Way back when, when Mike was first diagnosed (10 years ago), statistics showed that approx. 2.5 million Americans suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. Of those 2.5 million, 1% were Young Onset individuals (250,000)- those diagnosed under the age of 65. Today, statistics show that approx 5-6 million Americans have Alzheimer's Disease, yet the number for Young Onset remains the same at 250,000. I find that extremely hard to believe, because in my small world of people, the numbers have skyrocketed.
In 2004 a young mother in Florida saw me on CNN and searched me out because she found herself struggling in very much the same way I was. We connected and became friends , sharing a heartwrenching experience of a spouse we no longer knew.
Today, my network of friends and connections of those losing a spouse to Young Onset has grown tremendously - and if the numbers have increased in my little world, how could they not be increasing elsewhere? As much as Young Onset is continuing to remain a fast growing concern, I still feel it's not getting the attention it needs and more importantly, deserves.
Taking that into consideration next Wednesday, the kids and I will be heading to our State capital in Albany to meet with our Representatives to bring to light the continued issues affecting those with Alzheimer's Disease, specifically for us, Young Onset Alzheimer's. We cannot make it to Washington this year due to the timing - it's Brandon's birthday weekend and Courtney has finals, so we decided to join other advocates from the Long Island Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and visit Albany.
I am not only doing this for Mike and our family, but for my other friends: Rhonda's ex-husband, Tracey, Michelle's husband, Carla's mom, Pat's wife, Ira's wife, Rich's wife, Frank's wife, Elena's husband, Lynn's husband, Kathy's husband, Dorata's husband, Trish's husband, Kathy's husband, Carl's wife, Linda's husband, Nikki's husband - and the countless other families who are suffering each and every day.