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posted: 7/12/2013 4:40 AM

Now is time to fight Alzheimer's disease

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Now is time to fight Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's is the most expensive disease today, and its prevalence is only growing. In 2006, my husband, Bill, was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer's disease. He was only 52 years old at the time and our children were not even teenagers.

Watching a loved one slowly slip away from Alzheimer's, knowing that there is no cure or medicine to slow its progression, is heartbreaking. We must act now to change the trajectory of this disease.

Today there are more than 5 million Americans, 210,000 of whom are Illinois residents, living with Alzheimer's disease and 15.4 million Alzheimer's caregivers. We are at a critical moment in the Alzheimer's epidemic and it is incumbent upon the nation's leaders to ensure the promise of the country's first National Alzheimer's Plan.

As an advocate for the Alzheimer's Association, I urge Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk to support a strong national Alzheimer's Plan, which includes $100 million in funds in fiscal year 2014. After the July Fourth weekend, the Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee, of which both Durbin and Kirk are members, will decide whether or not to allocate these critical funds for Alzheimer's research and support. The United States spends more than $203 billion per year caring for those with Alzheimer's. These numbers are expected to skyrocket to more than $1.2 trillion by 2050.

Will you join me in urging our legislators to take action? Take a moment today to call Senators Durbin or Kirk that smart investments in Alzheimer's disease now will not only save millions of lives in the future, but will be key to addressing our nation's fiscal challenges.

Cathy A. Perkowitz

Wheaton

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