Local Alzheimer's advocates meet lawmakers at state capitol - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local Alzheimer's advocates meet lawmakers at state capitol

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The group in Nashville on the steps of the Tennessee State Capital. The group in Nashville on the steps of the Tennessee State Capital.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Gathered in Chattanooga and decked out in purple, a group of Alzheimer's advocates boarded a bus Wednesday morning for the 135-mile trip to the Tennessee state capitol. 

The Mid South Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association made the trip to Nashville Wednesday to talk to lawmakers directly about the debilitating disease.

“I still love him, there's no doubt about that!” Andi Erwin said. 

Each person in this group has been affected by Alzheimer's in some way.

“The shuffling is getting a little bit more dominant now,” Erwin added.

Erwin's husband was diagnosed 11 years ago.

“I can see him talking through his eyes and through his motions,” she said.

He hasn't been able to speak for seven years.

“I haven't heard the words, ‘Andi, I love you,' for that long. And that hurts,” she added.

The independent man she married 46 years ago now relies on her for everything.

Kathleen Root was diagnosed just six months ago. She says being a part of this group helps her impact lives just like she once did as a nurse.

“It just means a lot to be with others that have similar disease symptoms like Alzheimer's,” Root said.

Both women are teaming up with others from across the state to share their stories with lawmakers to help them understand the importance of funding and legislation.

“By providing the care and support that's needed, we actually make a good investment by actually decreasing the cost of care of the illness,” Amy French with the Mid South Alzheimer's Association said.

Because it's the support from lawmakers that Erwin says will help doctors find a cure.

“I don't want this to happen to my girls. I don't want this to happen to my granddaughter and so we need to get out there and find something now,” Erwin said.

If you or a family member with Alzheimer's need help, you can call a 24 hour hotline at 800-272-3900 or click HERE for more information.

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