A Race Against Time to Stop Alzheimer’s

Maria Shriver's March on Alzheimers - 2010.jpeg

In December of 2010, Sandra Day O’Connor and I co-authored an OpEd in the Washington PostOur new national goal: Defeating Alzheimer’s in 10 years - that called on our country’s leaders to make fighting Alzheimer’s a national priority by setting a deadline for defeating this devastating disease.

That call to action was heard and our country has responded. We now have our first National Alzheimer’s Plan. Recently announced by the Department of Health and Human Services, the plan commits the United States to stopping Alzheimer’s by 2025.

This is an important moment in our fight against Alzheimer’s. We are entering an extraordinary era of hope — hope for a world without Alzheimer’s.

To mark this moment and spur momentum as our leaders work to implement the plan, Sandra Day O’Connor and I teamed up on a new column for USAToday.com, A race against time to stop Alzheimer’s.

In it, we write:

This commitment is a potentially transformative step in the fight against Alzheimer’s. For the first time, there is a national plan aimed at making that goal a reality. The 2025 deadline sends a clear message to the world that our country is taking the lead in realizing major breakthroughs and a cure in just over a decade.

Eighty million Baby Boomers in America — at least 10 million of whom will one day have Alzheimer’s — now have a solid reason for hope.

Yet planning alone is not sufficient. Now is the time for political and industry leaders to embrace this goal and to provide the resources and innovations needed to deliver on that promise. Alzheimer’s is not a marginal issue that merits a measured response. It is our generation’s defining challenge, requiring an ambitious national effort akin to landing a man on the moon or defeating communism.

We conclude:

Over the past three decades, we have put a halt to the lightning speed and frightening trajectories of cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS. As a result, these diseases will cost our nation and our families far less in the coming decades, in human and economic terms.

Let us dare to do the same with Alzheimer’s. Let us — the mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, daughters and sons, friends and loved ones touched by this disease — demand that it get the attention it deserves and the resources it needs to be stopped in its tracks.

If stopping Alzheimer’s is a marathon, then the National Alzheimer’s Plan is our starting gun. And 2025 is our finish line. Now, it’s time to get moving.

Click here to read the entire piece.

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About the Author

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Maria Shriver is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Since 2009, Shriver has produced a groundbreaking series of Shriver Reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in the American culture and society affecting women today. Shriver was California’s First Lady from 2003 to 2010 and, during that time, she spearheaded what became the nation's premier forum for women, The Women's Conference. Shriver's work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change -- people who see a problem in their own life or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution.

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