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Carol Jenkins Barnett, chairman and president of Publix Super Markets Charities, has decided to step down from the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer’s board of directors, effective immediately, after being diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our Publix family is saddened by the news of Carol’s diagnosis with younger-onset Alzheimer’s,” said Chairman of the Board Ed Crenshaw. “We thank Carol for her more than 33 years of dedicated service to our board and her numerous contributions to Publix and our communities. We fully support Carol’s decision to focus on her health and well-being, and offer her and the family our prayers and support.”
“In sharing our journey, we hope to provide greater awareness and education of Alzheimer’s disease that affects more than 5.4 million Americans,” said Barnett, daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins. “We remain strong and hopeful that a cure will be on the horizon. We are grateful for the many thoughts and prayers. We know you will understand our request for privacy as there is much for our family to process and to learn about the challenges before us.”
According to the Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association, the disease is considered “younger-onset” when it strikes people in their 40s and 50s. There are as many as 200,000 people with younger-onset Alzheimer’s in the United States.
Barnett plans to focus on her health and spend quality time with her family. She will remain on the board of Publix Super Markets Charities.
Privately owned and operated by its 180,500 employees, Publix has 1,116 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.