We first met Dr. Petsko in 2012 when we were advocating before City Council for more funding for Alzheimer’s programming. When Dr. Petsko learned about our work he eagerly offered to help in any way possible. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Petsko served as our first ever scientist interviewee, for the original Sweet Readers documentary and explained to the world “Anybody who knows anything about medicine understands that one of the most potent healing weapons we have is the human touch; but that isn’t necessarily only restricted to physical contact. It’s also the meeting of one mind with another and the connection of an emotion between two people.”
About Sweet Readers, Dr. Petsko has commented:
“I’ve sat in a room with Alzheimer’s patients and those kids, and watched what happens…I saw the miracle of human contact and the human touch. I would love to see every Alzheimer’s patient in the country have the benefit of something like this.”
Dr. Petsko then served as the leader of our science training, speaking before hundreds of students each year at the Trinity School in Manhattan where we brought together many different school partners. Dr. Petsko explained inflammation and the crisis of our ballooning elderly population in a way not only completely relatable to a middle school child, but inspiring and as Dr. Petsko commented, some of the questions he received from our youngest Sweet Readers were as interesting and insightful as those from the M.I.T. students he has taught.
As we have expanded geographically, Dr. Petsko allowed us to interview his presentation to play for students around the world. Dr. Petsko has helped thousands of Sweet Readers to understand Alzheimer’s and feel empowered to discover the person behind the disease. He has opened up science, removed it from a faraway pedestal and inspired so many of our Sweet Readers to want to pursue a career in science. Inspired by Dr. Petsko’s Sweet Readers training, the Chapin School in Manhattan strengthened the brain science portion of their curriculum for their fifth graders!
We are so very grateful to have Dr. Petsko as an invaluable part of the Sweet Readers family! Thank you Dr. Petsko!