**Watch photo slide show** :Rep. Smith Helps Kick Off 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Bradley Beach
Joining fellow advocates and supporters from throughout the Monmouth and Ocean County region in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) today addressed more than a thousand marchers and helped cut the ribbon at the start of the Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer's, held in his congressional district in Bradley Beach.
Smith is the co-founder and co-chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease, and a long-time advocate for Alzheimer’s funding and research.
“A heartfelt thank you to everyone who came out today to support this great cause, especially caregivers and families who have a loved one struggling with this horrible disease,” said Smith who co-authored the bipartisan National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA, P.L. 111-375), which requires the creation of an annually-updated National Alzheimer’s Plan to coordinate efforts to fight Alzheimer’s and help those with the disease and their families.
“Events like this walk raise both money and awareness to support funds for Alzheimer’s research, and gives family members and people suffering from the disease hope that treatments and someday a cure will be found,” Smith said.
Smith has co-chaired the bipartisan Alzheimer’s caucus since 2000, and led the drive to quadruple federal Alzheimer’s research dollars from just under $600 million in 2015 to $2.3 billion in 2019.
An estimated 1,000 people-plus crowded the walk down the boardwalk. Walkers are expected to raise well over $100,000 for Alzheimer’s awareness and research at today’s event. The crowd was not deterred by the chilly fall weather.
Held annually in hundreds of communities nationwide, the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is one of the world’s largest events to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
In March 2018, key provisions from Smith’s Kevin and Avonte’s Law (HR 4221)—designed to help protect and locate children with Autism and elderly persons with Alzheimer’s who wander— were included in the Omnibus bill signed into law. The bill authorized $10 million in funding over five years for the Missing Americans Alert Program, which will help protect seniors with Alzheimer’s who are prone to wandering, as well as children with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The program funds programs designed to help family members find loved ones in the critical first 24 hours. The law, funded at $2 million per year through FY 2022, will provide grants to help educate local law enforcement, health care agencies, and other organizations on wandering prevention efforts.
Smith is also chairman of the House subcommittee which oversees global health issues and held the first ever congressional hearing examining worldwide strategies to combat Alzheimer’s disease. He chaired the hearing entitled “Global Strategies to Combat the Devastating Health and Economic Impacts of Alzheimer’s Disease” in 2011, a second hearing in 2013, and a hearing on “A Global Update on Alzheimer’s Disease” in 2017.