Monday, September 21, 2009

World Alzheimer's Day and the AAQI


World Alzheimer's Day (September 21st of each year) is a day on which Alzheimer's organizations concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer's and related dementias. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning. At the moment, Alzheimer's is progressive and irreversible.

 Today, it is estimated that about five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and about 360,000 people are newly diagnosed every year. Alzheimer's affects about 10 percent of people ages 65 and up, and the prevalence doubles roughly every 10 years after age 65. Half of the population ages 85 and up may have Alzheimer's.And if you have relatives who have the disease, as I do (on both sides of my family!) the figure jumps to a 60% chance of my someday having this disease, as well.

Because the population of the U.S. is aging, the number of people with Alzheimer's will continue to rise unless something can be done to stem the increasing torrent of cases. At current rates, experts believe that as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease by the year 2050.
In honor of World Alzheimer's Day, as recognized by the Alzheimer's Association, and supported by groups worldwide, I have several projects (shown here) on my art quilt design table and others (not shown) in progress, elsewhere that are being donated to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) is an Internet-driven, grassroots, totally volunteer effort to raise awareness and fund research through art. Located in Michigan, they are a nonprofit corporation with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. All profit is used to fund Alzheimer's research. Since the AAQI began we have raised more than $285,000 for Alzheimer's research.

The AAQI currently administer two major programs. The first is a nationwide traveling quilt exhibit called "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece By Piece." It contains 52 quilts each interpreting Alzheimer's in some way. So far, more than 200,000 people have had the opportunity to see this exhibit. It will continue to crisscross the country until 2010. A book and a CD of the exhibit are available for purchase.

The second is the "Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts" project, so named for the urgent need for research dollars and the requirement that these quilts must fit into a cardboard USPS priority mailer without folding. They are small works of art no larger than 9 inches by 12 inches, auctioned on the first day of each month (see below) or sold outright on the Internet or at selected venues across the United States.

And third will be the newest project, in process now. The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is in the process of creating a new traveling exhibit called "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope." It will be exhibited at venues throughout the United States from January 2011 through December 2015.

This new exhibit will replace the current exhibit "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" after it retires at the end of 2010.

"Alzheimer's Illustrated" will feature 182 quilts, each measuring 6 inches wide by approximately 7 feet tall. The long and narrow 'Name' Quilts will be made from 55 purple patches sewn together wrong side out. Each patch will be marked with the name of a person who has/had Alzheimer's disease. These names have all been provided through the The Purple Patch Project

Founded by Executive Director, Ami Simms (her own mother was one of 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease), the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative was founded because Ami believed that it was possible to make a difference, one quilt at a time. But it takes the power of each individual who participates, to make that difference, and that dream, possible.

Links:
  • Please check out The Priority Alzheimer's Project for learning how you might make a small quilt donation of your own. The two sizes are shown on my art design table above.
  • Join us at AAQI in making a small quilt, mail in a monetary donation or just do some Goodsearches today !!!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for all the valuable information, I had no idea there was a dedicated day of recognition for this dreaded disease...

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  2. Thank you for this blog post. I couldn't have said it better myself, and I didn't, so I'm glad you did!

    Thank you for your huge support of the AAQI. I so appreciate all you do for us with needle and "pen."

    Ami Simms

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  3. Thanks for all this information. After hearing about the stats last night in regards to Alzheimers and dementia, awareness definitely needs to happen. I was blown away by those stats!!

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  4. I wore my purple yesterday in honor of World Alz. Day.

    PQ #68 is almost ready to register and PQ #69 has been sketched and doodled to death. If MIL continues to improve, I may even get to stitch again for AAQI soon.

    Wonderful post ~ hugs to you for all you do!

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon. Leave a comment and your blog will be visited, as well!