Letters to the editor for September 21, 2018 - Fighting Alzheimer’s

Fighting Alzheimer’s

My dad, John Drake (1924-2012), was a fighter. On the schoolyard, his right hook earned him the nickname “Battler,” and he dodged bullets and bombs during his tour of duty at Pearl Harbor.

But there was one battle my father could not win: Alzheimer’s. The disease dealt him a final blow after years of suffering.

I wish my father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s was rare, but it’s not — quite the opposite. In fact, more than 5.7 million Americans currently live with the disease, and that number is expected to reach 13.8 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Also, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America, costing Medicare and Medicaid a staggering $217 million a year.

Alzheimer’s isn’t just an aging issue, it’s a full-blown public health crisis and one that cries out for bold nationwide solutions. This year Congress has a chance to take real action by passing the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256). The BOLD Act would create a public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective interventions against Alzheimer’s, increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

As the Alzheimer’s Association ambassador for Florida District 3, I am pleased to announce that Congressman Ted Yoho has cosponsored the BOLD Act and has become the 20th member of Florida’s delegation and 190th Congressional member nationwide to support this bill.

My name is Barb, and I’m one of the many faces of Alzheimer’s advocacy. On behalf of my dad and all the other brave “Battlers” out there, please join me in thanking Rep. Yoho for his dedication and leadership that bring us one step closer to a world without Alzheimer’s.

Barb Drake, Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador, Central and North Florida Chapter, Gainesville

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