Alzheimer’s advocates share their stories at Advocacy Forum
Linda Fisher is making her voice heard at the Advocacy Forum in Washington, April 7-9. As a Greater Missouri Chapter ambassador, she has a personal story to share-her husband lost his battle to Alzheimer’s disease in 2005. Over the past fifteen years, Fisher has served as a caregiver, support group leader, Walk chair, board member, ambassador and has advocated at the state and national level. “I have a passion to increase funding for research,” she said. “It’s time to end Alzheimer’s.”
Fisher, a Sedalia resident, is just one member of the outstanding delegation representing the Greater Missouri Chapter at this year’s Advocacy Forum. She’ll be joined by her sister, Roberta Fischer of Cole Camp, Betty T. Johnson of Springfield, and Marcia Rauwerdwink of Nixa.
For the past 15 years, Roberta Fischer has been a member of her sister’s walk team at the Sedalia Walk to End Alzheimer’s. “She got involved with the Walk while she was a part-time caregiver for my husband,” said Linda. “And now she leads my team’s fundraising efforts. I would be lost without her.” In addition to participating in district visits with her legislators, this will be Fischer’s third trip to the Forum.
Betty T. Johnson serves as a Chapter ambassador to Senator Roy Blunt and this is her first trip to the Forum. She became involved with the Chapter several years ago when her husband David was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He lost his battle at the age 68, but Johnson is committed to changing the course of this disease. She is a wonderful spokesperson for our Chapter and was featured on a video with her late husband at a Gala fundraiser in Springfield.
As a member of the Public Policy Committee, Marcia Rauwerdink is a passionate advocate for our Mission. She witnessed her Mother battle Alzheimer’s disease and knows the devastating effect is has on a family. Rauwerdink has been an ambassador to Congressman Billy Long since the inception of the Ambassador Program three years ago. She was successful in securing Congressman Long as a co-sponsor for the HOPE Act. He is the only legislator from Missouri, and one of the first Republicans, who has signed the bill. This will be her third year attending the Advocacy Forum.
They will join the more than 800 people with the disease, caregivers and fellow advocates from across the nation to appeal to their members of Congress for action on Alzheimer’s disease. While on Capitol Hill, advocates will share their personal stories with legislators and request that adequate research funding be allocated for Alzheimer’s disease.
This year’s Forum comes on the heels of an unprecedented $122 million in additional Alzheimer’s funding, the largest-ever increase for Alzheimer’s research and care programs, in the FY14 budget. The Alzheimer’s Association and its advocates look forward to working with Congress again this year to ensure Alzheimer’s funding continues to build toward the necessary levels to achieve the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease - preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and that number is poised to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. In 2013, 15.5 million friends and family members endured the significant emotional, physical and financial challenges of caregiving for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
In addition to the human toll of the disease, care for Alzheimer’s, the country’s most expensive condition, costs the nation $214 billion annually with projections to reach $1.2 trillion by 2050.
For more about the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum, visit www.alz.org/forum.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s.