Local advocates speak to Senators about Alzheimer's disease - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local advocates speak to Senators about Alzheimer's disease

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The local Alzheimer's Association brought a group to Nashville on Wednesday to speak with lawmakers about the disease.
    
"We have put them in office to represent us," said Amy French, "And they can not represent us if they don't know what we're concerned about."

Andi Erwin is one of a few dozen - dressed in purple -- and heading to the Tennessee State capital.
    
12-years ago, Erwin's husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"He was a minister, and he had more difficulty putting together his sermons and doing the presentations," Erwin remembers, "Because he used to be able to present without any problems whatsoever."

For seven of those years, Erwin has been going to Nashville to share her story with lawmakers.

"Within four years of his diagnosis he became non-verbal," she said, "It was like losing someone, but yet they're still there with us."

The group will have the opportunity to speak before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, something never before done with the Alzheimer's Association.

"We only have five minutes so we have to make the most of that," French said, "But our group will be recognized on the Senate floor and that's pretty exciting."

They'll be asking for help, in any way possible, to raise awareness and funding in hopes for a cure.

"I just know that we need to find this cure so that it will be taken care of and so that my children and grandchild doesn't get it."

While Erwin's husband keeps fighting the disease, she's cherishing every small victory.
    
For example, the time her daughter walked her dad down the isle for her wedding last month.
    
That's what's keeping Erwin hopeful.

"It's been hard, knowing that they can't hear their daddy say "I love you," Erwin said.

The Alzheimer's Association was schedule to speak to the Senate Health and Welfare committee around 3:00 CST.

For more information about Alzheimer's disease and the resources available in Chattanooga, click here.

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