From our first breath to our last, the stories we hear and the stories we tell define who we are and how we perceive our world.

Stories connect us by revealing universal truths. They create patterns of thought and behavior that become indelibly ingrained into our subconscious.

It is the power of personal stories (and the memories they make) that gives the specter of Alzheimer's disease such strength, regardless of an individual's location, ethnicity or philosophical leanings.

Read the full story: "Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's."

The disease is viewed as a story-stealer—one of the few ailments powerful enough to strike at that which makes us uniquely human. By pilfering our personal narratives, Alzheimer's threatens to disintegrate our humanity, one recollection at a time.

Who are we, if not an accumulation of a lifetime of experiences?

A shell, a husk, a hollow container—this is how the world views men and women with Alzheimer's disease.

So influential is this perception that those who are diagnosed are soon written off as a tragically lost cause; incapable of learning, growing or forming relationships. Everyone buys into this image. The person with the disease believes it, their family believes it, society believes it, and the notion of hope becomes just another shattered memory.

The stigma of Alzheimer's tends to silence those touched by the disease. But with no medical antidote to the epidemic appearing on the horizon, some are fashioning a different kind of remedy, spun from their very own, real-life stories of tragedy and triumph.

By sharing their experiences, these inspiring individuals support and educate one another in a collective display of human empathy unmatched by any benefit concert, fundraiser or government initiative. They exist as living proof that people whose realities have been forever altered by Alzheimer's still have stories to tell.

These are the tales that inspired the Fade to Blank project, an account of six separate lives, united by one deadly disease.

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These men and women have offered up their candid accounts, agreeing to let you into some of the most private aspects of their lives.

Their offering will enable you to gain a truer understanding of what life is really like for those faced with the reality of a mind slowly fading to blank.

All they ask is that you listen, you learn and you grow.

Read the full story: "Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's."