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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | December 28, 2009

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Offers College Scholarship
Annual Competition Provides Chance to Reflect on Brain Disorder

NEW YORK, NY—For many teens, it is caring for their own grandparents or even parents with Alzheimer’s disease that leads them to apply. For others, it is a meaningful connection with a resident while volunteering at a local nursing home or the excitement of researching possible treatment breakthroughs during a lab stint that prompts them to participate.

Regardless of their story, AFA is encouraging college-bound students to apply for its 3rd annual AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship. AFA will award $5,000 to the winner, and, new for 2010, $500 and $250 prizes for first and second runners-up, respectively, which must be used toward first year tuition at a four-year college or university. The deadline is February 15, 2010. For more details and an application, visit www.afateens.org.

The competitive scholarship application asks students to write a 1,200-1,500 word essay giving thoughtful consideration to “the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on their own lives and what they learned about themselves, their family and/or their community in coping with the disease.”

As the number of teenagers who have witnessed Alzheimer’s disease in their own families or communities continues to grow along with the escalating incidence of Alzheimer’s disease nationwide, the scholarship is part of AFA’s efforts through its AFA Teens division to educate and raise awareness among teens across America about the brain disorder. AFA Teens was founded by a teenager, intent on mobilizing other teens to get involved in the cause.

“Through the college scholarship and AFA Teens, our goal is to give teens new outlets for the many emotions that surface when they encounter this disease, and, in doing so, new ways of coping with the illness,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and chief executive officer.

“We also hope that our efforts prompt more students to think about giving back to the growing dementia population by considering courses of study and future careers related to Alzheimer’s disease,” he added.

Alzheimer’s disease currents affects as many as 4.5 million Americans, resulting in loss of memory and other cognitive functions, and, ultimately, death.

Last year, AFA was inundated with applications from more than 1,500 college-bound students across the country.

The 2009 scholarship winner, Emily Riber of Monroe, CT, wrote about the lessons she learned after her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As a result of her personal experience, she was inspired to follow in the footsteps of the social workers who provided invaluable resources to her family throughout the course of her grandfather’s illness.

Riber, now in her first year at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University in New York City, noted, “Having a family member with Alzheimer’s disease definitely raises one’s awareness of those in need. The essay gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my own experiences and realize that there are many others going through the same challenges.”

In addition to the scholarship, AFA Teens has a Web site with information about the disease and a bulletin board for teens to express their thoughts and share experiences with peers. AFA also encourages teens to establish AFA Teens chapters in their communities. For more information, visit www.afateens.org.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York and made up 1,200 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 hot line, counseling, educational materials and a free caregiver magazine. For information, call (toll-free) 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484

Alzheimer's Foundation of America  866.232.8484 www.alzfdn.org