Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 9, 2012

New York Quilt Shop to Display Heartfelt Panel from
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s ‘Quilt to Remember’ Collection  

NEW YORK, NY —Barbara Bermel has watched Alzheimer’s disease destroy multiple members of her family, and now the Appleton, WI quilter will have the opportunity to use her creative skills to speak for her husband and many other loved ones who can no longer speak for themselves.

A heartfelt quilt square that she and three other members of the Darting Needles Quilt Guild crafted for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) Quilt to Remember will be featured at The City Quilter in Midtown Manhattan from April 10 to 17.

The City Quilter, a long-time haven for local quilters complete with 4,000 fabrics, patterns, supplies, sewing machines, books and an art-quilt gallery, is located at 133 West 25 Street—just a few blocks from AFA’s headquarters in Chelsea.

AFA hopes the display will touch the hearts of local quilters and shoppers regardless of whether or not Alzheimer’s disease has touched their own families, and that its emotional voice will encourage them to contribute a panel to the AFA Quilt to Remember.

The AFA Quilt to Remember is the nation’s first large-scale quilt that pays tribute to people who had or have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, their caregivers or healthcare professionals. Originally announced in 2005, and first displayed in Central Park in New York a year later, the powerful arts project has grown to include nearly 150 quilt panels submitted by novices and quilters from across the nation and several foreign countries. AFA continues to accept panels and takes part or all of the collection on tour on an ongoing basis.

In fact, also in New York, AFA will exhibit dozens of quilts at its free “Five Boroughs Concepts in Care Conference” for family and professional caregivers at the Crowne Plaza Hotel-Times Square in Manhattan on May 18. The quilt display is open to the public, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 pm.

Cathy Izzo, who opened The City Quilter with her husband, Dale Riehl, in 1997, said she is honored to showcase one of the quilts from the beautiful collection.

“These quilt blocks are testaments to the lives of people afflicted with this terrible disease,” she said.

The quilt selected for The City Quilter measures four feet square, and while the colors used on the panel are soft to the eye, its message is powerful: The center features a patchwork windmill with the saying, “Blowing down the windmills of the mind.”

Each of the four quilters created a portion of the panel as a moving personal tribute to their loved ones.

Bermel used her section to capture the fact that her husband, Lowell Wallerman, was, she said, “a farmer at heart who loved his church, people and animals.” In the top right corner, she stitched a tractor with the inscription, “Lowell loved farming.”

Wallerman developed the familial type of Alzheimer’s disease in 1982. He participated in a research group at the VA Hospital in Tacoma, WA, and passed away in 1988. Other members of his family also developed the young-onset form of the disease, which affects people younger than 65. More typical, the incidence of the disease doubles every five years after age 65.

Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO, said that showcasing even just one family’s story helps AFA raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease at a time when the number of people with the brain disorder is escalating. Currently, 5.1 million Americans, including an estimated 450,000 New Yorkers, have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It is with the efforts of people and places like The City Quilter that our cause is becoming more visible,” Hall said. “This is what will make all the difference in the years to come as we strive to reduce the harsh impact of this devastating disease.”

Izzo could not agree more, noting: “We hope [the quilt] will serve as a reminder to everyone who sees it to be grateful for their own continuing good health and to be thankful to those taking on the challenge of trying to eradicate this affliction.”

For more information about the AFA Quilt to Remember and to view the entire gallery, visit www.alzquilt.org or call 866-AFA-8484. For more information about AFA’s educational conference, “Five Boroughs Concepts in Care Conference,” visit www.alzfdn.org or call 866-AFA-8484.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals with dementia, their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free hot line, e-mail, Skype and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484