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Willis Writes Winning Essay in Alzheimer’s Disease Scholarship Competition – Henry County Times

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has named McDonough’s Mary Willis the first winner of its 2022 National Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest and awarded her a $5,000 college scholarship. . Mary was chosen from nearly 1,800 entries nationwide for her essay about her grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when Mary was just nine, and the lessons she learned. learned while her grandmother was suffering from the disease.

“Mary’s heartwarming essay about her grandmother and the impact she had on her life is a great example of how Alzheimer’s disease affects people of all ages,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of AFA. “Mary’s efforts to make a difference for others in her grandmother’s honor are truly inspiring. We congratulate her on winning this competition and thank her for sharing her story.

Mary’s essay describes her close relationship with her grandmother and, despite the difficulty of watching Alzheimer’s disease change her grandmother, it taught her a lot about herself and helped her “get to realize that my fondest memories of her were those that shaped me into the person I am today.

Mary Willis (right) of McDonough received $5,000 as the first place winner of the 2022 Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest. Her essay was about Alzheimer’s diagnosis of his grandmother, Frances, and the impact he had on their relationship.
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“My work ethic in all aspects of my life represents the two jobs she worked to send my mom to college. I strive to be the best student and teammate I can be because I remember what my grandmother gave up to give my mother her best shot. My drive to be the best person possible, not just for myself, but for those around me, reflects the type of person she was. My grandmother inspires me daily to change the world, even if it starts small,” she wrote.

Influenced by her experiences, Mary started the Passion Project, a local project that brings together Henry County students from all schools and backgrounds to volunteer and work to make the community a better place.

As part of the Passion Project, Mary shares how Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have affected her life and inspired her to want to help others affected by the disease. Students involved in the project were able to collect donations for memory care facilities and see firsthand the effects of the disease on those diagnosed as well as their family and friends. Mary, a recent graduate of Union Grove High School, hopes to open a Passion Project chapter on her college campus at Auburn University in the fall and teach students about the condition there.

AFA’s annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest asks high school students to describe how Alzheimer’s disease has impacted their lives, what they have learned about themselves themselves, their families and their communities facing this disease, and what their plans are to raise awareness of the disease in the future. This year, the AFA awarded nearly $90,000 in college scholarships to 117 students from across the country.

For more information about the AFA Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest, call the AFA at 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.

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