Your story matters. By sharing your experience facing Alzheimer’s, you can help move the needle in the fight to end this devastating disease. We are the children, spouses, friends and family of this disease — and we are relentless. By telling our stories, we can raise more awareness of Alzheimer’s, advance more policies to improve the lives of those affected by dementia and bring more people into our community of fighters. The 2020 Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) Advocacy Forum is the best place to step up and do just that.
It was my own family’s story that inspired me to attend the nation’s premier Alzheimer’s advocacy event back in 2017. Growing up in the 1970s, my paternal grandmother raised my sister and me, since my mom was too sick to care for us and my dad was the sole breadwinner. My grandmother was my rock and my support — until she started to show signs of Alzheimer’s when I was 12. At the time, there were no support services available for individuals facing dementia so, as the disease took hold of her, I learned very quickly that I needed to step up. At 15, I became her partial caregiver while also helping my dad manage the household.
My family’s experience with Alzheimer’s is always in the back of my mind. I’m reminded that Alzheimer’s not only robbed me of my beloved grandmother, it also stole my childhood. I was never able to be carefree or curious. It was tough, but now I know it’s what taught me to be strong. Now, I’m channeling that strength to tell my story to the nation’s lawmakers. I hope that by doing so, we can stop this disease that devastates entire families.
This community of advocates has brought Alzheimer’s to the nation’s attention. And it’s clear from the major public policy victories we’ve achieved that people are listening. I encourage each and every one of you to share your experience, honestly and passionately, because while we all have different stories, we’re one unified voice in this important fight.
See you in March!
Chair, 2020 AIM Advocacy Forum