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MEEKER I The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) named Adalynn Joy, of Meeker, Colorado, an Honorable Mention in its national 2020 Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest and awarded her a $400 college scholarship. Joy was chosen from nearly 2,000 entries nationwide for her essay about her experiences as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at a long-term care facility, as well as her experiences with her grandmother, who lives with Alzheimer’s disease, and how this impacted her life.
“Adalynn’s heartfelt essay about her experiences and the lessons she learned from those experiences will help raise Alzheimer’s awareness and provide strength to other families who are dealing with the same challenges,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s President and CEO. “We congratulate Adalynn, thank her for sharing her story, and are grateful for her efforts in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.”
Joy’s essay focuses on time working with seniors in a long-term care facility connected to her local hospital as a CNA, as well as her experiences with her grandmother, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease and how this impacted her. Joy forms relationships with many of the elderly residents at the Walbridge Wing. She writes that many of them can’t remember their family members or many of their past memories, but they are able to feel love, so she tries to provide that care and compassion to them. Joy remembers one particular resident, who calls out for her husband who had passed away 10 years earlier. She feels lonely, but she feels comfort in knowing that Joy is there for her even if she doesn’t always remember who she is. They squeeze each other’s hand before the woman goes to sleep and tell each other, “I love you.”
Joy has been touched by Alzheimer’s in her family life, too. She describes her grandmother as a former successful businesswoman and a family-oriented person who beat cancer. It started slow, at first, as she would often repeat stories. As the disease progressed, she found it more difficult to do simple, everyday tasks and she became less conversational. She may not remember a lot of things, but she is still able to show love and compassion.
These experiences have inspired Joy to pursue a degree in geriatric nursing. While studying, she plans on working in long-term care facilities because she wants to be “the light in someone’s day.”
AFA’s annual Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest asks high school seniors to describe how Alzheimer’s disease impacts their lives, what they’ve learned in the face of coping with it, and how they plan to help others who are affected by it. This year, AFA awarded more than $41,000 in college scholarships to 59 students from across the country. Since the program’s inception, AFA has awarded nearly $300,000 in college scholarships to students affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information about AFA’s Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest, call AFA at 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Special to the Herald Times