COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — 11-year-old Grant Wheaton is on a mission. On Thursday he headed to the Ohio Statehouse and joined Alzheimer's advocates from around the state for the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Day.
It's a chance for those impacted by the disease to share their stories with lawmakers.
And Grant has a story to share.
Six years ago doctors diagnosed his grandmother, Carol with Alzheimer's. In just 6 years her demeanor changed. She went from loving yoga and Zumba to hardly knowing who her grandson is.
"She doesn't really recognize me, " said Grant. "I tried to color with her, and she really didn't say anything. And she looked at me with a weird look. And stares at me the rest of the time."
Grant got the chance to meet with state representatives and aides, hoping to make a difference. He's hoping lawmakers will dedicate more money to education and more funds for resources to help those caring for Alzheimer's patients.
"When my grandmother was first diagnosed everything was okay, but in the third stage everything started to go downhill," said Grant.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, right now 5.8 million Americans are living with the disease, but if Grant has his way, that will change.
"I plan to be a medical examiner when I grow up. And if I ever do an autopsy on someone who dies of Alzheimer's I can find how it got in their body. How they got diagnosed and maybe it could lead to a way for a cure."
ABC 6/FOX 28 political reporter Ben Garbarek contributed.