About the Book
Supermodel, restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven, B. Smith is struggling with a tag she never expected to add to that string: early onset Alzheimer’s patient.
Working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, B. and her husband, Dan, unstintingly share B.’s unfolding story. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with Lessons Learned, their practical and helpful advice, readers travel with them as they learn to deal with Alzheimer’s day-to-day challenges, the family tensions, and ways of coping. At its heart, though, Before I Forget is a love story: illuminating a love of family, life, and hope. Though filled with scary moments and dark days, it is ultimately an uplifting account, coming out at a time of exciting medical progress that may not help B. in time, but will ultimately help us all combat this dreaded deadly disease.
Praise for Before I Forget
"What an amazing couple and what an amazing book! It is medically and scientifically accurate, and yet places this devastating disease in the context of a beautiful and intimate relationship. We must do better as a community, in our families and within our government in responding to this disease. African-Americans are especially called upon to get more involved in the research as this disease disproportionately impacts us."
—Dr. David Satcher, Former Surgeon General of the United States
“B. and her husband Dan made it to the top by breaking through societal barriers. Now they are facing down her heart- breaking diagnosis and fighting to live each day with love and dignity. Read Before I Forget to understand how Alzheimer’s tests both patient and family. Admire their courage, honesty, and how they use their celebrity to advocate for research and prevention.”
—Meryl Comer, president of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative and author of Slow Dancing With A Stranger: Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer's
“An important story, told with utter honesty. With Alzheimer’s, all of us are at risk, though for reasons no one quite understands yet, African-Americans are especially vulnerable - a message this book conveys powerfully. Before I Forget is a deeply personal call to arms.”
“For those who have Alzheimer’s now, there are lifestyle measures that may allay some symptoms of the disease – measures that B. and Dan report on in this helpful and poignant book. There is also so much that family caregivers can learn about how to deal with Alzheimer’s and its many emotional challenges, hardships and, if one is looking, the state of grace it sometimes brings.”
—From the Foreword by Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.
"This book is an act of courage and generosity. Courage is reflected both in the extraordinary strength Dan and B. have displayed over the course of the disease and their willingness to be honest—at times brutally so—about its progression. This honesty results in an intelligent and accessible work of insight, wisdom, and advice to all who will be touched in some way by this terrible disease. The "Lessons Learned" sections would alone make it required reading. It is a clarion call for better research, better treatment, and above all else better understanding of one of the great health care crises of our time. I commend this to everyone because all of us have or will be touched by this disease. Before I Forget is destined to be a landmark in the conquest of Alzheimer's."
—Neil Kerwin, Ph.D., President, American University, and Professor of Public Administration and Policy
"A brave and important story, told with candor, love and useful information. Before I Forget offers a real glimpse into what Alzheimer’s actually looks like in a loved one, and sheds a hopeful light on why this disease needs much more research, funding, and attention."—Kimberly Williams-Paisley, actor and author of Where the Light Gets In
"Before I Forget, Dan Gasby's valentine to his wife, B. Smith, courageously lifts the veil that shields those with Alzheimer's. It is moving testimony to the power of love and the true meaning of what "in sickness and health" really means. Before I Forget is, quite simply, unforgettable."
—George and Trish Vradenburg, Co-Founders, USAgainstAlzheimer'
About the Authors
B. SMITH is a true American success story. Born in rural western Pennsylvania and faced with what would be for most insurmountable obstacles, Barbara “B.” Smith was one of the first supermodels. She wrote three highly acclaimed cookbooks and over a 28-year period founded three successful restaurants, while also launching a nationally syndicated television show and a magazine. She is still the only African-American woman with home products distributed exclusively at Bed Bath & Beyond. She is also a recipient of numerous national and local awards for helping those in need.
DAN GASBY has been a television media sales executive and a television producer for both network & syndicated programs. He helped publish and launch B.’s eponymous magazine and helped cofound her lifestyle retail brand.
MICHAEL SHNAYERSON is a long-time contributing editor to Vanity Fair. He is also the author or co-author of six books, among them entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte’s My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race and Defiance, published in 2011. He has just published an unauthorized biography of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, The Contender.