Alzheimer’s awareness month, one that must be recognized


As the crisp passing of the baton from October to November arrived in its yearly fashion, other shifts fell into place along with it. Pumpkins became turkeys. Colorful leaves on the ground became less colorful leaves on the ground. Pink became purple.
After the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October reached its conclusion it became the National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month of November. Under its official color of purple, the Alzheimer’s Association has worked to expand public recognition of the issue, bringing the topic to the forefront of public discussion and garnering national attention. November has been designated as such for 33 years, and the disease has only become a more prevalent issue in that span.
The month of November originally became Alzheimer’s Awareness month in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan signed off on the action. This was a mere five years before President Reagan himself succumbed to the disease. According to the disease has grown astronomically since that time, going from 2 million diagnosed cases in America in 1983 to more than 5 million now. The expansion in known cases is a further testament to increased awareness of the issue; though the actual number of people affected by the disease has stayed fairly constant through time, more people are being able to be diagnosed and therefore treated because of an increased knowledge of its symptoms. “Alzheimer’s disease is very widespread and people definitely need to be more educated about it,” junior Humza Mohiuddin said.
The Alzheimer’s Association has transformed the month’s honorary designation into a movement. It has gotten people to rally behind the hashtag #ENDALZ (short for end Alzheimer’s), and are selling purple merchandise with the moniker to raise funds for further research on the disease. The hashtag is also being utilized on varying social media formats to spread the word through the most populous mediums on earth. The Alzheimer’s Association official twitter page (@alzassociation) has 102 thousand followers, while its Facebook page has amassed 772,170 community likes as of Nov.15. While the purple is flying a little further under the radar than its prominent pink counterpart, it has attracted some notable celebrity support. Famous figures fighting for the cause include actor Seth Rogen, author Nina Garcia, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, skateboard legend Tony Hawk and the cast of the Big Bang Theory, among numerous others. “What the association is doing is pretty incredible. They’ve gotten lots of [nationwide] attention directed toward directed towards a problem that has largely been under the radar,” junior Justin Slud said.
The funds from the movement go towards finding more effective cures for the disease. Of the money raised, 16 percent goes to further fundraising efforts, six percent to administrative costs and 78 percent to care, support and research for the disease. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease to treat, so the funds are extremely helpful in aiding those already grappling with the disease in addition to their research purposes. Thanks to the movement and the funds attained, headway is already being made in the study of the disease. “Alzheimer’s and related dementias research is a dynamic field, and momentum builds each year,” the Alzheimer’s Association said via their website.