Wilmington teen takes 3rd in Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness scholarship essay contest
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America named Connor Bramhall, of Wilmington, the third-place winner of its national 2020 Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest and awarded him a $1,500 college scholarship.
Connor was chosen from approximately 2,000 entries nationwide for his essay about the impact Alzheimer’s has had on his grandfather, Homer.
“Connor’s heartwarming essay about his grandfather, and the lessons he learned from his experiences, will help raise Alzheimer’s awareness and provide strength and support to millions of other families who are dealing with the same challenges,” said Charles J. Fuschillo Jr., AFA’s president and CEO. “We congratulate Connor, thank him for sharing his story and are grateful for his efforts in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.”
Connor’s essay described the impact Alzheimer’s has had on his grandfather and illustrated it over the course of several Thanksgiving dinners. Connor wrote how each year, “PopPop,” as the family’s patriarch, sat at the head of the table, leading the discussion and telling jokes and stories. One year, the family noticed a change in PopPop’s behavior; he was far less talkative and lacked his usual commanding presence and focus. By the next year, PopPop had been diagnosed with a dementia-related illness and the changes continued; he didn’t know where his usual spot at the head of the table was and had to be reminded to eat. The following Thanksgiving was celebrated in the care setting where PopPop now lived. Though things had changed, Connor and his whole family did their best to celebrate PopPop’s favorite holiday, talking and laughing just as much as they had years ago to “make that memory a reality again” for him.
Through his experiences, Connor learned that “too many people shy away from their own family in the face of the disease. I want to show people that just because they might not be able to remember does not mean their actions can’t have meaning.”
Connor will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida this Fall, pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering. He plans on volunteering in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease while at school.
AFA’s annual Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest asks high school seniors to describe how Alzheimer’s disease impacts their lives, what they’ve learned in the face of coping with it and how they plan to help others who are affected by it. This year, AFA awarded more than $41,000 in college scholarships to 59 students from across the country. Since the program’s inception, AFA has awarded almost $300,000 in college scholarships to students affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
For more, call 866-232-8484 or visit alzfdn.org.