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Bonnie Dowhaniuk, Bismarck, Published December 09 2013

Letter: Make Alzheimer’s funding a priority

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., has an important part to play in making sure the $100 million in new Alzheimer’s research funding remains in the 2014 Fiscal Year budget.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, today there are an estimated 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including as many as 18,000 people right here in North Dakota. This will grow to as many as 20,000 by 2025, if we don’t do all we can to stop the disease today.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fourth-leading cause of death in North Dakota. Only three years and three months after diagnosis, I lost my mother this past summer to this horrible disease at the young age of 70. My mother’s death has increased my passion to educate others about this disease, and encourage everyone to support research efforts towards finding a cure.

Alzheimer’s is not a Republican or Democratic issue – it affects all of us. This is why I was very encouraged when Congress signaled their recognition of this fact and created the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). In 2011, NAPA passed on a unanimous bipartisan basis, which spurred the creation of the first National Alzheimer’s plan for the United States. Additionally, the Senate prioritized the National Alzheimer’s Plan by including an additional $100 million for research, education, care and support.

It is vitally important that Congress include these resources in fiscal year 2014. Please contact Senator Hoeven today. Ask him to provide the funding necessary to support the National Alzheimer’s Plan through Alzheimer’s research, education, and outreach. Visit www.alz.org to learn how you can become involved with the fight against Alzheimer’s.