Prominent Missourians to be Recognized for Contributions to the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Senator Blunt and Caregiver Daisy Duarte Receive Awards from UsAgainstAlzheimer’s at National Alzheimer’s Summit

WASHINGTON, DC (September 29, 2017) – In recognition of his commitment to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) will receive the Congressional Champion Award from UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, an innovative non-profit organization demanding and delivering a solution to Alzheimer’s. A second Missourian, Daisy Duarte, a tireless national advocate and caregiver to her mother who is living with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, will receive the 2017 Bea Lerner Valor Award. 

The awards will be presented at the 4th annual Out of the Shadows dinner, a globally recognized event that spotlights the immense burden of Alzheimer’s Disease on women. The dinner, which will take place on October 4 in Washington, DC. is part of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) 2017 National Alzheimer’s Summit

As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Senator Blunt has worked tirelessly to increase resources for the NIH and for Alzheimer’s research specifically. During his tenure as Chairman, Senator Blunt has delivered two successive $2 billion year-over-year increases for NIH funding overall and increases of about $350 million and $400 million for Alzheimer’s research specifically, with another $400-million plus for Alzheimer’s research proposed for Fiscal Year 2018. Senator Blunt has done this in concert with Ranking Member Patty Murray during a period in which overall federal funding has remained constrained.

“Senator Blunt has led the charge on Capitol Hill in providing the largest increase to the National Institutes of Health budget in more than a decade,” said George Vradenburg, Co-Founder and Chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “His visionary work means we are closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and treating, or even preventing, the disease. In recognition of his efforts to advance research for Alzheimer’s, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is proud to honor Senator Blunt with the 2017 Congressional Champion Award.”

Three years ago, Daisy Duarte a resident of Springfield, MO tested positive for the same early-onset familiar Alzheimer’s gene carried by her mother. The positive test result means that she has a high likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 65. She decided to use her time to fight for a cure as a caregiver advocate for LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s, the nation’s first-ever coalition of national Latino-serving organizations focused on raising awareness of Alzheimer's impact on the Latino community. Daisy works with Congressional lawmakers to make Alzheimer’s research funding a national priority and raises public awareness in the Latino community and beyond. Latinos are one and half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-Latino white Americans.  As one of the few Latina volunteers enrolled in an Alzheimer’s clinical trial at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Daisy speaks publicly across the country to inspire others to participate in Alzheimer’s clinical research.  She will participate in a panel about the role of patient centered research in addressing Alzheimer’s and brain health disparities as part of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Second Annual Alzheimer’s Disparities Symposium on October 3.

“The Bea Lerner Award was created in honor of Trish Vradenburg’s mother and is given to a person who has shown the same determination, fearlessness, hope, and humor in the shared fight against Alzheimer’s,” said Jason Resendez, Executive Director of LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s. “Daisy Duarte embodies this prestigious award through her devoted caregiving and relentless advocacy for an Alzheimer’s cure that will work for all Americans.”

The Trish Vradenburg Out of the Shadows Dinner

This year, the dinner was renamed the Trish Vradenburg Out of the Shadows Dinner in memory of Trish Vradenburg, the powerful co-founder of UsA2, who changed the course of the fight against Alzheimer’s through her relentless advocacy and humor. The dinner will include guests from across the nation, including members of Congress, researchers, experts, philanthropists and corporate leaders. The evening will showcase the unique perspectives of women in the fight against Alzheimer’s and include a conversation with several well-known women whose lives have been forever altered by Alzheimer’s including Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn, Kim Campbell, wife of the late Glenn Campbell, and Lauren Miller Rogan, who with her husband Seth Rogan created Hilarity for Charity to raise money and awareness of the urgent need for a cure. The full agenda is available here.

When: October 4, 2017, 6:30 pm (dinner/awards presentation from 7:30-9:30 pm)

Where: Ronald Reagan Building, Ballroom, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

Media interested in attending the dinner or receiving photos afterward, please contact Jeannette O’Connor at 202-302-3268 or

Alzheimer’s Background 
Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually is fatal. An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's – the most common cause of dementia – and there are over 15 million unpaid caregivers of Alzheimer's patients within the US. The number of individuals with Alzheimer's is expected to almost triple, approaching 13.8 million, in the next few decades. Alzheimer's disease is the third leading cause of death among Americans, and the only top 10 cause of death with no cure, no means of prevention, and no disease-modifying treatments.
Alzheimer's has a disproportionate impact on members of the African American and Latino communities, who are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's. African Americans are about twice as likely, and Latinos are about 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than are Caucasians for reasons not yet understood.
The extreme duration of, and dependency created by, the disease – often lasting 20 or more years – with no current cure or means of prevention brings most individuals and families to the verge of bankruptcy and Medicaid eligibility long before the disease has run its course.


UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) is an innovative non-profit organization demanding – and delivering – a solution to Alzheimer’s. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments. 

Founded in 2010, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s has worked across sectors to: (1) secure the national goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 and help secure nearly $500 million in additional public funding for Alzheimer’s research over the past few years; (2) drive global efforts that resulted in the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, the G7, to embrace a similar 2025 goal and to call for greater levels of research investment and collaboration; and (3) forge industry commitments to improve efficiencies for an expedited drug discovery and approval process. More information can be found at: 

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