The Alzheimers Association joins the world in mourning the loss of former President of the United States Ronald Reagan. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Reagan family.
President Reagans legendary sense of hope and optimism were a source of inspiration, especially to the 4.5 million Americans with Alzheimers disease and their families and friends, and the many millions more around the globe. We are grateful that President and Mrs. Reagan worked with courage and generosity to increase public awareness of this terrible brain disease, and of the need for increased and accelerated research for effective treatments, preventions and a cure.
The Alzheimers Association is proud of our long partnership with President and Mrs. Reagan, starting in 1983 when the president designated November as National Alzheimers Disease Month, and continuing through the creation of the Alzheimers Associations Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute in 1995. Mrs. Reagan has long been an honorary member of our national board of directors, and Maureen Reagan was an active board member until her untimely death.
With the aging of the baby boom generation, it is projected that the nation will witness a 70 percent increase in those affected by the disease by 2030, with 7.7 million afflicted. However, the rapid progress in research is making it more likely that there will be scientific breakthroughs in the next 10 years, leading to prevention and the possibility that the baby boomers could be the first generation in history to NOT have to face Alzheimers in their futureIF we act now to accelerate progress.
The Alzheimers Association is asking Congress for a $40 million increase in federal funding this year to help carry out large-scale clinical trials to identify treatments able to slow or halt the onset and progression of Alzheimers disease. Past federal investment in Alzheimer research has been rewarded by phenomenal progress in science, but we remain far short of the $1 billion necessary to ensure these imminent breakthroughs will happen.
The Alzheimers Association is honored that the Reagan family has designated the Association as one of three organizations they recommend to receive contributions in his name. Those who wish to donate to the Alzheimers Associations Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute, or to family support services, may call 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org. A fitting tribute to Ronald Reagan, his life and legacy, would be to join with the Alzheimers Association to create a world without Alzheimers disease. It is within our reach.
Sheldon Goldberg is the president and CEO of the Alzheimers Association.