I received a phone call the other week from my friend, Ami Simms. She wanted to let me know that her charity, Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) was expecting to reach a milestone this year. In 2013, they expect to reach the $1,00,000 mark for money raised to fund research in finding the cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
I spent many years helping Ami as she dedicated over 6 years of her life to attain this goal. Quilters from around the world donate 9″x12″ (or smaller) quilts, and then Ami’s band of volunteers sees that each quilt is either sold or auctioned to the highest bidder. These small quilts are sized to fit easily into a USPS flat rate shipping envelope, thus their given name “Priority Quilts.”
Ami was determined that every penny of the money raised from these quilts would go to the mission – research. And it did, with over $894,000 donated to research so far. Annually, a thousand or more Priority Quilts make their way to Houston’s International Quilt Festival. Once there, enthusiastic quilters visit the AAQI booth frequently to look at the rotating stock of quilts. As one is purchased, another is pulled from the stock. The energy is always very high. Every person involved with AAQI, including Ami, volunteer their time and pay their own way to Houston. I can tell you first hand that everyone works hard all year long. I’ve never in my life seen a charity that ran so efficiently and with so little overhead.
Sadly though, all things must end. In reaching this $1,000,000 milestone, Ami has decided to end her journey with AAQI this year. From the quilters, to the quilt buyers, to the volunteers and admirers, thousands of people have been touch by Ami and AAQI. I know I have.
In honor for all she’s done to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, I ask you to help Ami end this year with a bang. Step over to the AAQI website to look at the quilts for sale or on the online auction and consider purchasing one. If you’re a quilter, consider making one or two Priority Quilts. Or if you’re not interested in making or buying, consider making a donation.
In supporting the final year of this charity, you will be helping researchers find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.