Working to win in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease

“First you win the argument, then you win the vote.”

— Margaret Thatcher

I recently returned from the Alzheimer’s Association AIM Advocacy Forum  in Washington, D.C., where 1,200 advocates told their stories about the impact of this devastating disease and met with legislators to gain support for making a change.

In Minnesota, the projected number of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is 94,000 in 2018. It’s projected to increase to 120,000 in 2025. Someone in the U.S. develops the disease every 65 seconds. The projections are even higher in Wisconsin, where I’m from originally and my parents live.

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012 at age 68. He was always a strong-minded, independent person who could do anything and help anyone and who worked hard. I could go to him for anything. I know nothing else but to use what we’ve been through to make a change so people don’t have to lose who they are and their loved ones in this way.

Advocacy and events like the forum, which just completed its 30th year, are going a long way, and legislators also personally impacted by the disease are tasked with supporting bills to increase the commitment to research, build an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure and educate providers on palliative and hospice care.

Our group met with U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith to share stories that show the full impact of this disease and thank them for their ongoing support on Capitol Hill.

The quote from Margaret Thatcher was part of the opening program at the forum and after the event I know we are on our way to winning. To learn more, visit alz.org.

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