Since last November’s scary incident in which B. Smith went missing for seventeen hours (but was thankfully found safe and sound), we’ve been following her progress in living with Alzheimer’s Disease. In an exclusive interview with the Today show’s Al Roker, Smith (the “B” stands for Barbara) further disclosed her ongoing battle and offered a positive-thinking update. The segment with her old friend Roker also gave way to introducing her PSA commercial with the organization Brain Health Registry to spread awareness about mental health.
With her husband of 23 years by her side Dan Gasby, the loving couple spoke frankly about fighting the incurable condition. In having it for the last four years, the restaurateur, TV host and first Black model of Mademoiselle magazine said “I deal with the [disease] in a practical way. I know that I’ve got a problem. It doesn’t make me happy. Sometimes it makes me teary. But because I have great support, I’m doing fine. I’m doing really good.” She added, “I am fighting. I’m fighting right now.”
Gasby too has come to terms with her illness, as he admitted that he felt hurt and shocked that the Alzheimer’s diagnosis was a reality, “You don’t believe it—there’s total denial.” He also remembers all too vividly the time she missing in Southampton that November, “I thought I lost her. I thought I lost her. It was like living in a nightmare, but you’re awake.”
Through her PSA, Smith and Gasby are looking to educate and encourage everyone and people of color especially to seek help and treatment if they are feeling symptoms are or living will full-blown diseases. Via the Today show website, “According to the Alzheimer’s Association, African-Americans are twice as likely as Whites to develop the disease, while Hispanics are one-and-a-half times as likely as Whites to develop it.”
So great of Smith that even through her own struggle she hopes to invoke change and encourage others to stay strong!
Check Out B. Smith’s Alzheimer’s PSA below: