I was so honored and thrilled to attend the Alzheimer's Advocacy Forum this year! This was my third time representing Tennessee at the National Forum and I was nothing short of humbled and inspired yet again this year.
I always leave the forum energized and motivated from all the incredible people that travel from their homes to our nation's capitol for this event.
This year we had record breaking attendance with 1,300 passionate advocates ready to make their voices heard.
I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me encouraging texts, phone calls, emails, and words of encouragement during this trip.
Some times it isn't exactly easy to keep fighting.
Sometimes it feels hopeless.
But the calls and emails and texts from all of you make it worth it.
You make me realize why I do it.
If you know me or thumbed through my website you know how ending Alzheimer's is one of my biggest passions.
I do it, because I refuse.
I refuse to let it take anymore of my family members.
And I refuse to let it take anymore of yours.
I'll leave you with this,
There was one moment before I boarded my plane that made every minute of work this forum worth it.
After I'd made it through security, I saw a familiar face dressed in purple.
I waved and the woman came toward me and wrapped me in a welcoming hug and she whispered "thank you."
I smiled and she continued,
"You don't understand. The older gentleman that you took your photo with- you don't know what it meant. He has early onset Alzheimer's; His wife was his primary caregiver. Last year, he met you at the conference and took his photo with you- and proudly showed it to his entire family. This past year his wife passed away. Coming to this year's conference he told me that he would love to see that cute, blonde pageant queen that he met last year, that would be the highlight of his year. So you see that was so much more than a photo for him. That was encouragement that there are still young, bright women fighting for for the end of this disease- That meant more to him than you'll know. So thank you. Thank you for taking the time."
Those moments make it all worth it.
Alzheimer's disease makes us feel alone; it makes us feel weak. But making my voice heard through action and advocacy- for your family and for mine- is where I find my strength.