As an advocate for Alzheimer’s awareness, Kathy Tuckey is passionate about her job as program director of the Alzheimer’s Association/Georgia Chapter.
The chapter oversees programs for a 17-county region, and in preparation for Alzheimer’s Awareness Day in Atlanta on Feb. 27, the office will hold two advocacy training sessions to discuss the issues facing those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
Residents who attend Alzheimer’s Awareness Day at the state Capitol can then take those issues to their legislators.
The training sessions will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Alzheimer’s Association office at 106 SRP Drive, Suite A, in Evans, across from Bel Air Elementary School.
There are an estimated 14,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s in the area, with 1,800 to 2,000 of them living in Columbia County. “The issues of this disease are bipartisan,” Tuckey said. “This disease knows no race, sex or age.”
During their time in Atlanta, residents will talk with their local representatives about the issues that Alzheimer’s patients experience.
“We will go as a group to our legislators,” said Tuckey, adding that there is no charge for the training sessions or the bus trip to Atlanta. “Because their time is limited and we want to have the greatest impact possible during our time with them, we are holding these training sessions to prepare for the issues we want to discuss with them.”
Tuckey describes Alzheimer’s Awareness Day as a “powerful day” that has grown to about 400 Georgia residents rallying for the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Her goal is to see a large delegation of area residents attend the event.
“When our representatives see the sea of purple, hear our voices and listen to our experiences, it’s just powerful,” she said. “Advocates make amazing connections on this day.”
This year, Tuckey said, advocates will be pushing the passage of Senate Bill 14, which proposes the creation of the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan Task Force.
More about the bill can be found online at www.alz.org/georgia, with a link on the front page under “Awareness at the Capitol/State Plan.”
“People realize that this is not a charity we’re talking about; it’s a cause,” she said. “There are no survivors to this disease. The biggest hurdle is removing the stigma of the disease and speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves.”
To register for the training sessions and/or the bus trip, visit www.alz.org/georgia or call the Evans office at (706) 860-4599.