Wisconsin Advocacy Day – 2014. It’s scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 11 at our state Capitol in Madison.
I will always remember this date. It is my Mother’s birthday. Mom lived and passed away with Alzheimer’s disease. I will keep Mom and Grandma in my thoughts on Advocacy Day.
Aunt Anita, Mom’s sister and my Godmother, is living with Alzheimer’s disease at Luther Manor in Milwaukee. We visited her recently before her 90th birthday. She looked beautiful in a lovely dress. She sat upright, posture perfect and looked at us without speaking. I was hoping that she would recognize us after hearing our voices.
I showed Aunt Anita various photographs I had taken and described each one. Before we departed, with tears in my eyes, I gave her a hug and said goodbye. She smiled. That smile was her gift to me. “God,” I said, “Thank you. I think she remembered us.”
I was angry when we left the nursing home. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a beautiful home and the care is good. The staff is attentive and kind. But it was the disease that had made me irate. “Why haven’t we come close to some answers to find a cure,” I spouted.
I am so sad, and angry and feeling desperate. We need to let our voices be heard. Louder! Louder! We need to band together to raise funds for research to unfold this mystery that is slowly taking the lives and dignity away from people – many people.
That’s the importance of Wisconsin Advocacy Day. It’s a chance to let our voices be heard. It’s an opportunity to band together as a group to make certain that our law makers hear our message and what we are asking for. As more people in Wisconsin and our nation are touched by Alzheimer’s and as time marches on and the numbers of us grow, we need funding, education, awareness, support, and care for everyone impacted.
Please help us find some answers. Join us on March 11 for Wisconsin Advocacy Day. For more information go to our website: http://act.alz.org/site/PageNavigator/WI_SW_action_center.html
~ Barbara Cheek Johnson is a journalist living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease~