Brooks work on Alzheimer's bill praised

Posted 5/6/18

To The Editor:Resolution SJR0619 was adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly on Wednesday, April 25.This resolution urges the commissioner of health to designate

Alzheimer’s and other related …

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Brooks work on Alzheimer's bill praised

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To The Editor:

Resolution SJR0619 was adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly on Wednesday, April 25.

This resolution urges the commissioner of health to designate Alzheimer’s and other related dementias as a public-health issue. This is the only legislation of its kind passed in the state of Tennessee, and among the first of its kind in the nation. 

Recognizing Alzheimer’s disease as a public-health issue, and not just a natural part of aging, is a huge steppingstone in the fight to create Alzheimer’s awareness and promote early detection in those affected by Alzheimer’s. 

Awareness and early detection will help families to create a care team and a plan for their loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

While many legislators deserve our gratitude, we would like to extend a special thank you to state Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland. The road to getting SJR0619 was rocky and when the House of Representatives tried to delay voting on the bill until the 2019 session, Rep. Brooks stepped up and fought to get the resolution through this session.

When things were at their bleakest, Rep. Brooks told us Alzheimer’s advocates that he would continue the fight — simply because it was the right thing to do.

I lost my precious grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease. I remember how he couldn’t remember my name, my mother’s name, and ultimately, Grandpa forgot who he was.

The heartbreak my family experienced is one that a new family experiences every 65 seconds in this country. My grandfather fought his battle against Alzheimer’s for 11 years. Our family fought alongside him every step of the way.

I am so grateful that our state is taking the steps to address this disease and ultimately find a cure so that Alzheimer’s will be nothing more than a distant memory.

Tennessee has the seventh-highest death rate from Alzheimer’s in the nation. Latest statistics show there are currently 120,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in Tennessee, and 435,000 caregivers who are affected at this time.

Thank you, Rep. Brooks, for recognizing the need for this legislation and for proving yourself a true statesman by working so hard to pass SJR 0619.

 — Christine Electra Williamson

Miss Chattanooga 2018

Alzheimer’s ambassador

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