Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ronald Reagan Announces He Has Alzheimer's Disease

Pol Light Moment #9 is when Ronald Reagan announced he had Alzheimer's Disease. It is a bright moment in politics not because any decent human being was happy to receive the news, but because when Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy elected to reveal his Alzeheimer's condition to the public, it raised awareness for an incurable and debilitating health condition that impacts millions of people by robbing them of their memories and eventually the ability to function. For more information on Alzheimer's see the Altzheimer's Foundation of America.

Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, serving from 1981-1989. 5 years after the end of his Presidency, Ronald Reagan revealed he had Altzheimer's on November 5, 1994.  Reagan lived with the progression of Alzheimer's for 10 years until he died on June 5, 2004.
The following is the text of a handwritten note Ronald Reagan released to the public about his condition.

Nov. 5, 1994 

My Fellow Americans,

I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Upon learning this news, Nancy and I had to decide whether as private citizens we would keep this a private matter or whether we would make this news known in a public way.

In the past Nancy suffered from breast cancer and I had my cancer surgeries.  We found through our open disclosures we were able to raise public awareness.  We were happy that as a result many more people underwent testing. 

They were treated in early stages and able to return to normal, healthy lives.

So now, we feel it is important to share it with you.  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.

At the moment I feel just fine.  I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done.  I will continue to share life’s journey with my beloved Nancy and my family.  I plan to enjoy the great outdoors and stay in touch with my friends and supporters.

Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden.  I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.

In closing let me thank you, the American people for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your President.  When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.

I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.  I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.

Thank you, my friends.  May God always bless you.


Ronald Reagan" (Source of Letter's Text)

Ronald Reagan's revelation that he had Alzheimer's has been impacting others living with a similar condition in their lives since it occurred in 1994.  It should be noted that the courage to reveal to the public that he had Alzheimer's was not without sacrifice for Ronald Reagan, because it fueled speculation on whether he had the condition while he was President of the United States. The Ronald Reagan Foundation said that:
As for the topic of Alzeheimer's, this subject has been well documented over the years by both President Reagan's personal physicians, physicians who treated him after the diagnosis, as well as those who worked closely with him daily. All are consistent in their view that signs of Alzheimer's did not appear until well after President Reagan left the White House (Source).
Ronald Reagan has been featured on other Pol Light posts. To view all Ronald Reagan posts search with the Ronald Reagan label at Pol Light.

Pol Light does not endorse political candidates. We present a brighter side to politics when they are found on either side of the aisle. We don't have to agree with all of a person's politics to recognize these bright moments.

Photo: The photo in this post is in the Public Domain.

1 comment:

  1. Alzheimer's Disease is one form of dementia in the elderly that can be specifically diagnosed. On top of that other diseases, illnesses and disorders of aging and general health often are amiss.

    Alzheimer Clinic