On Wednesday, I spoke on the Senate floor to reflect on the life and work of President Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and to discuss their work – and our ongoing work – to end Alzheimer’s disease. In 1994, President Ronald Reagan wrote a handwritten letter to Americans announcing that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – a disease that would ultimately take his life. In this letter, he wrote: “At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done...”
Americans watched with sadness, but enduring hope, as President and Nancy Reagan together used their platform to advocate for Alzheimer’s research, which led to the eventual creation of the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute at the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago, Illinois. Over the past several decades, this research institute has awarded millions of dollars in Alzheimer’s research grants and has continued to see breakthroughs in our understanding of this aggressive disease.
Now, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, I have advocated for and successfully worked to sustain funding for Alzheimer’s disease research in FY2019 – finally reaching the funding goal for research laid out in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s. And as co-chair of the Senate NIH Caucus, I am optimistic that these funding increases, combined with NIH initiatives to map the human brain and further develop personalized medicine, will lead us closer to an Alzheimer’s treatment and a cure.