Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AAQI and Bandywine Valley Quilt Guild

AAQI is the acronym for Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.  It was started by a wonderful quilter named Ami Simms whose mother was afflicted with this heart breaking disease.  Ami made it her mission to raise funds for research while educating people about Alzheimer's.  Her modus operandi was to use something she was very familiar with - quilts!

"Leaving Us"
I got involved when there was a call for quilts for a traveling exhibit that she was putting together.  My Dad died in 2000 and had Alzheimer's.  I was thrilled that my quilt, "Leaving Us" was not only chosen, but was one of the quilts that was used over and over on promotional material.  The exhibit is now hanging in the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.  It is the last venue for this traveling group of quilts and it will be coming home at the end of the year. Over 223,000 people have seen these quilts in their 3 years of traveling all around the USA.
Ami and her team of volunteers has raised over $400,000 for research.  One of the ways that she does it is to have internet quilt auctions.  They are called Priority quilts because they have to fit inside of a US Mail Priority envelope.  Quilters all over the world make and donate these quilts.  There is a monthly auction the fist 10 days of each month and there is also a selections of quilts that you can purchase at any time.  For a complete overview go to www.alzquilts.org .

This month I was a presenter at The Brandywine Valley Quilt Guild that meets in Wilmington, DE.  And boy was I surprised that as a guild, they had a challenge to make these Priority Alzheimer Quilts and it was unveiled during my visit.  They even used my quilt on their promotional material.  The challenge had a great response - close to 30 participants. 
Most of the BVQ's Challenge Quilts

Then I was so honored when I was asked to choose my favorite, by the organizer of the challenge, Jody Beitzel,  and present an award. They called it The Speaker's Award.  It was a very difficult decision, because so many of the quilts were made from the heart and had so much meaning to them.   Congratulations to Barbara Gross and her amazing quilt and all of the members of this generous and talented guild.


  1. I just made my #51 Alzheimer quilt. You can see them all under the $1000 Promise group.


  2. 51 Quilts! Betyann that is amazing. I am so impressed by your commitment.

  3. Cheryl, thank you so much for reporting on this wonderful effort in your blog. And what an honor to select the quilt for The Speaker's Award!

    Guilds all over the county are taking up our mission to fight Alzheimer's by creating beautiful little quilts. We appreciate it so much.

    Know that your quilt "Leaving Us" has touched hearts at 49 public exhibititons of "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" in 31 states. It has worked hard to raise awareness of this devastating disease.

    With thanks for all your efforts,
    Ami Simms
    Founder & Executive Director, AAQI


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