Alzheimer's Research

The 40th president is seen as a hero to many Americans because of service in the white house. But for some, Ronald Reagan’s decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s is what they are remembering.

"Since the announcement of his death we have had an overflow of phone calls by people who were touched by his struggle, grief, we decided to honor caregivers in the community," said Tom McGough, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center.

Members of support groups and professionals held a candle lighting ceremony, calling them flames of hope for the increasing number of Americans touched by Alzheimer’s.

Local radio personality Sara Michaels lost her mother seven years ago; "I felt helpless other than physically caring for her.”

But she and others credit Reagan for his admission of the disease.

President of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center Michelle Bourgeois says he's responsible for an increase in funding.

Bourgeois says within five to 10 years, she expects there will be a greater understanding of what causes the disease and therefore better medications will surface.

Reports show there are around 3,500 people in Leon County suffering from Alzheimer’s.