Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Alzheimer’s Advocacy at Work

For many years, I’ve been an Alzheimer’s volunteer and advocate and have attended the annual Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. for fourteen consecutive years. Because of my advocacy on the national level, the Greater Missouri Chapter asked me to be an Alzheimer’s Ambassador, to Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler and I gladly accepted.  

Yesterday, I received an email from Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association CEO, sharing good news about Alzheimer’s legislation. Congress has incorporated the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act into the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The proposed $25 million increase in Alzheimer’s research demonstrates our legislators’ focus on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Why is the Accountability Act so important? It will require the NIH to submit an annual budget to Congress and the President. This budget will specify the necessary funding to reach our goal of finding effective treatment or a cure by 2025.

The Accountability Act has been a top priority for the Alzheimer’s Association and its sister organization, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM). My sister, Roberta, and I joined 900 other advocates to carry the message to Congress last spring during the Advocacy Forum.

Harry Johns says the bipartisan effort is a significant step toward winning the fight against Alzheimer’s. He said, “It demonstrates that our relentless efforts working together across our nationwide organization—including our dedicated Ambassadors and our hundreds of thousands of advocates—to make ending Alzheimer’s a national priority are making a real difference.”

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America and the cost will skyrocket as the baby boomers age. In 2014, the cost of Alzheimer’s will reach $214 billion, including $150 billion to Medicare and Medicaid. In contrast to the cost of the disease, only 0.25% of this total is committed to research—our only hope to end this human and financial crisis.

I have been fortunate to help in the effort to increase research funding for a disease that affects more than five million Americans and their families. We are gaining momentum and it is imperative that we relentlessly advocate until this devastating disease is eradicated.

Copyright © December 2014 by L.S. Fisher 

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