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Family business raises money for dementia research

May 21, 2014

Bill Fehon was a high school teacher at the Academy of the New Church outside Philadelphia for 30 years before he was diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) in the fall of 2009. Since then, his family has shown him support in a unique way while raising money for dementia research and healthy aging by selling his personal, beloved BBQ sauce recipe, Bill's Best Organic BBQ Sauces.

The now-famous Bill started making barbecue sauce in the early 1990s, and as more people fell in love with it, he began handing bottles out for holidays. He thought about starting a business with the recipe, since the gifts garnered so many fans among his loved ones, but soon after considering the venture, Bill found out about his FTD and let the dream go.

Family makes the business a reality
Bill's wife and five sons sold the first bottle of Bill's Best BBQ Sauces in May 2011, and that first year the Fehons managed to sell 1,500 bottles. Now the sauce is available in more than 100 stores nationwide, including some Whole Foods and Shop Rite locations. The family expects to sell 15,000 bottles this year, and the best part is that the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration receives 10 percent of every sale to advance research. During the past few years of business, the family changed Bill's recipe to make it organic. The sauce is made with local products such as grass-fed organic butter, as well as fresh, organic onions and garlic. There is no high fructose corn syrup in the formula, and it's gluten-free too.

Frontotemporal degeneration facts
FTD is a rare form of dementia that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, the areas responsible for personality, language and behavior. According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease causes them to shrink, which may lead to socially inappropriate behavior, impulsive actions, an indifferent attitude or issues using language to communicate. Muscle use and movement can also be affected. The Mayo Clinic reports that FTD is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's disease or a psychiatric disorder, though it tends to occur earlier in life than Alzheimer's. FTD affects people between the ages of 40 and 75, half of whom don't have a family history of dementia. 

Funds raised through sales of Bill's Best Organic BBQ may be used to improve future diagnosis, treatment and memory care for individuals affected with this specific and uncommon type of dementia.