The Alzheimer’s Association was saddened to learn of the passing of former First Lady and Alzheimer’s advocate, Nancy Reagan. Mrs. Reagan was a long-standing honorary member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Board of Directors and her involvement in the cause inspired the Alzheimer’s community of families, caregivers and researchers.
In 1994, U.S. President Ronald Reagan shared that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, with an open letter to the American people writing, “In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clearer understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.”
Following this brave announcement of the diagnosis, Mrs. Reagan used her voice to represent families and increase awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
“The Alzheimer’s Association mourns the loss of First Lady Nancy Reagan. Mrs. Reagan and President Reagan bravely shared his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease with the world in 1994. This was at a time when Alzheimer’s disease was truly in the shadows and together they began to change the conversation about Alzheimer’s disease for millions,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO, Alzheimer’s Association. “The public disclosure of their Alzheimer’s experience created an enormous, and much needed upsurge of interest in the disease from the general public and government officials. It was our honor to work with Mrs. Reagan over the years to raise awareness and inspire progress in Alzheimer’s research.”
The Alzheimer’s Association offers sincere condolences to the Reagan family. We do not take for granted the amazing influence Mrs. Reagan had as an advocate for the Alzheimer’s cause, and we will continue to aggressively pursue greater awareness, support for families and research that will slow, stop and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s disease.