Rochelle News Leader: LETTER: Alzheimer advocates visit Washington to seek funding

Letter to the Editor from Jerry Helland of Genoa, IL

Dear Editor,
Where were you on April 2? Do you remember what you did?  I can tell you exactly what I was doing and who I spoke with and more importantly the subject of my conversation. 
I was in Washington, D.C., along with 1200 Alzheimer’ Advocates turning the town purple and turning the conversation to Alzheimer’s disease. No one was red or blue, each of us, male or female, regardless of the state you were from, was purple. 
Our purpose was to seek financial funding to be given to the National Institute of Health (NIH) for Alzheimer research to find a cure for this deadly disease. My group of 13 Advocates visited Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office and four Congressional Representatives, one of which was U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger.  
This year we asked each Representative and Senator to support legislation that will provide researchers, healthcare professionals, caregivers and individuals with the educational tools and resources necessary to meaningfully combat Alzheimer’s disease. We urged them to support additional funding for Alzheimer research because without a cure, Alzheimer and other related dementia diseases, 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. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s cost taxpayers more than $22 million dollars every hour.
The meeting with my U.S. Congressional Representative, Adam Kinzinger, was positive. Each ask was met with a positive response. He indicated he would support additional funding for Alzheimer research and support passage of a bill which would help educate clinicians on Alzheimer and dementia care planning services through Medicare. 
Each of the 1,200 advocates can tell you how the Alzheimer disease or a dementia related disease has impacted their life…in a negative way. Alzheimer’s disease does not discriminate; male, female, minority, non-minority, rich or poor.
There is currently no cure. Once you get it, it never goes away. Some call it a death sentence. I implore you to contact your U.S. Congressional Representative or U.S. Senator today. Ask to them to support funding to find a cure. This newspaper publishes a list of Congressional and Senatorial contact information; call them, write, email, or text. If your Representative already supports additional Alzheimer funding, please say thank you.
If someone in your family, or a friend has been or is impacted by the Alzheimer’s disease, join the fight to help find a cure for Alzheimer disease, contact the Alzheimer Association at 800 272-3900.
Jerald Helland


The original letter to the editor can be found on the Rochelle News Leader website here.