Alzheimer's is the only leading cause of death without a cure or treatment.
By the time the 30 minute presentation drew to a close at our State Capitol yesterday, statistics suggest 30 more individuals had been diagnosed. Most are notified by a letter in the mail, with a follow-up at the doctor's office in three to six months. Recent efforts seek to connect those in need to valuable resources. One such lifeline is the Alzheimer's Association, which has a 24/7 hotline staffed by certified counselors who guide families through this complicated and often misunderstood disease. (1-800-272-3900)
Public awareness of these resources is just one aspect of what is being accomplished through these efforts. It is imperative to educate lawmakers if the urgent needs of this disease are to be addressed. We all have a voice and can get involved simply by writing our representatives. If you are not sure what to say, contact the Alzheimer's Association for sample letters. Find those who represent your district on your state website: http://www.oksenate.gov/findmylegislature.aspx
We are advocating for people we will never meet.
Among the advocates who converged on our State Capitol yesterday, many of us have already experienced the death of a loved one due to this terminal illness. At least three of us have family members on hospice and are walking the final days of this terrible disease. Those of us caring for a loved one with a disease of dementia go to great lengths to secure assistance for our loved one in our absence. It is not easy, but imperative we get involved.
This long and lengthy disease is extremely costly and consuming. It takes a great deal of strength to climb out of the trenches of its demands and fight for a cure - a future free from its curse. Among our strongest voices are those individuals who have been diagnosed, yet dedicate their talents and resources in search of a cure. Ron and Vicky Grant are back in Washington D.C. doing just that.
After eight years of experiencing the effects of this disease, Ron is determined to make an impact. Knowing cognitive function will continue to decline, he has only one request: "If I am to lose my mind, let me have the mind of Christ." I dare say, he already does. Freely admitting it is too late for him and knowing his efforts will not reverse the effects of his terminal disease, Ron sets his goal on making a difference in the lives of those he will never meet.
May his example inspire us all to let our voices be heard.
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