I was lucky enough to go on vacation someplace warm this winter season. Sitting at a restaurant by the beach, I got to talking with a couple seated at the same table. We did the usual small talk. On vacation? Yes. Where are you from? Minnesota. What do you do? Research Alzheimer’s disease.

The conversation stopped.

The man informed me gravely that he had been diagnosed with the disease several years earlier. Even on vacation, even hundreds of miles away from Minnesota, the importance of our work trying to find treatments for Alzheimer’s was clear. There is always a family member, a friend or a person you are sharing a dinner table with who has been affected by this disease. It can be unpredictable, and it has effects not only on the person diagnosed, but on loved ones and friends.

I want to say thank you to our U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, for voting to increase federal funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research to $2.8 billion a year. Their support allowed me to tell my dinner companions not to lose hope. That leaders are committed to supporting people impacted by Alzheimer’s and that researchers like myself will continue to work towards treatments for the disease. You probably know someone who has been impacted by Alzheimer’s. If you are looking for ways to support this important cause, then consider going to the Alzheimer’s Association website at www.act.alz.org.

Jennifer Brown
St. Anthony Park

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