As cases of Alzheimer's disease continue to soar in the United States, with as many as 16 million Americans expected to be diagnosed by 2015, according to the Alzheimer's Association, more and more youths are faced with the grim reality that one day, grandma or grandpa may forget who they are.
Joe LoGuidice and Bryant Soohoo are all too aware of that possibility -- the Fairfield County teens both have grandparents diagnosed with Alzheimer's, or a related from of dementia.
"She was an English teacher and a librarian," said LoGuidice, a Fairfield Ludlowe High School senior, of his grandmother, Marie. "I watched her go from well-spoken and intelligent to not even knowing what she had for breakfast that day. We had to move her into a home. It was really sad."
The teens did what they could to help -- visiting their grandparents, reading them stories, taking them to doctor's appointments. However, as they began to understand the widespread impact of Alzheimer's, a degenerative mental disease that affects more than five million families in America, they sought to expand these efforts beyond their personal spheres.
Earlier this year, LoGuidice, Soohoo and their friend, Charlie Lillicraf, formed Remember Alzheimer's -- A Youth Movement, a county-wide, youth-led initiative dedicated to raising funds for and awareness on Alzheimer's disease. Affiliated with the Alzheimer's Association, Connecticut Chapter, it is the first group of its kind in the state.