B. Smith's Fight with Alzheimer’s Ends

Early onset Alzheimer’s disease is hard on everyone involved. For B. Smith she deals with it in a practical way.

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B. Smith's Fight with Alzheimer’s Ends
3 Min Read July 10th, 2015 Updated:June 16th, 2020

B. Smith's ordeal with Alzheimer's finally ended in February, 2020. The model, restaurateur, and lifestyle guru Barbara 'B.' Smith died at age 70.

Her husband Dan Gasby announced in a Facebook post that she passed away 'peacefully' while receiving hospice care in her home in Long Island. 

She had been in the news due to the unusual way her long-term care was provided. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2013. Her situation received extensive media attention when Gasby revealed that he had a girlfriend who was helping to care for his wife. Smith was married to Gasby.

Many media outlets, including  NBC's Today Show, reported on his relationship with a woman who was caring for his wife, who, despite suffering from Alzheimer's, was still his legal wife.

 In a Facebook post in December of 2018 he wrote that he was in a relationship with Alex Lerner, age 53 at the time. The post sparked a negative response from many people who see it as inappropriate while his wife still battled Alzheimer's.

In a March, 2015 story in People, Kimberly Seigle wrote a story explaining B. Smith's determination not to let Alzheimer's bring her down.

“I had tears in my eyes, but at that same time, I said, ‘I’m not gonna give to it. I’m gonna fight. I am going to fight.”

Barbara Smith, who is best known as B

She spoke with Al Roker and discussed her diagnosis on NBC's Today Show.

“I deal with it in a practical way.” 

Barbara Smith

“I know that I’ve got a problem. It doesn’t make me happy. Sometimes it makes me teary, but because I have great support … I’m doing fine. I’m doing really good.”

Dan Gasby, that support is her husband of 23 years, .

“You don't believe it, there’s total denial, he told Roker of learning about Smiths illness at the time. “And then you go to a point of anger and then you go to a point of frustration. And then you go to a point where you curse God and you say, ‘Why? She doesn’t deserve this.’ She is the sweetest human being, bar none.”

Smith, who in 1976 became one of the first African-American models to grace the cover of Mademoiselle magazine, resorted her indomitable spirit to deal with her then diagnosis – and determination to help others.

“I'm going to wash those tears and just continue to go back and be a better person even than I've been in the past.” 

B. Smith

In fact, the former host of daytime show B. Smith with Style filmed a public service announcement with the ‘Brain Health Registry’ to raise awareness for brain disorders and urge people, especially minorities, to help with clinical research.

Her journey has not been easy. Smith went missing for more than 17 hours several years ago after getting off at the wrong stop on her way from New York City to Sag Harbor on Long Island.

“I wanted to be free,” she said of the ordeal, which was terrifying for Gasby. “I thought I lost her,” he said. “It was like living a nightmare.”

That’s why he is trying to make every day count. “The first thing I think about is trying to create the best possible moments we can have,” he said of their future.

A future that Smith is rallying for. “I am fighting, I am fighting right now. I will be fighting.” 

“And I am lucky I have a best friend.”

B. Smith

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

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