As those living with Alzheimer’s disease know, the disease is devastating not just on the individual but also on their loved ones. This is why the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) and our sister organization, the Alzheimer’s Association, have focused our efforts on advancing increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research, and enhance care and support services for individuals living with the disease and their caregivers.

Thanks in part to bipartisan leadership in Congress, we have made great progress on both of these fronts in recent years. One such congressional leader is retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). From her time has a member of the House of Representatives beginning in 1977 through her tenure as senator, she has been a tremendous, steadfast champion in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease. She has pushed for increased federal research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and is a co-sponsor of the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.

It is because of these contributions and many more that she was honored with the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association Lifetime Leadership Award. The Lifetime Leadership Award is given to public officials who have made significant contributions to help create a world without Alzheimer's and to provide support for those who are struggling with the disease. Senator Mikulski's selection recognizes her long-standing leadership on policy issues relating to Alzheimer's disease research initiatives, and care and support programs.

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First announced during the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum in April, Sen. Mikulski was officially given her award earlier this month in her Baltimore office. I had the great pleasure of joining Alzheimer’s Association board member Carl Tuerk, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Maryland Chapter board president Jeffrey Scherr, and Cass Naugle and Ilene Rosenthal of the Greater Maryland Chapter to present the Senator with the award. During the meeting we thanked the Senator for her work towards a world without Alzheimer’s disease.

When she retires at the end of the 114th Congress we will be losing a great advocate for our cause, but we know she will continue the fight in her role as a private citizen.

Robert Egge is the Chief Public Policy Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Impact Movement.