Letter: Join in the fight against Alzheimer's

On April 9, more than 800 people living with Alzheimer’s, caregivers and advocates from across the nation will gather in Washington, D.C. for the 26th annual Alzheimer’s Assn. Advocacy Forum. Representing millions of people impacted by Alzheimer’s across the country, they will engage in the democratic process and appeal to members of Congress for action on Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Assn. 2014 Facts and Figures report, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and 15.5 million Alzheimer’s caregivers, including more than 1.5 million here in California. I am one of those caregivers.

As an Alzheimer’s Assn. Ambassador for Congressman Adam Schiff, it is my honor to play a role in addressing this rapidly growing health crisis. As a daughter, it is a promise I made to my mom, Eleanor Ownbey, who bravely fought Alzheimer’s disease for many years until her death on Feb. 18. I promised my mom that I would continue to fight for her every day and that’s a promise I intend to keep.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top 10 without a way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression.

In addition to the human toll, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in the nation, costing $214 billion a year and counting.

It is only through adequate funding and a strong implementation of the National Plan to address Alzheimer’s disease that we will meet its goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025.

During the week of April 9, call Congressman Adam Schiff’s office to thank him for his support and remind him to continue to make Alzheimer’s disease a national priority. The phone number is (818) 450-2900. To learn how you can get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s visit: alz.org.

Maggie Ownbey

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