NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), today noted the centennial birthday of President Ronald Reagan on February 6 by issuing a statement that acknowledged the former President's contribution to Alzheimer's awareness.
"As the nation marks the centennial celebration of President Ronald Reagan on February 6, it is timely to note how far the nation has come and how far it has yet to go in terms of Alzheimer's disease awareness.
"There is no doubt that President Reagan significantly moved the needle on the state of Alzheimer's disease when his handwritten note in November 1994 publicly informed his fellow Americans, 'I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.'
"The President's courageous acknowledgement was a cause-changing milestone for American families likewise facing the disease and for society in general. It marked the first step toward pushing the cause more into the mainstream, removing some of the stigma and denial that had clouded it and enabling other Americans to better understand the disease. Moreover, it alerted the nation that this disease merits our attention.
"Further, Mrs. Reagan's relentless advocacy since to bolster research and champion the case of caregivers has also given the disease the spotlight it needs to make headway toward a cure and optimal care.
"While greater awareness and more effective treatments and care practices have emerged over the past 17 years, we have yet to see the overall progress that this disease warrants. However, fitting at this time of President Reagan's centennial celebration, major developments are unfolding. Of enormous significance, the recent establishment of the National Alzheimer's Disease Project, with its charge to coordinate government efforts to prevent and treat the disease and create a national strategy to defeat it, holds much promise.
"As we celebrate President Reagan's 100th birthday, let's look to the generous spirit of the President's public acknowledgement of Alzheimer's disease as inspiration for the nation to steadfastly move forward to conquer this heartbreaking disease."
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families, and unites 1,600+ member organizations nationwide that provide hands-on programs. AFA's services include a toll-free hot line with counseling by licensed social workers, a free caregiver magazine, a National Memory Screening Day initiative and the AFA Quilt to Remember. For information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America