About

Our Story

Rick Sharp was an innovative leader and dynamic businessman known for his many passions and his ability to change industries. He was the CEO of Circuit City, the nation’s first big box electronics retailer. He was a founding investor and CEO for the shoe brand Crocs. In 1993, he disrupted the used car industry, founding mega-retailer CarMax. By 2013, CarMax had over $12.5 Billion in annual sales at over 135 locations.

Rick was also a devoted friend, father, and husband. He married his high school sweetheart, Sherry, in 1968, and they remained married, best friends, and passionate in their pursuits until his death 46 years later in 2014. In addition to Sherry, he left behind two daughters and four grandchildren.

Much like his passions in business and his hobbies, Rick’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2010 brought a passion for finding a cure for the deadly disease that would take his life four years later. He and Sherry donated more than $5 million for Alzheimer’s research, and he joined the advisory board of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Upon his death, Sherry joined the board of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, and together with some of Rick’s business associates, friends, and fellow advocates, founded the Rick Sharp Alzheimer’s Foundation. Since its founding, we’ve been able to donate over $1.5 million with every dollar going directly to research.

Rick’s passions now live through all of us, and together, we can find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

THE DISEASE

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, and affects almost 6 million Americans and approximately 44 million people worldwide. Of those, almost two thirds are women. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes a physical atrophy of the brain. Alzheimer’s begins to attack the brain for up to 20 years before the first symptoms manifest themselves.

The first symptoms are often signs of memory loss or confusion. Greater cognitive skills are gradually lost before physical deterioration begins.

While there is no certain single cause of Alzheimer’s, there have been several risk factors identified. These include age, certain gene variants, elderly sleep patterns, and more. Yet while genes have been shown to increase risk, it is not thought to be an inherited disease.

There are many things that you can do to improve the overall health of your brain – including diet, healthy sleep, and meditation – and there are some treatments that can ease some of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.

There remains no known cure for Alzheimer’s, and death after diagnosis is a certainty.

THE FIGHT

The Rick Sharp Alzheimer’s Foundation “Alzheimer’s Day in RVA” in conjunction with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, will bring world class researchers and scientists to the Science Museum of Virginia to update us all on the latest discoveries in the fight to cure Alzheimer’s, and ways that you can enhance your brain health. Rarely will you get such an opportunity to interact with the people who are on the front lines of this battle. Among them will be Dr. Rudy Tanzi, Vice Chair of Neurology and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital.

THE RESEARCH

The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research with the highest probability of preventing, slowing or reversing Alzheimer’s disease. Many of the dollars raised by the Rick Sharp Alzheimer’s Foundation have gone to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. The organization’s unwavering focus on finding a cure is made possible by their Board of Directors, which finances all of their overhead expenses so that 100% of all donations go to research.

Since its founding, The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $74,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for several key breakthroughs including a potential treatment recently selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its elite “Blueprint” drug discovery program, and the ground-breaking “Alzheimer’s in a Dish” study, which promises to greatly accelerate drug testing and was reported by The New York Times as a “giant step forward.”

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Sherry Sharp
Dr. Randy Baggesen

Richard Birnbaum
Giff Breed

Steve Cannon
Jeff O’Flaherty