With our summer travels this year, we missed a very important day for our family. Observed every year on September 21st, World Alzheimer's Day raises awareness of the public, people with dementia, their family and friends, medical professionals, and researchers about Alzheimer's Disease. It is important to my family because dementia and Alzheimer's affected my grandparents and my wife's grandmother died from Alzheimer disease on '04. My mother-in-law has become a great advocate for Alzheimer research and has become the leading state advocate for Kentucky. Having a globally coordinated awareness day sends a strong message to governments and policymakers that dementia is fast becoming a public health crisis as the world's population grows older. The day can also be used to educate and challenge people's misconceptions as well as the stigma of dementia.
There was a new and exciting event leading up to World Alzheimer's Day this year, Alzheimer's researchers left the lab and took to the road on July 17th in the First Alzheimer's Breakthrough Ride. More than 55 researchers cycled cross-country segments from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., collecting signatures along the way to support Alzheimer's research funding. The goal was to secure 50,000 petition signatures and present them to Congress on World Alzheimer's Day. After riding over 4,500 miles, they had reached an astounding 110,000+ signatures.
Originally conceived by Bruce Lamb, Ph.D., whose current research analyzes the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease, the Breakthrough Ride's petition supports the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act and other legislation to increase funding and focus attention on Alzheimer's research, care, and support. According to the Alzheimer's Association, for every $25000 the federal government spends on care for people living with Alzheimer's disease, it spends only $100 on Alzheimer's research.
In addition to the annual Memory Walk sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association, this seems like a terrific opportunity to get involved and show your enthusiasm and support for Alzheimer's disease. Click here to find an event in your area, follow the riders, and sign the online petition.