1. Advocacy is Essential. As one lawmaker so aptly put it: Nothing happens in Congress without these efforts. Our voices provide momentum and direction. The enormous sacrifice advocates made to be in Washington D.C. this week represents their assurance in the belief: These efforts reap benefit.
2. Our Voices Have Been Heard. Gone are the days of tirelessly explaining this terminal disease, its heartbreaking effect on victims and their families, or the enormous financial cost it presents. Lawmakers are aware of the impact Alzheimer's has on all of us and are taking action.
3. We Have Enormous Support. As a family member, I am absolutely blown away by the community leaders, healthcare providers, researchers, public figures, and politicians who walk with us as champions for this cause. We are not fighting for answers alone.
4. Funding This Disease is Smart. Experts believe an annual budget of $2 billion will be required to cure Alzheimer's. Currently, our Country spends $259 billion a year to care for those with this disease. The discovery of a cure will benefit everyone in America and free funds for other needs.
5. There is Momentum Towards a Cure. The necessary components in finding answers are being accomplished: significant research and the funding to sustain these efforts. A $350K increase was approved in 2016, followed by a $400K increase. The $414K requested this week would put us over the halfway mark.
6. Healthcare Funding Cuts. Need I say more? There is a keen focus on the threatened cuts in healthcare. However, I have to believe as status quo is challenged, the most expensive disease in America is going to gain more attention. Finding a cure for Alzheimer's will save our Nation billions of dollars.
7. Our Leaders are Engaged, Involved, and Affected. Lawmakers are eager to hear our stories and are taking action in support of important bills and funding. Most are also personally affected. One lawmaker stood in the hallway with his arm around an advocate, mourning the loss of his friend, her father, together.
8. There is an Atmosphere of Hope. As one researcher put it, the cure is very likely sitting in a petri dish right now. Anxious anticipation is prevalent as research participants report positive results. Advocates walking the halls of our Capitol bore expressions of hope, not anger or despair.
9. Advocacy Can Happen Anywhere. These efforts don't just happen on the banks of the Potomac River. Letters, phone calls, and participation in town hall meetings are essential in maintaining the momentum achieved this week. All of us can make a difference!
10. The Fight is Not Over. Great strides have been made in recent years. However, I return home today to the reality of the enormous loss I have personally experienced due to this disease. 5.5 million Americans continue a battle they will not win, absent a cure. We must not stop until it is found.
Please write or call your lawmakers and ask them to support
increased funding for Alzheimer's research,
as well as PCHETA, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act.
#EndAlz #AlzForum #StoneBenches