FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | August 31, 2007
Alzheimer's Foundation of America to Display Quilt to Remember in Los Angeles
Powerful Panels ‘Speak for Those who Can't Speak for Themselves'
NEW YORK, NY— Aylene Henderson-Bolds is best described by her daughter, Jean Bolds, as “a homemaker.” Doing everything the old-fashioned way, Aylene Henderson-Bolds took care of her family—hanging laundry on a clothes line, washing and drying her dishes by hand, and, of course, cooking their favorite meals.
“The aroma from the kitchen met you at the front door and you couldn't wait to eat!” recalled Jean Bolds of San Pablo, CA.
But, when Aylene Henderson-Bolds began progressively showing signs of Alzheimer's disease, roles became reversed. While caring for her mom was sad, Jean Bolds said, “It was the most important demonstration of love I could ever do for her,”
Now, Jean Bolds has demonstrated her love in yet another way: She has fittingly patched together some of her late mother's food-stained aprons to create a quilt panel for the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) Quilt to Remember, the nation's first grand-scale dementia-related quilt that pays tribute to those affected by Alzheimer's disease.
The colorful panel will be among approximately 100 other panels on display when the AFA Quilt to Remember is laid out on the lawn of Hancock Park in Los Angeles on September 15 and 16. Bolds will share reflections of her mother in the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. on September 15.
The AFA Quilt to Remember consists of large and thought-provoking panels contributed by individuals and organizations nationwide to memorialize or honor those who have passed or are living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, as well as caregivers and healthcare professionals.
“Each panel tells a person's story in a unique way and speaks for those who can no longer speak for themselves. By bringing these stories to life, we hope to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease in a very powerful and very real way,” said Eric J. Hall, chief executive officer of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, a national nonprofit organization based in New York.
Rollout of the AFA Quilt to Remember comes at a time when the incidence of Alzheimer's disease is escalating nationwide, and is expected to triple to 16 million by mid-century. In California, an estimated 440,000 individuals aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's disease; the number is projected to increase to 480,000 by 2010.
The West Coast display marks the third stop on the 2007 tour of the quilt; the massive arts project will also be showcased later this year in Philadelphia on October 26-28 and in Garden City, NY on November 2-4. Afterwards, it will travel to other cities for years to come as it continually grows in size with new contributions.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is the presenting sponsor of the 2007-2008 tour of the AFA Quilt to Remember. UPS is the transportation sponsor.
“Having pioneered early breakthrough treatments for neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Novartis is committed to addressing the unmet medical needs of people with Alzheimer's disease,” said Alex Gorsky, Head of Pharma North America and CEO Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “By partnering with the AFA to bring the Quilt to Remember to local communities around the country, we hope to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease and the impact the condition has – not only on patients, but also on their loved ones who care for them.”
Since AFA announced the AFA Quilt to Remember in late 2005, more than 350 individuals and organizations from coast to coast have made commitments to contribute panels; those created by individuals measure four feet square and those from organizations are eight feet square. Typically, the panels are creatively decorated with family photos and other appliqués reflecting a person's hobbies, career or other details.
For Brenda Smart of San Diego, crafting a quilt panel, bordered in colorful hearts, brought back fond memories of her father, Richard Tate, who died of Alzheimer's disease in 2002. It could not be a more fitting tribute, she said.
“On my 16 th birthday, my father asked me what I would like. I asked if I could have a homemade quilt that was sold in a local fabric store. It was expensive and a little extravagant for my father's budget. To my surprise, he purchased the quilt for me. I'm not sure if my father knew how very important that quilt was to me,” she explained. “I would love to honor my dad by submitting a quilt in his remembrance.”
Her patchwork quilt for the AFA Quilt to Remember consists of colorful hearts, mirroring the very same design of the quilt her father gave her. “Although torn and tattered, I still have that quilt today,” said Smart, now 50.
For more information about the AFA Quilt to Remember, visit www.alzquilt.org or call 866-AFA-8484.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York and made up of hundreds of member organizations that provide hands-on programs to meet the educational, emotional, practical and social needs of families affected by Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses. AFA's services include a toll-free helpline, counseling, educational materials, a free caregiver magazine, and professional training. For information, call (Toll-Free Helpline) 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org .
Note: Photos of the AFA Quilt to Remember and specific panels are available upon request.
Contact: Carol Steinberg