Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 18, 2007

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Quilt to Remember Display in Chicago Draws Thousands of Visitors

NEW YORK -- An estimated 2,000 people visited the display of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) Quilt to Remember in Grant Park, Chicago, on May 11-13--the first stop on a nationwide tour in 2007.

The exhibit included nearly 100 panels that remember or honor those affected by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and their caregivers and healthcare professionals.

In remarks at the opening ceremony, Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer, said AFA initiated the AFA Quilt to Remember as "a way to give a voice to this population.”

“The most incredible thing about this project is that you feel the amount of love, compassion and care that these panels hold,” he said.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Judy Holstein, director of adult day programs at the Council for Jewish Elderly in Evanston, IL, whose organization contributed a massive panel crafted by individuals with dementia, their caregivers, and staff.

"It was an honor and pleasure for us to pay tribute to those affected by Alzheimer's disease...It's a unique way to tell a special story," she said.

The creative and colorful panels sewn by individuals and organizations across America drew emotional reactions and tears from visitors, including several panel makers from Illinois and surrounding states.

After traveling by train with her husband and young grandson, Pat Clarkson of Wyandotte, MI described it as a "powerful experience" to re-visit the panel she quilted in memory of her father.

"It means so much to me. I wouldn't have missed this," she said.

Similarly, Susan Thiel of Grayling, MI came with her family so they could see the quilt she made in memory of her grandmother, Frieda (Thiel) Schimmer. Her hope is that the project will help other families better understand the disease.

“Our family didn't have the heads-up to understand Alzheimer's disease early enough to make it easier,” she said. “If people start seeing [the quilt], they'll ask the questions. I hope this will call more attention to the disease so people recognize the symptoms and realize there are services out there to help.”

The AFA Quilt to Remember will be traveling next to Addison, TX, a suburb of Dallas, from May 26 to May 28.

AFA announced the AFA Quilt to Remember in late 2005, with the objectives of bringing the issue of “care…in addition to cure” to the national stage, and highlighting the enormity and reality of the brain disorder in an unprecedented way. So far, about 350 individuals and organizations across the country have made commitments to contribute panels, which measure either four feet or eight feet square.

For more information about the AFA Quilt to Remember, visit www.alzquilt.org or call 866-232-8484.

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484