Annabel Bowlen announces diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

Nov 1, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Annabel Bowlen, wife of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen (not pictured), speaks at a ceremony inducting Pat Bowlen into the Broncos Ring of Fame during halftime between the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 29-10. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Annabel Bowlen, wife of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, announced Wednesday that she has joined her husband in a fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Pat Bowlen was forced to step down as controlling owner of the Broncos three years ago due to the disease.

“I decided to make my diagnosis public right away in the hope that it continues to raise awareness for those battling Alzheimer’s and their loved ones,” Annabel Bowlen said. “With June also being Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the timing was right for me to share this personal update with everyone.”

Since 2013, the team has operated in a trust established by the Bowlens, consisting of team president/CEO Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka and attorney Mary Kelly.

Ellis is the controlling owner and makes most of the decisions an owner of the team would face. There is a succession plan in place for the team to be passed down to one of Pat Bowlen’s seven children.

Given Pat’s experience with the disease, Annabel remains upbeat in her approach to life.

“I feel that it is important for people to know that those in my situation do not need to completely withdraw from their daily activities,” Annabel said. “Based on my own experience with Pat, there will still be many joyous and rewarding moments for me as well as my family and friends.

“I intend to proceed in life with the same strength, courage and endurance that Pat has shown in his battle with this disease,” she added.

Ellis also voiced his support for the Bowlen family.

“Our hearts go out to Annabel and the entire Bowlen family,” Ellis said. “She’s been a wonderful ambassador and advocate for the Broncos over the years, especially in recent seasons as Pat has focused on his own battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“All of us at the Broncos are behind Annabel and know she’ll face this challenge with courage and determination.

Annabel Bowlen’s five children – Patrick, Johnny, Brittany, Annabel and Christianna – released a joint statement in support of their mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

“During the last few years, all of us have been inspired by the strength and courage our mother has shown as she’s supported our father in his own battle with Alzheimer’s disease,” they said. “We’re confident that she will bring the same grace, compassion and determination to her fight.”

Annabel did say that she hopes to remain involved with various Alzheimer’s events and to continue cheering on the Broncos throughout her fight.