I became interested in Alzheimer's research five years ago when my father was diagnosed with the disease at 52 years of age. This year,(after moving from Denver, CO to Fort Smith, AR) I decided I wanted to do something to help. I went to one of the few people I felt I could talk to; my science teacher, Steve Arnold. After telling him about my dad and what I wanted to do, he sent out an e-mail to everyone on his list asking if they knew a way that I could get in touch with someone who knew how I could help. He almost immediately received an e-mail telling me to get in contact with Cheryl Bled saw, the director of the Alzheimer's Association for our district. Mr. Arnold called her and told her about what I had gone through and what I wanted to do. She then told him about a public policy trip that the Association took every year. On this trip, citizens from each state speak do the congressmen and women for their state about funding for Alzheimer's research. Later that day I called Cheryl and told her that I wanted to go. She spoke with her fellow board members and arranged for me to have a grant to fly to Washington, D.C and speak with our congressmen and women. So, over spring break, I flew to Washington, D.C. with my mother and spoke with all the senators and representatives for the state of Arkansas. Before I left for Washington, I had an interview with the newspaper for all of Arkansas, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and after I came back, I had another interview with the Fort Smith newspaper, the Southwest Times Record.
This year, I also participated in the thirteenth annual Memory Walk. Prior to the walk, I had a fund raiser at my school and succeeded in raising $323 for the walk. I spoke to the student body at my Junior High School and put together a team for the walk as well. With their contributions, we raised over $500.
On June 12, I am going to Tulsa, OK, to speak on the board of directors for the Alzheimer's Association about my efforts and what I have done so far. I am also receiving an award on August ninth for the person who contributed the most to Alzheimer's research in Arkansas.