Wednesday marked World Alzheimer’s Day, a disease that some Montrealers believe local researchers will soon be able to stamp out.

Among the disease’s casualties was Cyril Reitman, a Montrealer well known for the clothing store that bears his name.

“It was horrendous to see this man decline,” said Reitman’s widow, Dorothy. “It just broke my heart to watch this, and as it happened, I decided it must never happen again. We must prevent this.”

Dorothy Reitman is now the driving force behind a fundraising campaign aimed at helping Montreal-based scientists to find a cure.

Among those researchers is Jacob Vogel of McGill University’s integrative program in neuroscience. He works in Dr. Alan Evan’s lab, which specializes in brain imaging, or the mapping and rendering of how the brain works.

“We take massive amounts of information, data, biological data, integrate it and try to understand things like disease and development,” said Vogel. “We try to understand the brain better.”

The brain’s complexity has been an obstacle to truly understanding it but Vogel said the new technology available at the lab is changing that.

“The data is finally representative of that complexity,” he said. “Now, we’re able to represent that complexity, perhaps we can find the questions to the answers to the questions we’re asking.”

It’s estimated that one in five Baby Boomers will be affected by Alzheimer’s, a potential problem which would be not just a burden on families, but on the state-run healthcare system.

“We’re reaching out to the younger generation to say this is a risk to them,” said Reitman. “This is not something that’s just off in the future and won’t happen.”

You can donate to the Montreal Alzheimer For a Cure campaign here