Young Quilter Raises Funds and Touches Hearts

Young Quilter Raises Funds and Touches Hearts
(Burton, MI)-- January 26, 2010 -- Kelly Joanne Anderson, age 11, from Phoenix, AZ made a small quilt she titled "My Lady Bug." She donated it to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) where it earned $100 in an online silent auction in December to fight Alzheimer's. The story doesn’t end there. The winner of the quilt gave the quilt back to Kelly.

“Papa Lyn had been a wonderful grandpa. I loved to go to Kansas City to visit him. Every time I saw him in the VA I would think, this disease is horrible. I wish I could do something about it. I finally found out I could help. Mom and Grandma Joanne heard of an organization earlier in the month. They made many quilts that the group organizer sold to raise money to help find a cure for Alzheimer's. The quilts they made were beautiful. I was so inspired by their works of art I decided to make one too,” said Anderson.

The AAQI has received almost 5,000 donated quilts since it began in 2006, but Kelly is one of the youngest quiltmakers from whom the AAQI has ever received a quilt. Kelly actually made the quilt when she was 10 years old and dedicated her quilt to her grandfather Lyndell Anderson. He had Alzheimer's. He passed away November 16th, 2009.

Anderson was also interviewed for Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (, an oral history project of the Alliance for American Quilts. Her interview is in a special project called “The Alzheimer’s Priority Quilt Q.S.O.S.” There are also 45 interviews of the artists in the AAQI’s traveling exhibit “Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece.”

It's not unusual for young children such as Kelly to know about Alzheimer's, a disease that primarily affects senior citizens. People with Alzheimer's are often cared for by family members, many taking care of their parents at the same time they are raising a family. There are more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease, a progressive and degenerative disease that kills brain cells robbing its victims of their memories their life skills, and the ability to care for themselves. It is eventually fatal.

What is remarkable is that someone so young has decided to make a quilt to help. Both Kelly's mother Dolly Anderson, and her grandmother, Joanne Cunningham, are quilters who support the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative by donating quilts.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. It auctions and sells donated quilts through the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt project and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's called "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece." The AAQI has raised more than $379.000 since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's.


High resolution photographs of Kelly and her quilt are available upon request.

Ami Simms
Founder and Executive Director
Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
1200 Creekwood Trail
Burton, MI 48509
(810) 637-5586