Yahres goes to nation's capital for Alzheimer's advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — John Yahres of East Longmeadow joined nearly 700 advocates from across the nation at the Alzheimer's Association's Advocacy Forum, which took place from May 15 to 17 in Washington, D.C. Yahres and other advocates attended seminars on Alzheimer policy issues and then took their own personal stories directly to Capitol Hill.

An avid advocate for the Alzheimer cause, Yahres is chairman of the Alzheimer's Association Board of Directors and a member of the Advocacy and Policy Committee, Run for the Memory Team and Memory Ride Team.

The trip culminated with the 37-member group from the Massachusetts/New Hampshire Alzheimer's Chapter visiting their congressional delegations to ask for their support for the Breakthrough Act to increase Alzheimer's research funding and the Hope for Alzheimer's Act to improve education about and detection of the disease.

"One of our top priorities is to increase Alzheimer research funding to help fight what could be a devastating situation for our nation," James Wessler, CEO and president of the Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, said. "If we do not find disease altering treatments, 10 million Baby Boomers will develop Alzheimer's."

Currently, approximately 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's. However, national funding for research has lagged behind other major diseases. The advocacy forum, sought to address that issue as well as educating members of Congress about the impact of the disease.

"We are grateful to John and all those who took the time to travel to Washington," Wessler said. "I encourage anyone who has been touched by the disease to get involved and follow the wonderful example set by John."

The Alzheimer's Association provides education and support for those dealing with Alzheimer's and is the leading non-profit funder of research into causes, cures and an eventual treatment for Alzheimer's. Offices are located in Watertown, Raynham, Springfield and Worcester, and Bedford and Lebanon, N.H.

Information is available at a 24-7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or www.alz.org/MANH.

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