republic – O’Brien tells his story with grace and insight. It is a story about living with Alzheimer’s, not dying from it. O’Brien lives with his family in Cape Cod, where he served as editor of the local newspaper.
There is no charge for the event, which is open to the public. A short documentary film clip about O’Brien and his family produced by “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James will be shown. Valley businessman Ray Artigue, a Cronkite board member, will moderate the event. A question-and-answer session also will be held followed by light refreshments.
To RSVP, contact 602-636-5394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.