After months of waiting, he's one of the 1st in AZ to get new Alzheimer's drug Leqembi

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Friday, August 11, 2023 - 10:17am
Updated: Friday, August 11, 2023 - 10:18am

Kathy Ritchie
Leonard Chayrez of Phoenix was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease three years ago. Here he is with his care partner, Mark Garrity

In April, we told you the story about a man living with early onset Alzheimer’s. At the time, he was waiting for the Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi to be approved by the FDA. It finally was in July. KJZZs Kathy Ritchie caught up with him to discuss the treatment.

Leonard Chayrez and partner Mark Garrity are in a bit of a hurry.  

"I am heading out to the infusion center," Chayrez said. "And I'll be getting my second round of Leqembi."

Chayrez is 57 years old and was one of the first people in Arizona to be prescribed Leqembi. For him, it was everything.

"How would you describe it?" he asks his partner of more than 20 years, Garrity.

"Emotionally raw," Garrity said. "Emotionally raw. I mean, it was like, I was crying at the weather. I was crying at every little thing because it was like all the work and everything that has gone into the effort of trying to get it going."

Chayrez knows Leqembi won’t cure him, but he does hope it will slow the progression enough so he can wait until the next Alzheimer’s breakthrough.

Kathy Ritchie
Leonard Chayrez and his longtime partner Mark Garrity at a recent Alzheimer's Association event.

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