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Michele Bilyeu

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ALZHEIMERS ART QUILT INITIATIVE
February 4, 2011

As a member of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, I was asked by Ami Simms to send a 2" x 6" strip of purple fabric with the name of someone I loved on the back. The name of someone who has, or has had, Alzheimer's Disease, or a related dementia.

As I began to write their names on the back, it was like I could hear an honorary roll call being read out loud with each, and every name. At first I had a lump in my throat, and then a pain in my heart, and suddenly I began to feel tears as they streamed down my face.

Nine names, nine purple strips, nine lives touched and destroyed by the hurricane force of this horrible disease. Nine people in my family alone, in my memory, in my own relating generation, in my DNA, in my own heart.

Since that day, six more names have been added to that fate-filled list, including my own mother who now has advanced Alzheimer's, and my father who just passed away with his own early dementia.

Now, there are not nine, but 15 members of my immediate family whose purple ribbons are waving in the ribbons of love in my heart.. and out of that 15....only my mother is still alive, and still facing the challenges of a changed, and ravaged life.

And just as these purple banners wave across the hearts of all of those who view the "Alzheimer's Forgetting Piece by Piece" quilts, and will wave again in the "From Heartbreak to Hope" traveling exhibit in 2011, they wave, too, in all of our lives.

My life and the life of my family has been forever changed, and I am so grateful to have this wonderful organization supporting research into Alzheimer's. AAQI has given me the gift of knowing I can make a difference...in my life, and in the lives of all who face the challenges of Alzheimer's Disease.

I am so very proud that I am able to donate art quilts to this wonderful organization and even prouder when others hear my story and the stories of others just like me, and bid on, or buy quilts from AAQI.

Knowing that we have already made a difference in the ever-growing battle against this horrible disease with the monies we have earned, and the research that we have funded, not only gives me cause to hope.....it gives me a cause to believe in.

And I believe in the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and the wonderful work it does with all my heart.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have been blessed to know that I can use my gifts and creativity in a positive way that benefits research funding and gives me something I can physically do besides the exhaustive care taking of my family members stricken with Alzheimer's and related dementias.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find a way that it, and other funding organizations for Alzheimer's research would never be required at all. And this will happen when Alzheimer's Disease can be prevented or eradicated..once and for all!

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Quilter who has donated 19 art quilts (and have many more in process) to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Iniative for sale or auction. The profits from my quilts go towards research funding for Alzheimer's Disease.