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International Quilt Festival: Special Exhibits – Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative

Taking a short break from the competition quilts, I want to focus on the incredible work of one woman, Ami Simms, who started the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative back in 2006.  Ami began this journey after her mom, Beebe, developed the disease, and she struggled to find medications and treatments for this terrible disease.

Ami Simms, Founder of AAQI

Ami Simms, Founder of AAQI

Ami had this to say about AAQI, “When I created the AAQI back in 2006, I never expected it to become so successful! I also never imaged how much work it would take to keep it going. What began as one person’s response to sorrow and frustration has grown into a national charity embraced by a large portion of the quilting community. More than 13,000 quilts have been donated, turning sweat equity into over $973,000 for research as of the beginning of Quilt Festival. For many donors these quilts were healing works of art which helped them grieve as they stitched for the greater good. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen the AAQI’s two traveling quilt exhibits about Alzheimer’s. Through this artistry came the realization for many that they were not alone on this journey of heartbreak; others understood, perhaps for the first time, what a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s really means.”

As some of you know, my own mom, Sylvia, was stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease and succumbed in November 2012 after and eight and a half year battle.  I have been active in the effort since the beginning.

Wednesday night, Preview Night at the show, the AAQI booth was hopping!

Priority Alzheimer's Booth 2013

Priority Alzheimer’s Booth 2013

And, by noon on Thursday, Ami and her cadre of dedicated AAQI volunteers topped their goal to raise $1,000,000!!!

“Together quilters have funded 17 research studies at universities and medical schools. More studies will be funded in early 2014. Because of the AAQI, scientists know a little bit more about Alzheimer’s than they did before. Hopefully this understanding will bring us all closer to a cure.”

Please check the link to the AAQI site to read more about Ami’s journey and that of all the others who have joined in the effort.  Way to go Ami and Co!


7 Responses to “International Quilt Festival: Special Exhibits – Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative”

  1. Diane says:

    Thank you, Gail for a lovely tribute to a fabulous woman and an important cause!

  2. Thank you for this post and your honoring, of our fearless and beloved leader, Ami Simms! As one of her band of volunteers, it has been such a pleasure to get to know her through this amazing 7 year process. She is one heck of an amazing woman!

    I lost my mother this September after an 8 year battle of unbelievable challenges for our family. If I hadn’t had all of the outlets that Ami and AAQI provided for my ‘long goodbye’ with both my mother, and my father,(not to mentions aunts and uncles) I would not have had the incredible amount of hope that I still have, that we WILL find better treatments and maybe even a cure, in my own lifetime.

    And AAQI’s Million PLUS dollars for research funding is one amazing donation to this cause!!!

    • Gail Garber says:

      Hi Michele,

      We are all sisters and brothers connected by this terrible disease that ravages our loved ones. What Ami and all the others who work on this project have done to unite us is amazing! And, to raise a million dollars for research, is the icing on the cake! Thank you for your comment. I am sorry that you suffered through this as well and hope that the funds raised will help to improve the outlook in the future.

  3. Su Scott says:

    Oh, Ami… A MILLION BUCKS! You’ve done it with everyone’s help! I’m so excited to have had a tiny part in this effort.

    We too have experienced this awful disease with my husband’s parents. The stories we share are the same sad stories of challenge and struggle but also hope.

    THANKS so very much. Hugs for all! su ‘-}

  4. Su Scott says:

    Oh Michele,
    I remember talking with you during Expo last year about your Mom and how difficult it was becoming for your family. God Bless you and know that you worked very hard to make her quality of life the best possible. I applaud your effort and caring. Please rest and take good care of YOURSELF now. hugs su ‘-}

    • Gail Garber says:

      Thanks Su. My mom passed away last November right before Thanksgiving after an 8.5 year struggle with Alzheimer’s. She is cured now and resting in peace.

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