DeKalb Daily Chronicle: LETTER: Grateful for support of Alzheimer's research

Letter to the Editor by Jerald Helland of Genoa, IL.

To the Editor:

Last week, it was common to hear, “Who are those purple people?” They are not Republicans or Democrats. They are your neighbors, friends and even some of your relatives.

The purple people (because each wore a purple sash as Alzheimer’s Association ambassadors) have assembled each year for the past several years in Washington, D.C., to promote Alzheimer’s awareness. This year, we asked for additional funding for Alzheimer’s research and support for palliative care, and we asked our congressman to co-sponsor the bipartisan, bicameral BOLD (Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act – HR 4256) bill. This act would create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions and focus on public health problems, such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

Last week I, and 1,200 purple people, walked the halls of Congress to visit every U.S. representative to ask for more funding to find a cure for this disease that robs a person of their memory. Doing nothing is not an option. At the current rate, the cost of care will bankrupt the U.S. Treasury. The cost of today’s research will reduce future costs and save lives and minds.

Our approach to Congress was a positive, nondemanding, logical use of reliable resources and factual information provided by the National Institute of Health, and a determination that the fight is not done until a cure is found.  

I recently learned my U.S. representative, Adam Kinzinger, added himself to co-sponsor the BOLD act. According to the news media, it appears nothing gets done in Congress. Something big was done this week, thanks to a group of volunteers.

Each can tell you how Alzheimer’s or a dementia-related disease has affected their life in a negative way. Alzheimer’s disease does not discriminate male, female, minority, nonminority, rich or poor. 

There currently is no cure. Once you get it, it never goes away. Some call it a death sentence.

If your U.S. representative or U.S. senator does not support treatment, early diagnosis or palliative care, contact them today. This newspaper publishes a list of congressional and Senate phone numbers. Call them, write, email or text.

If your representative already supports funding, say thank you. Yes, say thank you. Once in a while, we all need to hear we did good. If you want to become a purple person and join the fight to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900.

Jerald Helland




The original article can be found on the DeKalb Daily Chronicle website here.