Last month, the Alzheimer’s Association hosted its annual D.C. Advocacy Forum and a record-breaking 62 advocates from Illinois joined more than 1,200 advocates from across the U.S. to let their voices be heard on Capitol Hill. Advocates shared their personal experiences with the disease and spoke up for increased research funding and improved access to care and support. When I lost my father to Alzheimer’s in 2012, I felt alone. Alzheimer’s has this overwhelming effect of making you feel powerless. Working with other advocates helps me feel energized, committed, but most importantly not alone.
I am immensely grateful to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky for supporting this vital cause and being an advocate for us in Congress. Just this week we received news that Congress approved an additional $400 million in research spending for Alzheimer’s disease. With the support of our elected officials, there is hope for a world without Alzheimer’s.
I would also urge the Congresswoman to co-sponsor PCHETA (HR1676) which focuses on palliative and hospice care- medical approaches which focus on reducing pain and stress and increasing support of the patient and their caregivers. People with Alzheimer’s and other dementias rely heavily on this care, which PCHETA would help expand. Oftentimes, it is both cost effective and improves the patient’s quality of life. My father spent the last 2.5 years of his life on hospice and I don’t think I would have been able to manage his care physically or emotionally without that dedicated and supportive team.
I will continue to engage in this fight. I will advocate for those currently affected and to create a world without Alzheimer’s – one day we will have the first survivor and I am honored to be a part of these efforts and proud to be working alongside Rep. Schakowsky to achieve this goal.