The Rhinestone Cowboy Takes on Alzheimer’s Disease

Whether it’s the vivid details of a breakup, a star-spangled rodeo, or a dog running away from home, country singers have a special way of telling stories. The country fans out there will recognize the rodeo reference I just made as a line from the Rhinestone Cowboy himself, Glen Campbell. Old-school fans of twang and the country-curious will all have the opportunity to hear the special story of Glen Campbell’s life this weekend when CNN airs the documentary film “Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me.”

Featuring a Grammy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated song sung by Campbell himself, the documentary tells the story of the star’s “Goodbye Tour,” which he embarked on in the wake of his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. Campbell, a Country Music Hall of Famer and five-time Musician of the Year best-known for songs like “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Try A Little Kindness,” received his diagnosis in 2011, but decided “I ain’t done yet.”

In his heartwarming account of Campbell’s journey, director James Keach portrays the musician and his family’s struggle with the diagnosis. Viewers will gain insight into his decision to not only go public with his diagnosis, but to celebrate life and tour the country with 151 sold-out shows over the next year and a half as his disease progressed. 

Campbell’s wildly successful tour and the resulting documentary help put a face to and raise awareness of a disease that affects millions of people around the globe. In the United States alone, an estimated 5.3 million people live with Alzheimer’s – a number that may rise to 16 million by 2050. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease remains the only one of the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

Despite the challenging road ahead for every person and family facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, “I’ll Be Me” shows us that there’s a sparkling rhinestone of hope for the future discovery of new ways to fight this deadly disease.

Be sure to tune in to CNN this Sunday at 9 p.m. EST to see the story for yourself!