Rhiana Kohl and Alfredo Bartolozzi of Watertown joined over 1,200 other advocates from across the nation in Washington D.C., at the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum on April 4-6, the Alzheimer’s Association, MA/NH Chapter announced.
“I am the caregiver to my 51 year old husband,” said Kohl whose husband was diagnosed in 2013. “We have two daughters who are now 13 and 15 and struggle daily.”
Rhiana and Alfredo made the trip together to share their personal story on Capitol Hill with local members of Congress.
“We want to communicate the realities of living with the disease, it’s increasing impact on younger families, the multitude of misconceptions resulting in a lack of support logistically, socially, financially and more – and of course the need for treatment and a cure,” said Kohl.
The Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum seeks to educate members of Congress about the impact of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. At the forum, Rhiana and Alfredo attended seminars on Alzheimer policy issues and networked with advocates across the country.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading advocate for federal Alzheimer’s disease research funding and caregiver support,” said Austin Hodge, Manager of Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter. “We cannot make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s without passionate advocates like Rhiana and Alfredo.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only disease in the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. In 2015, more than 15 million caregivers provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care.
To learn more about advocacy opportunities with the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter visitalz.org/MANH.