My mother and aunt have been involved with the Alzheimer's Association for a few years and currently serve on the planning committee for Celebrating Hope. A main catalyst of their participation was experiencing their grandfather die of Alzheimer’s many years ago. Although I never got to meet him, I am aware of the impact that Alzheimer’s disease had on my family and how it detrimentally changes the lives of individuals every day.
In early 2015, my mom returned from a meeting with the planning committee and mentioned that they began discussing the idea of starting a youth group to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. I told her that I would definitely be interested in participating in any way I could. I realized that where I lived in Greenwich, there were a multitude of youth groups supporting many worthwhile causes, but there was little youth involvement with Alzheimer’s. This, along with my family’s experiences and general knowledge of the disease’s impact, inspired me to spearhead the founding of the Alzheimer’s Youth Alliance (AYA). We are now a group of about 20 high school students from across Fairfield County that raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s. We participate in Alzheimer’s Association events such as Celebrating Hope and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, but we also plan our own fundraisers such as high school dances and ice skating socials. One of my favorite aspects of what we do is working directly with the elderly patients of the River House Adult Day Center, many of whom have the disease.
I am incredibly fortunate to have such a passionate and dedicated group working by my side to help in the effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease. In my eyes, they are all champions as well for taking a leap with me to create a group that, not too long ago, was just an idea. I know that Alzheimer’s can often seem too daunting and abstract for us to conquer, but seeing the AYA grow and meeting the numerous dedicated individuals of the Alzheimer’s Association this past year has given me hope that the end of Alzheimer’s will be very soon.