Congressman Chris Smith and Pt. Pleasant Beach Mayor Stephen Reid and George (Reid’s dog) joined CEO Kenneth Zaentz, Board Members James Formisano and Tracey Christenson Wolfman, and volunteer Anne Pagnoni to kick off the walk.
Since 1985, ALZNJ, has provided support and education to local Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Over 600,000 people in New Jersey are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, including 175,000 individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
In his remarks to the walkers and volunteers, Congressman Smith said,
“By walking, you not only raise critical funds for Alzheimer’s disease, but you also bring visibility, you mobilize and you prioritize efforts to mitigate, and someday cure, this dreaded disease. You also bring hope and a strong sense of solidarity with patients, family, and friends.
“By way of background, in 1998, I a New Jersey Republican, along with Congressman Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, founded the Congressional Alzheimer’s Caucus. I, to this day, chair the Alzheimer’s Caucus. We now have 181 members.
“The big breakthrough came in 2011, when we passed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. It not only created an advisory committee for a whole-of-government approach, but it also created a national strategy with a goal of finding a cure, or a disease-modifying therapy, by 2025. The impact has been profound. Research scholars at NIH, we got them to $600 million in 2015. We tripled it to $1.8 billion this year, 2018, and in 2019, it’ll go to $2.3 billion, which is a 400 percent increase in just five years.
“Your voice has been heard. Have hope.”
The Pt Pleasant Beach walk has already collected over $149,000 over its $245,000 goal. There are walks on Sunday, September 30, in Morristown, on October 7, in Princeton, October 13 in Jersey City and on Sunday October 28 in Paramus.
ALZNJ raised over $750,000 from their walks in 2017, 100% of which funded their programs.