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ADRC receives visit from Miss North Carolina

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) received a surprise visitor on Wednesday--Victoria Huggins, the newly crowned Miss North Carolina. Huggins toured the ADRC as a part of her advocacy work to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and help people with the condition.

As part of her visit, Huggins learned about the development of Alzheimer’s disease, saw and held preserved brain specimens at the Kathleen Price Bryan Brain Bank and Biorepository, and learned about ongoing research to treat and prevent the condition.

Brain Bank
Huggins receives a tour of the Bryan Brain Bank from John Ervin.

Huggins said that her passion for helping people with Alzheimer’s disease began when she was a child, when she would visit nursing homes to comfort and sing for their residents. Huggins recalled a moment where a patient with Alzheimer’s who had not recognized her husband in months reached over to him and said “Honey, that’s our song,” during Huggins’ rendition of “At last.”

“When you have a moment like that you see something that’s bigger than yourself. And that’s why I wanted to start advocating to help people with Alzheimer’s disease,” Huggins said.

Miss North Carolina is a scholarship pageant associated with the nationwide Miss America pageant. Huggins was awarded the title of Miss North Carolina in June. She will appear on the Miss America competition this September. A graduate of UNC-Pembroke, Huggins is pursuing a master’s degree in political science at Johns Hopkins.

Simon Davis, PhD (right), discusses his research on how aging affects the brain during Huggins' tour.