Think it over…. (Sept. 2015)

2014 Walk To End Alzheimer's -259_15143401759_mFour members of our team are just back from our annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C. We brought together more than 4,500 scientists from around the world to share the challenges, promise and real progress of their work. AAIC is unparalleled in our field, and in this issue you will read about the research advances these scientists are making.

While AAIC was unfolding, perhaps something even more important was happening in our Capitol. As we go to print, the U. S. House Labor, Health and Human Service Committee has added $300 million to the baseline of federal funding for Alzheimer’s research. And right after that, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to make the amount $350 million! This represents more than a 50% increase, easily our biggest success to date if the budget process isn’t scuttled by larger political wars.

These appropriations had bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill, demonstrating that we have been successful in building strong and broad consensus for making Alzheimer’s a national priority.

As I trust you have noticed, we have been hard at work over the past several years putting dollars, staff and volunteer time into moving awareness and public concern for our issue. Experience tells us that engaging the public around an issue precedes policy action, and we have moved the needle to the point that Alzheimer’s is at or near the top of medical conditions about which people are concerned.

Success is in sight, and the Alzheimer’s Association – you and thousands like you – made it happen!

So… Walk. Walk is the transcendent strategic event for our cause. We register more advocates at Walk than the entire rest of the year. We raise approximately a quarter of our budget. We share information about care and support and research. And we tell the world we care. We know the loss, but we are not defeated. We’re not embarrassed by it, we’re not hidden. We’re there for those we’ve lost and for our children and grandchildren.

Register, donate, ask others to support you. This is what a movement looks like.

Wm H. Fisher,
CEO, Alzheimer’s Association, Northern California and Northern Nevada
wfisher@alz.org