FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 23, 2008
Mother’s Day Display Set for Powerful Alzheimer’s ‘Quilt to Remember’ in Minneapolis
Heartfelt Panels Give Voice to Moms, Others with Brain Disorder
NEW YORK, NY—When Rose Schoeneberger of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet was in a retirement home in St. Paul, MN, she decided to take a quilting class across town. She began turning out one gorgeous panel after another, each—true to her name—with a different rose pattern.
One day, Schoeneberger and a friend from the same order were sifting through the quilt blocks when they discovered that two were exactly the same. Schoeneberger, who by then was in the advanced stages of dementia, never touched the project again.
Today, some of Schoenberger’s hand-sewn rose squares, including one unfinished block left with her threaded needle pinched through the fabric, are woven into a larger quilt that memorializes her. Put together by Sister Mary Lou Murray, a friend, the rose-filled quilt is part of an even larger quilt—the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) Quilt to Remember.
The AFA Quilt to Remember is the nation’s first grand-scale quilt composed of heartfelt panels from individuals and organizations across America that pay tribute to those who have or had Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, and their caregivers or healthcare professionals.
On May 9 to 11, the AFA Quilt to Remember will be on display at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, the first stop on its 2008 tour and timed to coincide with Mother’s Day weekend.
“The AFA Quilt to Remember brings to life what families go through with this disease each and every day, and shows that real people…mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc., are touched by it. The panels celebrate loved ones’ lives with heartfelt memories and raw emotion, enabling us to raise awareness in the truest sense,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and chief executive officer.
AFA, a national organization focused on providing optimal care to those with dementia and their families, unveiled the AFA Quilt to Remember for the first time in November 2006 in New York. Since, it has swelled to include 100 powerful panels, and more than 300 others have been committed. Panels will be accepted on an ongoing basis.
Murray couldn’t have thought of a better way to honor her friend than by participating in the Quilt to Remember. In contributing the panel, she reflected on the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, noting: “Watching her deteriorate for eight long years was very difficult; it was a really long good-bye.”
Sharlene Klegstad, Hallock, MN, teamed up with her sister and sister-in-law to honor her mother, Marian Flaget. The three women thought the quilt project would be an appropriate way to share Flaget’s story since they all enjoy quilting and Flaget had taught her two daughters how to sew.
“Making this panel was good for our souls—it was good to remember who our mother was and to reflect on how she influenced us,” Klegstad said. “Alzheimer’s has been characterized as a ‘long good-bye’; constructing this panel was more like ‘a hello’…a ‘hello’ to our mother once again.”
Differently, a panel submitted by Rosewood Estates, an assisted living residence in Roseville, MN, pays tribute to many people affected by Alzheimer’s disease. It honors the “wonderful residents and their families who deal with this disease so bravely,” according to Peg Ricci, a nurse at the facility.
The AFA Quilt to Remember will be on display at the Mall of America on May 9 and 10 from 10 am to 9 pm and on May 11 from 11 am to 6:30 pm.
From Minneapolis, it continues on to other cities this year, including Palm Beach, FL in June and Washington, DC in September.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is the presenting sponsor of the 2007/2008 tour. UPS is the transportation sponsor, moving the dozens of boxes that contain the quilt and collateral materials around the country.
The collection has already been displayed in several major cities, from Los Angeles in the West and Philadelphia in the East, and it will continue to be taken on the road for years to come. To find out how to contribute a panel and for tour information, visit www.alzquilt.org.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, and their families, and unites 800 member organizations nationwide that provide hands-on programs. AFA’s services include a toll-free helpline with counseling by licensed social workers, a free caregiver magazine, and National Memory Screening Day. For information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Carol Steinberg