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Salisbury teen wins prize for video

The Alzheimerís Foundation of America (AFA) recently announced the winner and runners-up of its inaugural AFA Teens Video Competition.
Margaret Yan of Orlando, Fla., was named the 2010 grand prize winner and received a $500 prize, and runners-up Samantha DeMaria, Carmel, Ind., and Melissa Phillips of Salisbury each received a $250 prize.
Offered through the AFA Teens branch, the annual video competition is part of AFAís effort to provide a creative outlet for teenagers coping with Alzheimerís disease and to engage the younger generation in this important cause.
The contest comes as the disease is increasingly taking centerstage: the incidence of the brain disorder is expected to escalate in line with aging baby boomers, and its toll reverberates to multiple family members, including teens who may take on caregiving responsibilities.
The competition asks teens to record a two-minute video that gives thoughtful consideration to ěa moment in relation to Alzheimerís disease when you learned something about your understanding of the disease, learned something about caregiving, or decided to become a community volunteer/activist.î
For Phillips, 18, her video illustrates that Alzheimerís disease should not be taken lightly.
ěIt makes people lose their relatives long before they physically lose them, and it can be painful. I want people to know that itís not a simple issue. A lot of people I know consider it humorous because all they know of it is that it causes slight memory lapses in some, but in reality it can cause individuals to forget entire portions of their lives, family and eventually become violent. Basically, itís no laughing matter, and thatís what Iíd like people to take from this,î said Phillips, whose grandmother had the disease and passed away while Phillips was in middle school.
All three winning videos have been posted to www.afateens.org.
ěThese outstanding videos demonstrate the tremendous impact this disease has on young people,î said Eric J. Hall, AFAís president and chief executive officer. ěItís important for teens coping with this disease to express their emotions, whether through a creative competition like this, talking to professionals or finding peer support networks.î
Teens are encouraged to express themselves on a bulletin board, seek support from AFA social workers and set up AFA Teens chapters in their community.
According to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and United Hospital Fund, more than 1 million children nationwide care for sick or disabled parents and grandparents; Alzheimerís disease and related dementias were the most prevalent illnesses. As many as 5.1 million Americans currently have Alzheimerís disease.
For more information about AFA Teens, visit www.afateens. org.
The Alzheimerís Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.

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