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A Quiet Crusader

Always a fighter for the people, Maurice Hinchey now battles a rare brain disease.

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Dickinson's organization, AFTD, offers support networks across the country for families affected by the disorder; they also raise funds for research to find a cure. "Medical technology is advancing, and the research into this disease is tremendously exciting," she says. "We are working very hard to get biomarkers, something we can measure in the blood or cerebrospinal fluid for a more accurate diagnosis. There are no disease-modifying treatments for any of the degenerative brain disorders—Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, Lewy body dementia, FTD—but a breakthrough in any one of these diseases is going to help all of us."

Today Hinchey is where he wants to be: in the home that he built with his wife, surrounded by trees and nature, with windows looking out on Overlook Mountain. He still has his full mane of silver hair, and he is still a very dapper dresser. He may not passionately discourse about politics these days, but his progressive views and legacy surround him like an aura.

"Maurice has always been completely dedicated to improving people's lives," says Marder Hinchey. "I think he feels that's why he was put on this earth. If revealing that he has FTD can raise awareness and prevent people from being misdiagnosed, or help them plan for long-term care, then he continues having a positive impact on people's lives, which is what he set out to do when he first ran for office more than 40 years ago."

FTD is a very tough disease, but Hinchey wakes up every morning with a smile. "He's aware of everyone's good wishes," says Marder Hinchey, who has been sharing with her husband the many messages of support, admiration, and gratitude that have been flowing his way. "We're lucky that he's still fundamentally himself and is happy," adds Michelle. "He's still Maurice Hinchey. That hasn't changed."

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