Letter: Ask Edwards to support Alzheimer’s work

Graphic by Lori Deaton

As a speech-language pathologist who lost her grandfather to Alzheimer’s, I understand firsthand the impact this disease has. At a time when more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including 180,000 in North Carolina, prioritizing how this devastating disease is addressed remains critical.

This is why I advocate. My grandmother put her life on hold to care for my grandfather. I watched Alzheimer’s take its toll on them — physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. I watched through two windows: speech therapist with knowledge of disease progression and granddaughter wanting to hold onto who her PawPaw was!

My why … is more time! More Sunday lunches. Jokes from the man who gave us side stitches. Bowling with BLTs and golf with oatmeal cookies, a “pack o’ Nabs” and sweet tea! More time to travel and never get lost thanks to his trusty atlas. Mowing days with his solar-powered fan hat. Recliner naps while “watching” TV. Mornings reading the funny papers, having coffee and eating cereal or oatmeal. Firm handshakes for anyone he met. More tight hugs for his granddaughters. More “Good morning, I’ll be back in a jiffy,” “Yehoooo, I’m home” and goodnight kisses for MawMaw. More late-night popcorn and peanut butter snacks. I could go on and on!

What if diagnosing Alzheimer’s was more streamlined and accompanied by next steps; follow-up was timely; there was better support; prevention was prioritized; treatments were equitable, accessible, affordable? What if?

Progress has been made in the fight against Alzheimer’s since the implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act. With NAPA and AAA set to expire in 2025, updated legislation is urgent.

Thankfully, U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards, R-11th District, can act today to address the Alzheimer’s and dementia public health crisis in North Carolina and across the nation.

NAPA will build upon research, clinical and long-term care and public awareness, and would add focus on the importance of healthy aging and risk reduction.

The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act will ensure scientists can perform at a more rapid pace to advance basic disease knowledge, explore ways to reduce risk, uncover new biomarkers for early diagnosis and drug targeting, and develop new treatments.

Please join the Alzheimer’s Association in encouraging Rep. Edwards to support the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act.

For information and assistance, see [avl.mx/dhy]. The direct link to action is at [avl.mx/dhz].

— Karolanne Trogdon


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