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Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative

Submitted by: Ami SimmsBlog

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) is an Internet-driven, grassroots, totally volunteer effort to raise awareness and fund research through art.

More than $157,000 was collected for various chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association during 2006 and 2007 by the AAQI. In January 2008, the AAQI became a Michigan nonprofit corporation and will be funding research directly.

The AAQI currently administers two major programs. The first is a nationwide quilt exhibit called "Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece". It contains 52 quilts each interpreting Alzheimer’s in some way. So far, an estimated 192,000 people have had the opportunity to see this exhibit. It will continue to crisscross the country until the end of 2010. A book and a CD of the exhibit are available for purchase.

The second is the "Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilt" project, so named for the urgent need for research dollars and the requirement that these quilts must fit into a flat cardboard USPS priority mailer without folding. They are small works of art no larger than 9 inches by 12 inches, offered in an online silent auction the first few days of each month or sold outright on the Internet or at selected venues across the United States.

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive and degenerative brain disease that kills brain cells. People with Alzheimer’s lose their memories, life skills, the ability to reason, to learn, and eventually to take care of themselves. It is always fatal unless another disease takes one’s life first. Quilters across the United States are threading their needles in the hopes of bringing a cure for Alzheimer’s disease one stitch closer.

Did any one person or event inspire the creation of the charity quilt organization?

It was founded in January 2006 by quilter Ami Simms. Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2001.

Geographic location of your organization.

US primarily although we have some foreign participants.

How many charity quilts have been donated?

Almost 3,000.

Are there any special yearly events, such as a quilt-a-thon?

We offer quilts for sale at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX each year. We hope to bring 1,000 quilts in 2008.

How many volunteers are involved?

A handful of core volunteers, and hundreds of quilters who make, donate, and purchase the quilts.

How can one volunteer, donate or get involved?

See our web page at www.AlzQuilts.org or go directly to the You Can Help! page. (Donate quilts, bid on monthly auctions, buy AAQI gear, subscribe to our AAQI update newsletter.)

Contact Information:
Web Site: www.AlzQuilts.org
Ami Simms (founder, curator, executive officer)
amisimms@aol.com or 810 637-5586

Reminder: I’m putting together a blog post of links to other quilter’s posts about their charity efforts. If you would like to write something this month, or already have a post, please send it to me for inclusion.

Posted: July 14th, 2008

Topics: Charity Quilting

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