To beat Alzheimer’s in the future, the fight must start now

The Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Facts and Figures report found a soaring prevalence, lack of effective treatment and enormous costs for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Facts and Figures report found a soaring prevalence, lack of effective treatment and enormous costs for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

In Washington State, with over 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, it is the third leading cause of death in our state. The 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s will grow to almost 16 million by 2050.

The federal government has been making progress towards shining light on Alzheimer’s and other dementias, having doubled the small research budget in the last three years. Congress requires the National Institutes of Health scientists to submit a professional judgment budget each fiscal year to help guide the size of funding for Alzheimer’s research.

I urge Congressman Dave Reichert to support the scientists’ recommendation of a $414 million increase in Alzheimer’s research. This increase will help achieve the national goal of a treatment for Alzheimer’s by 2025. I know that Congressman Reichert cares about this cause as he was a co-sponsor on two Alzheimer’s related bills in 2015, wrote an article for the Alzheimer’s Association, Washington State Chapter Blog in January of 2016, and Kelley Goetz, his Constituent Services Liaison, whom I had the pleasure of meeting with in his office on March 14, assured me he still sees it as a big concern for not just Washington citizens but the entire country.

I care deeply about this health issue because I know firsthand the heartbreak this disease causes families after losing my mom to it in 2014. I am committed to raising awareness about it and the need for research funding as we need better weapons in this fight if we want to truly call it a battle. My dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the same time as my mom’s diagnosis. He battled that cancer back five times thanks to the research that had been done and the weapons he and his doctors had available due to successful research and treatment programs created in conjunction with the American Cancer Society and NIH. He is a cancer survivor. There are no survivors from Alzheimer’s disease… yet. With more funding for research, I believe the answers are out there and survivors can also be the future of those who battle Alzheimer’s if we can discover weapons that will work.

Please join me in calling or writing Congressman Reichert to let him know you support the NIH scientists’ recommendation for much needed funding for Alzheimer’s research. Help make a difference in this battle that threatens too many families in our state. We may not have a lot of power, but we can use the power of our voices to do the best we can in this moment. Also, visit ALZ.org or call 800-272-3900 to learn more and get involved with the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Karen Marez

Bonney Lake

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