I hope you don’t have plans for May 15-17 because I’ve got something in mind you won’t want to miss. It’s a trip to Washington, D.C., for the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum! I guarantee that if you are living with Alzheimer’s or are concerned or interested in the disease, you owe it to yourself to grab this opportunity. I first attended an Advocacy Forum about 10 years ago and have been to several more; it remains one of my all-time highlights and here are some reasons why:
- You will have an opportunity to meet people fighting for the same cause from elsewhere in California and Nevada as well as around the country, and you’ll find out (and get good ideas from) other state’s initiatives. You’ll meet other volunteers, professionals, people with Alzheimer’s, as well as the national Alzheimer’s Association staff. These “magicians” know every nook and cranny of the Capitol, and more important, know how to get the attention of the elected officials who can impact our cause with a stroke of a pen. They are a very impressive group!
- Be prepared because you will learn far more than you ever expected, or even can absorb – about various policy issues as well as the latest in medical and scientific research. Large “plenary” sessions (all very informative and entertaining!) and small workgroups are available and you’ll have to make tough choices about what to attend (unless of course, you can clone yourself so you can go to everything!).
- One evening, everyone joins in a Candlelight Tribute at the Lincoln Memorial (a truly majestic site at night) and this is one of the most moving gatherings I’ve ever been to. You realize that you are not alone in this struggle; as you stand together, light candles, and hear from inspiring people, you can’t help but fade into your own memories…. your eyes may moisten but your heart will fill.
- Most importantly, you’ll get to tell your story to your elected officials, and tell them directly what they need to do to advance research and increase the quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s. Remember: Members of Congress work for us!
I hope you will consider attending the Advocacy Forum this year. More information can be found at www.alz.org/forum or by calling 1.800.272.3900.