Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in America and the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Still, this statistic comes as a shock to many who are not familiar with the disease. Today, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and prevalence is projected to increase to as many as 16 million by 2050. Despite the growing numbers, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are underdiagnosed, and that lack of awareness prevents those living with the disease and their caregivers from receiving the care and support they deserve and need.

Today, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) and the Alzheimer’s Association applaud the U.S. Postal Service for accepting the request of Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA-43) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) to issue a new stamp to promote Alzheimer’s awareness and support research on the disease. This provision has been supported by and long advocated for by AIM and the Association. The issuance of the Alzheimer’s Disease Semipostal Stamp will raise critical public awareness about the disease and aid the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in its efforts to increase Alzheimer’s research funding to the appropriate level if we are to cure or effectively treat the disease by 2025. Proposed NIH Alzheimer’s research funding totals reached a historic $1.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2017, and an additional $400 million is pending for FY2018. These recent increases, combined with the proceeds raised by the sale of the Alzheimer’s Disease Semipostal Stamp is providing those affected by the disease with hope.

We asked Kathy Siggins (from Maryland), fierce advocate of the Alzheimer’s Semipostal Stamp Act and former caregiver for her husband, to describe what a triumphant win the stamp is for Alzheimer’s advocates:

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“No words can describe my feeling when I got the news from Mary Anne Penner, Director of Stamp Services, that Alzheimer’s had been selected to be the first semipostal to be issued under the USPS Discretionary Semipostal Stamp Program. My heartfelt thanks to all of the dedicated advocates, caregivers and families of loved ones lost who are here in spirit as we celebrate this milestone. A special thank you to my dear friend and fellow advocate Lynda Everman who joined me in this fight to help make this happen, in memory of our late husband’s Gene and Richard, we finally did it. I want to thank Reps. Maxine Waters and Chris Smith, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and Rep. Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and their colleagues for making this possible to help families living with Alzheimer’s disease.”

AIM and the Alzheimer’s Association join in Kathy’s appreciation for the work of Reps. Waters and Cummings, and thank Kathy and all of our advocates for their hard work over the years to make this stamp a reality.