DERRY — A local mother-daughter team spent time in the nation’s capital, bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s disease.
Samantha Meletis, 15, and her mother Maureen joined with 1,000 other advocates in Washington, D.C., this week for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Advocacy Forum.
The women attended seminars on Alzheimer’s policies and then took their own personal stories to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators.
Maureen Meletis has been involved with the association for many years.
Samantha is a sophomore at Pinkerton Academy and was the youngest member on the trip.
She also attended seminars and shared her own story of Alzheimer’s disease and how it has touched her family.
Her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease and is currently living at Greystone Farm Senior Living in Salem.
Samantha is a volunteer at the center and regularly participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She is a top advocate for the disease in New Hampshire.
“Samantha treats my mother no differently and does not make her feel as if she is a burden,” Maureen Meleitis said of her daughter. “She just talks to her as if she was talking to you or I.”
Meleitis said her daughter often speaks of wanting to be a special needs teacher.
Right now, more than 5 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s disease with national funding lagging behind other major diseases, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“One of our top priorities is to increase Alzheimer’s research funding to help fight what is rapidly becoming a healthcare epidemic for our nation as baby boomers age,” said Betsy Fitzgerald-Campbell, vice president of communications of the association.
More than 22,000 people in New Hampshire have the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.