For twelve years Lynda Everman was a silent caregiver. Her husband, Richard, was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment in 1997; in an effort to preserve his dignity, she told few people what they were going through.
“We were both introverts and private people,” Lynda says. “My husband and I were a team, taking care of each other, moving through a situation that was too painful to address in public.”
After she had to move her beloved husband into assisted living, she went on her first advocacy trip to her state capital, Nashville, where she began telling their story. Along with activist Kathy Siggins, Lynda campaigned for a semipostal stamp that could raise money for Alzheimer’s Disease research.
The proposed stamp is similar to the Breast Cancer semipostal: consumers pay a little extra for the stamp and the additional funds go to the NIH for medical research. The US Postal Service has raised more than 81 million dollars for breast cancer through sales of that stamp. Lynda and Kathy wanted the same opportunity for Alzheimer’s research.
Lynda has been a tireless advocate for fighting Alzheimer’s. On her advocacy site, Help Stamp OUT Alzheimer’s, she shares research and legislative updates, caregiving tips, the work of fellow advocates, and words of encouragement. She is a founding member of three national networks, all under the umbrella of USAgainstAlzheimer’s: ActivistsAgainstAlzheimer’s, ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s, and WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and a Board Member of Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science. Together they campaign for policy change and for increased funding for Alzheimer’s research.
Lynda has written to every member of Congress urging them to cosponsor the Semipostal and she and Kathy have made countless visits to members.
Lynda and Kathy visited more than 60 members of Congress, trying to persuade them to sponsor and approve the Alzheimer’s semipostal. Both the House and Senate have to give their “stamp” of approval before the Congressional Budget Office can consider the project.
The bill was introduced in the House as part of the Alzheimer’s Action Now initiative and has 63 cosponsors. Sen. Mikulski will reintroduce a companion bill in the Senate very soon. But if the bill doesn’t pass by the end of the year, it expires.
Here’s where you come in. The stamp requires no governmental funding or increase in taxes. It’s bi-partisan and bi-cameral. You can help RIGHT NOW by calling your congresspersons and asking them to cosponsor H.R. 3092.
“It is important to share your story and speak out for those who cannot,” Lynda says. “ Please help them and their caregivers—and help us make this fundraising stamp a reality.”
Ask that the Postmaster General use her authority to issue an Alzheimer’s Disease Research Semipostal independent of the legislative process. Simply go to: : https://www.uspsoig.gov/blog/putting-stamp-good-causes
To call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, dial 202-224-3121 and ask to be put through to the offices of your two Senators and Representative. If you don’t know the names of your representatives, you can get that information, as well as the direct line to their offices, by visiting: http://www.contactingthecongress.org.
For more about Lynda’s work, please visit:
In addition to founding ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s, Lynda served as a editor for “Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers” and their recently released Leaders Guide for support groups. She has a blog post on UsA2: http://www.usagainstalzheimers.org/blog/its-time-alzheimers-stamp
For more about the semi postal, please visit www.alzjourney.com/2014/02/15/help-stamp-out-alzheimers/
Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.
COMING SOON: CONNECTING IN THE LAND OF DEMENTIA: CREATIVE ACTIVITIES TO EXPLORE TOGETHER