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August 23, 2008

Governor Blagojevich honors an Alzheimer’s advocate during the first day of the State Fair
Advocate works to educate and raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease

DuQUOIN – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Sherry Meadows as the latest recipient of the PATH (Peoples Are Today’s Heroes) Award for her dedication and support of people battling Alzheimer’s disease during a ceremony at the DuQuoin State Fair. 
The Governor’s PATH Award recognizes groups or individuals who, through their hard work and commitment, have improved the lives of those in their community and have helped Illinois move forward in the areas of health care, public safety, education and economic development.
“Sherry is an example of what makes a hero.  She’s a tireless advocate for people dealing with Alzheimer’s.  Her work to build a support system to comfort people affected by this devastating disease is commendable,” said Governor Blagojevich. 
Sherry serves as a volunteer in honor of her late husband and in hopes that she may help families going through this long journey and educating the public.  Since 1997, Sherry has volunteered at the Alzheimer's Association.  Presently, she is a Senior Advocate for the Alzheimer's Chapter for Jefferson County.  Sherry is also very active in her community serving on numerous boards.  Ms. Meadows has served the public as the Mt. Vernon Township Assessor since 1990. She has one daughter, Angie Morgan.
“When my husband, John, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1997, I saw the man I was married to for nearly forty years, and who was a skilled wood craftsman and loved kids, become dependent on me.  I decided that in order to cope I needed to educate myself and others about this disease as we progressed on our journey, and the Alzheimer's Association became a great resource for me and my daughter,” said Sherry Meadows, the recipient of the Governor's PATH Award. “I am also grateful to Governor Blagojevich for being committed to promoting research, and providing and enhancing care and support for all affected by Alzheimer's disease.”
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that affects as many as five million Americans.  Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life.  Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal.  Today it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. 
Presenting the award on behalf of Governor Blagojevich was John Smith, Executive Director at the Egyptian Area Agency on Aging.  “Sherry saw a need and works to fulfill it to help people whose lives have been impacted by this disease,” said John Smith.  “I am pleased to present this PATH Award on behalf of the Governor.” 
“Sherry has single-handedly provided the voice of hope and help in the Mt. Vernon area where it has been difficult for the Alzheimer's Association to have as big of a presence as we would like,” said Jen Phillips, Volunteering and Community Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer's Association, St. Louis Chapter.  “We are also very fortunate to have the support of Governor Blagojevich who has provided the opportunity for us to educate the citizens of Illinois about this very serious disease.”
Governor Blagojevich proclaimed November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Illinois to raise awareness and remind caregivers of available support to assist the more than 210,000 adults in Illinois currently afflicted by the disease.  Through the Illinois Department on Aging’s Community Care Program (CCP), adult day services are available to assist eligible older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.  The Department contracts with 70 adult day services providers with multiple facilities located throughout the state, several specializing in serving older adults with Alzheimer’s.


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