While many things in our world have come to a halt, Alzheimer's disease presses on amid COVID-19, presenting even greater challenges for the 190,000 Michiganders living with the disease and their 518,000 caregivers. Fortunately, Michiganders continue to step up to advocate on behalf of persons with dementia and their caregivers.
Michigan residents Bertha Bullen and Jim Kruse (Okemos), Melissa and Sophia Vecchi (Rochester Hills), and Lauren Kovach (Brighton), for instance, were recently recognized for their advocacy work by the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM), a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate of the Alzheimer's Association that advances and develops policies to overcome Alzheimer's disease through increased investment in research, enhanced care and improved support.
The team, representing Michigan's eighth Congressional district, was recognized with the 2020 Alzheimer’s Congressional Team (ACT) of the Year.
"This team of advocate volunteers has gone above and beyond in service to the state of Michigan and its residents who are impacted by Alzheimer's and all other dementia," said AIM Vice President of Advocacy John Funderburk. "They have shared their stories with policymakers, testified in committee meetings and served on volunteer advisory committees. Together, they made their voices heard and helped educate legislators on bills such as the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer's Act and the Younger-Onset Alzheimer's Act. We are beyond grateful for their tireless efforts."
Additionally, Melissa Vecchi chairs the Detroit Walk to End Alzheimer's. Bullen and Kruse are advocacy chairs of the Lansing Walk to End Alzheimer's. Kovach serves on Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s volunteer advisory committee on health.
"Alzheimer's is a devastating disease," said Alzheimer's Association Public Policy Director Colin Ford. "These volunteers bring with them their own unique experiences with dementia and share our unwavering commitment to our vision of a world without Alzheimer's. Their continued dedication to realizing that vision is remarkable and greatly appreciated."
Alzheimer's Association advocates are invited to engage public officials and policymakers in a variety of ways, urging their support for critical Alzheimer's legislation and policy changes. For more information about becoming an advocate, visit alz.org/get-involved-now/advocate/become_an_advocate today
Photo from left to right: Sophia Vecchi, Melissa Vecchi, Rep. Slotkin, Lauren Kovach, Bertha Bullen and Jim Kruse.
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.