PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - More than 150 advocates are expected to make the journey to Tallahassee next week.
Forty of those advocates represent South Florida and will attend approximately 75 meetings with legislators in just one day.
The event will begin at the historic Old Capitol Building. At sunset, the advocates and legislators will gather on the Capitol steps as the building is illuminated in the Alzheimer's Association's official color of purple.
The lighting includes a ceremony in which South Florida resident and advocate Jahna Jones will be telling her story. This year promises to host the most advocates and legislator meetings of any year in the event's eight-year history.
"I have 10 members of my family with the disease," Jones said. "I advocate because it's the only way I know how to fight. Working with the Alzheimer's Association, I realize that we are a force multiplied when we work together, and that truly makes a difference."
Volunteer advocates will also sit down to an Alzheimer's Association State Dinner and learn about legislative priorities that effect change in the trajectory of the disease.
"This year, we are committed to making sure our legislators meet their constituents, listen to their stories about caregiving and living with the disease and hopefully make Alzheimer's a top state priority in this legislative session," said South Florida public policy manager Jennifer Braisted.
There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.
Florida has the second-highest prevalence of the disease.
A little more than 1.1 million caregivers are providing 1.25 billion hours of unpaid care annually. This impact is valued at over $15.85 billion in health care costs.
The advocates traveling to Tallahassee hope to change these statistics and the trajectory of this healthcare epidemic.
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