Family supports budget plan for Alzheimer’s research funding

Alzheimer's patient Pete Feira
Pete Feira (photo provided)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – One part of Gov. Walker’s budget announcement addresses research and awareness for a disease affecting tens of thousands of Wisconsinites.

The Alzheimer’s Association says 110,000 people in the Badger State are living with Alzheimer’s disease. One local family knows how important every dollar is in fighting the disease.

“My dad was my hero, my best friend.  He was an educator through his whole career, spent a lot of time and touched a lot of people’s lives,” Nick Feira recalls.

Feira can’t help but smile when he thinks of his father, Pete.

“Kids were his passion, and he was like that with his own family.”

Pete died in November, seven years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Nick and his family were by his side that entire time, thrust into a world of unknowns from a scary disease with no cure.

“In our own research, just trying to learn about the disease, we found out that there really has been no major breakthroughs scientifically here in the last 10 or 12 years,” Feira said.

Wednesday the governor’s office is announcing $100,000 is being allocated to support research at the UW-Madison Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the latest focus from the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

“Five million nationwide, and we know in Wisconsin we also have very high numbers as well, and that is only increasing, which makes this whole budget, this release and this information even more important for the work that we do and the families that need it,” said Sarah Seeger, development director for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin Chapter.

While awareness and support are key for families, it’s in research and the future where they find hope.

“”I think about that all the time, could it be me?” Feira said. “Every time I forget something now I have that thought of, Is this the onset? Is it coming? And we really don’t know, but if that is the case, there’s the potential this could help me down the road as well, so it’s a big deal.”

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: http://www.alz.org/

Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center: http://www.adrc.wisc.edu/

Find a Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute memory clinic: http://www.wai.wisc.edu/clinics/clinicmap.html