Stand Up, Speak Out, Find a Cure

Debbie kisses her husband, Chris, who was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer's at 45.
Debbie kisses her husband, Chris, who was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s at 45.

“I can be quiet as a mouse with most subjects,” says Debbie Hunter, “but not when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease—I’m not intimidated by anyone when talking about Alzheimer’s.”

Debbie’s husband was diagnosed at 45 years old with younger onset Alzheimer’s, just months after his parents were diagnosed with the disease. He went into a nursing home first.

“We sold off everything to take care of him,” said Debbie. “This disease financially sucked our entire family under, and it will cripple this country if something isn’t done.”

That’s why Debbie became an advocate. She spoke first at an Alzheimer’s Association event. “I’m sure everyone could hear my knees knocking together,” she said laughing. She received a standing ovation, and thousands of dollars were raised for research. “By becoming an advocate, I suddenly had the power to help,” said Debbie. “Next, we’re going to Olympia to talk to the power makers and shakers.”

On February 25, 2015, Debbie will drive from Yakima to meet advocates from all over the state at the Washington State Capitol to tell their stories to legislators and their staff.

Alzheimer’s Association staff and consultants will brief participants on state issues related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias and will teach how to advocate that day in meetings with those who make decisions affecting caregivers and their families.

“Unless people stand up and speak out, a cure will not be found,” says Debbie. “Speaking raises awareness and awareness raises funds for research. We must rise up and speak out.”

To participate in Advocacy Day: email or call (206) 529-3886
For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association and public policy priorities visit

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