Alzheimer’s advocates turn Tallahassee purple

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The historic Capitol building was lit purple for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Rally in Tally event. Photo by Jennifer Briasted

By Jennifer Braisted and Kate Pokorny

Brittany Carel was 13 years old when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Now a junior at Florida Atlantic University, Carel wants to use her personal experience with the debilitating disease to help others in similar situations.

That is why at the end of January she and 21 fellow Alzheimer’s advocates ranging in age from 19 to 80  from all across South Florida traveled to Tallahassee to advocate for those caring for and living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

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The Southeast Florida delegation joined more than 50 Alzheimer’s Association advocates from around the state in Tallahassee for the annual Rally in Tally event. The event educated state legislators about Alzheimer’s and advocated for the association’s state priorities. The Southeast Florida Chapter has not participated in the annual Rally in Tally day in over eight years. During the event, the historic Capitol was lit purple in honor of the more than 510,000 Floridians with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Having people come up from all around Florida to spread awareness is key to helping people realize the seriousness of this disease,” said Carel.

The Southeast Florida advocates visited more than 60 state legislators from their area in the eight hours they were at the Capitol. During these visits, the advocates discussed the association’s state priorities.

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Paul Carson, Dottie Carson, Rep. Mark Pafford, Gordon Broom, Larry Jordan and Nancy Ginden pose for a photo after a meeting at the Rally in Tally event.

The association aims to get an increase of $1.7 million in funding for respite services.  This increase will help the more than one million Alzheimer’s caregivers in Florida receive needed services, like financial assistance for adult day care.

In 2015, caregivers provided more than one billion hours of unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.  Currently, there are more than 3,600 families on the waitlist to receive respite services in the state.

The Alzheimer’s Association also aims to get an increase of $6 million for the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program. The program awards grants for research relating to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s is a global epidemic which is rampant in the state of Florida,” said Jennifer Braisted, advocacy and public policy coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter. “We went to Tallahassee to fight for the 1.5 million Floridians who are either living with or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.”

To find out how to get involved in the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida’s advocacy efforts call 561-967-0047 or email Jennifer Braisted at jbraisted@alz.org

Running for a cause close to my heart

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By Alice Delevante, Guest writer. Updated 2.28.2017

My name is Alice Delevante, and this weekend I am running in the Marathon of the Treasure Coast in support of patients and their families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

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(From left) Alice Delevante, Donna True and Doris Sanders at the finish line of the 2016 Treasure Coast Marathon.

More than 14 years ago, I got involved with the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Originally, I got involved due to my professional expertise, but since then I have had two family members affected by this disease. Because of the education I received from being involved with the organization, I was able to give advice and help my family members.

 

Throughout the years, I have volunteered for the association as an educator and as the chair for the Treasure Coast Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease creates both emotional and financial hardships on affected families. In Martin and St. Lucie alone, more than 14,000 people have the disease.

The Southeast Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides caregivers with a 24/7 helpline, support groups, resources and education. Money raised helps fund local programs as well as Alzheimer’s research.

There are a few ways you can help me support the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter.

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Alice Delavante (left) and Doris Sanders at the finish line of the 2016 Treasure Coast Marathon. Alice also ran a 5K February 11, 2017, in support of the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter.

 

  • You can register to run for the cause. There are multiple runs going on through March. On Sunday, March 5, the Treasure Coast Marathon and half marathon will be held. Find out more about registering here.
  • You can donate to my run here.

 

Find out more about the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association by calling the 24/7 helpline at 800.272.3900 or visiting their website at alz.org/seflorida. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I hope to see you on the route!