Working overseas in 2013, I landed face-first on concrete in a high-speed cycling accident biking down a mountain road in South Africa. After a 15-year career in health policy, I was an expert in teaching others to advocate for themselves. Yet I was completely unready to do it for myself.

Adira Foundation - Grey Smiley, CEO Headshot
Grey Smiley, CEO

The stakes were high, the decisions endless. Battling pain and fatigue, I lost confidence in what I was doing, always unsure if I were choosing wisely. Through 12 surgeries over five years, I realized no one was really leading my complicated recovery or guiding my path forward. I was on my own.

But I know I’m not alone in having faced this. In fact, my sense is that most people experience the health response as a maze of disjointed programs and gaps. And there’s no clear place to turn. In today’s always-connected world, it shouldn’t be so hard. We can find better ways to connect with, learn from and support others navigating similar health mazes to ours.

As a result of my experience, I was inspired to build something to help.

Surrounding myself with a team of others experienced in and committed to bettering the health experience, we got to work. And we discovered that often in problem solving, when you find a solution to the most confounding or complex case, that solution can help everyone.

We founded Adira Foundation to invest in better lives for people with neurodegenerative disease. We are focusing first on patients, their families and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. They are some of the most complicated, challenging and expensive diagnoses.

We believe that if we can find solutions there together, we can one day apply them everywhere, and over time change the way all people navigate health.

Our model of investing in people’s lives will unite a larger disease community, giving them the power to identify and channel resources among themselves and others. Given a neutral platform and a voice to lead, this larger group of people will be a movement to change the way care services are funded, developed and delivered—allowing people to focus on their whole selves, not just their disease.

We are just getting started and the more people who join us, the more impact we can have.

I want to invite you to join us as we build something new:

We are very excited to begin this journey and hope to work with many of you along the way. Together, we can do better.