Last Thursday was windy and cold. In fact, I admit that I ran from the parking lot to Central Presbyterian church because the wind was so shocking. But when I got inside the church doors, it was awash with warmth and excitement. Advocates began arriving shortly after 8 a.m. from all over the state: Albany, Augusta, Dalton, Savannah, Macon, Columbus and of course, the Atlanta area. Some had spent the night in town the night before, some had gotten up at 4:00 and rode on a bus with other advocates to arrive but ALL had given of their time and were there for a reason: Alzheimer’s.
Currently, Alzheimer’s has no cure and very few treatments. It does not just “infect” one person and then quietly go about it’s business of destroying that one life. It changes everything for the family and friends of the diagnosed as well. Alzheimer’s is unpredictable and cruel and cannot be contained. Alzheimer’s is an epidemic. Alzheimer’s is everyone’s concern. Especially our law-makers.
So these bold advocates reminded and educated their legislators about the crisis that is Alzheimer’s. They told their own stories of diagnosis and fear and loss. They were the face of Alzheimer’s to the staff that they met with. They encouraged their legislators to pass bills that would assist in the development and delivery of services to those diagnosed and their caregivers. But more than anything else, they expressed a hope for a better future.
I think that is the part the is the most remarkable to me about the whole day. Not that people would come together from all over for a cause – though I am thankful that they did. And it’s not that they would advocate for what they feel is important – but again I am thankful and more voices are always needed. It’s the hope – in the face of hopelessness – that is what I found so amazing during this day. No one would have come if they hadn’t felt hopeful that a better future was possible. A future that would include more support and services. A future where the word Alzheimer’s does not just strike fear or conjure up the image of a nursing home patient, but instead recalls a name – a face. A future where everyone is working to find a cure.
So often with this disease, we feel not only hopeless but helpless. These Advocates reminded me that we are neither. There is much more work to be done and more voices to be raised. But we are many and we will continue to work for a better tomorrow.
Thank you Advocates for another great Awareness Day!