McConnell receives humanitarian award from Alzheimer’s Association at national dinner

Country legend Glen Campbell also honored

Sen. Mitch McConnell joined country music legend Glen Campbell at the Alzheimer’s Association’s national dinner Tuesday evening, where each received an award for their efforts on behalf of Alzheimer’s disease. The Association presented Sen. McConnell with its Humanitarian Award for his efforts to ensure that the U.S. Senate passed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA); Campbell was given an award for living with dignity as he battles the fatal disease.

NAPA, which became law in 2011, makes Alzheimer’s Disease a national priority and requires a national plan that is updated annually to address the Alzheimer’s crisis.

“By making Alzheimer’s a national priority, we have the potential to create the same success that has been demonstrated in the fights against other diseases,” said Teri Shirk, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter. Similar laws have helped reduce the number of deaths from other major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza and pneumonia, and stroke, Shirk said.

More than 1,000 political leaders Alzheimer’s advocates attended the national dinner at the Renaissance hotel in Washington, D.C., held to celebrate advances in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

While NAPA is among important milestones to celebrate, the most recent Alzheimer’s Association Facts & Figures Report, indicates that there is much to be done:

  • More than 80,000 Kentuckians are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to jump to 97,000 by 2025.
  • While deaths from other major diseases, such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS and stroke, continue to decline significantly, deaths from Alzheimer’s continue to rise – increasing 68 percent nationwide, and 73 percent in Kentucky – from 2000-2010.
  • Alzheimer’s was the cause of nearly 83,500 deaths nationwide – and more than 1,460 deaths in Kentucky – in 2010.
  • One in three Americans will have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia at the time of death.