By Yulandie Latham
Special to the Eagle
On April 2, I traveled to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to recognize Alzheimer’s disease as a public health crisis. I was one of the 1,200 Alzheimer’s advocates who participated in the 2019 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum.
5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and more than 16 million friends and family members provide unpaid care for them. As a registered nurse, I see the physical and financial toll Alzheimer’s takes on individuals and families who must cope with progressive cognitive loss that can go on for years.
I know firsthand how challenging this disease is. My mother, the glue to our large, loving family, is in the throes of Alzheimer’s decline. Each day that passes feels like a minute — time seems to speed up as our family helplessly watches her mind slip away. However, as an advocate, I am proud to say that the wheels are turning to create purposeful change.
In Washington, D.C., I met with a member of U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks’ staff to share how Alzheimer’s has impacted my life. Rep. Meeks has shown his support by voting in favor of the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, which will strengthen the public health response and establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence across the country.
Now that BOLD has passed into law, it must be funded, in order to address the Alzheimer’s crisis. Additionally, Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institutes of Health must increase so that an effective treatment and cure can be found as soon as possible.
Please join me in urging Rep. Meeks to support both of these budget initiatives for fiscal year 2020. Alzheimer’s is a journey that no one wants to take. It is essential that we help everyone who is already on that journey while we work to ensure that future generations will not be forced to take it.
Yulandie Latham is the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter Ambassador. She lives in Jamaica, Queens.