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Support the fight to end Alzheimer’s

Megan Rupe

Minot

Imagine – every person living in Minot has Alzheimer’s, is living with another form of dementia and/or is a caregiver of someone with the disease. That’s 47,000+ people. Sounds like an intro to a strange plot to a new prime time TV special but it will be a reality for 47,000 North Dakotans in 2019.

This overwhelming and terrifying truth led me to wanting to do more and do better.

My advocacy efforts for people living with and caring for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia began three years ago with the MN/ ND Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. In that time, I have met so many amazing people that it has created this unrelenting drive to be as involved as possible in the efforts to increase funding, awareness and resources for those with the disease.

In April I was one of four from around the state who had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., to talk with our congressmen. Specifically, I urged them to support funding needed for increased Alzheimer’s disease research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as funding to implement the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406) which Congress passed into law late last year. Our group met with staff for both Senator Hoeven and Senator Cramer. Both senators have been champions for Alzheimer’s funding so it was perfect timing to meet with their staff to thank them for their continued support and urge them to continue advocating for the nearly 50,000 North Dakotans living with or caring for someone with this disease every day.

Our newest congressman, Representative Armstrong, was able to meet with us in person and was thoughtful and engaged while learning more about the cause. Although we did not get an outpouring of support from him, he did seem genuinely interested in learning more about the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission in North Dakota.

If you do not yet know someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia it is truly only a matter of time before you too will be affected by the disease. It is an all-consuming disease, taking your time, money and loved ones away from you.

We have to do better and we have to encourage Congress to do more. It is only through adequately funding research and policies like the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act that we can meet the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.

Finally, I would like to thank the Alzheimer’s Association for helping find passion with a purpose. I want to again thank the congressmen of North Dakota for meeting with us but most of all thank you to all of those caring for someone or living with the disease themselves for continually supporting the fight to END ALZ! To learn more about this disease and how you can join the fight to end Alzheimer’s, visit alzimpact.org.

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