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Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan: A Champion in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Feb 01,2020

Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Illinois. He served as The United States 40th President from 1981-1989.  There are many historical and personal events and accomplishments that we remember about President Reagan such as:

  • An accomplished actor appearing in more than 50 films.
  • The Governor of California.
  • The 1981 assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr.
  • The 1987 speech at the Berlin wall delivering the famous line “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”.
  • His key involvement in helping end the cold war.

But perhaps what people around the world remember most about President Reagan is his 1994 diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease and his death from the disease on June 5, 2004.

His Advocacy Before His Diagnosis.

It is important that we remember what President Reagan did for Alzheimer’s awareness many years before his diagnosis.  He was an early advocate of Alzheimer’s research and family caregiver support, spoke often about the importance of research, fundraising, support programs and issued 2 important proclamations addressing Alzheimer’s:

Proclamation 4996 – National Alzheimer’s Disease Week

On November 2, 1982 he proclaimed a week in November stating:

“Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, in accordance with House Joint Resolution 496, do hereby proclaim the week beginning November 21 through November 27, 1982. As “National Alzheimer’s Disease Week,” and I call upon government agencies and the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

Read the full proclamation at:

Proclamation 5405 – National Alzheimer’s Disease Month

On November 8, 1985 he proclaimed November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Month stating:

“Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of November 1985 as National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe that month with appropriate observances and activities.

Read the full proclamation at:

His Advocacy After His Diagnosis.

In 1994, 9 years after his proclamation of National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, President Reagan announced to the world that he had been given adiagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.  He stated that public awareness was a main reason he decided not to keep the news private, demonstrating his deep commitment in his advocacy.

After his diagnosis he and wife Nancy launched the Ronald And Nancy Reagan Research Institute at the Alzheimer’s Association which raised tens of millions of dollars.

Personally, I remember the love that he and his wife Nancy shared and in his letter to the public he made that clear when he wrote:

“I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done…Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden.  I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience.”

He also included wording in that letter that aimed to destigmatize the disease by wording his upcoming journey this way: “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.”

If you or someone in your life is on their journey through Alzheimer’s and in need of resources, please contact me directly at:

—Kara Harvey-CEO

Elder-Well™ Adult Day Program

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