What is the AAQI?

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) was founded by Ami Simms, a wonderful quilter, quilt teacher, and more importantly, a loving daughter and care giver of her own mother who had been battling Alzheimer's Disease.

In 2006, her idea of using quilts and quilters was put into action with the creation of "The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative" (, an organization, a multi-tiered website, and a lot of amazing and wonderful volunteers staffing it and creating quilts every step of the way. As a national, grassroots charity it's mission is to raise awareness and fund research for Alzheimer's Disease. And since January of 2006, we have auctioned off or directly sold moe than 10,000 of these beautiful little quilts and sponsored two nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's. The AAQI has now raised more than $713,000 since January 2006! And that money has not only raised awareness but funded some amazing research at a number of wonderful research organizations.

The AAQI, itself, currently sponsors two major programs:

Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts
The first is the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts" project, so named for the urgent need for research dollars and the hope that quilters across the country would make participation in this project a priority. Generous quilters create small format quilts (9" x 12"or smaller) which can fit inside flat rate cardboard priority mailers from the USPS.

Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope
The second is a nationwide traveling quilt exhibit called "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope." It features 182 "Name Quilts" six inches wide and seven feet tall, containing the names of more than 10,000 individuals who have or had Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Hanging among the Name Quilts are 53 small format art quilts (9" x 12") that each interpret Alzheimer's in some way. The exhibit will tour the United States for 5 years.
In addition to these two primary programs there are even more ways that an individual or a group can help us raise both awareness and money for research funding.

Check out 33 Ways You Can Help

AAQI Quilts For Sale

AAQI Monthly Auction which lists 26 selected quilts for sale at auction from the first to tenth of each month.

Donate money

Buy earrings, tshirts, mugs, bags and other AAQI logo apparel etc.

Individually, each of us who quilts and donates our small format quilts for AAQI, continue to do our own additional work to spread the word about the organization, encourage others to make or buy our quilts.
In addition, some of us have formed groups such as the one that I started January 1, 2012. My group the Liberated Quilting Challenge began when I realized I wanted to do even more than I was already doing. At that point I was traveling back and forth from my current home in Salem, Oregon to my childhood home on Douglas Island near Juneau, Alaska, to care for my own mother who was battling Alzheimer's Disease.

After five years of the progression of her disease, and a combined total of 3 years of care giving, I knew it was only going to get harder, more challenging, and even more frightening to watch the horrible deterioration and unbelievable mental and physical loss of control in my mother. I also realized by then, that my own family had 13 members with direct DNA and two by grandpa, both parents, and multiple aunts, and uncles..with this terrible disease or a related dementia. And I knew that based on current statistics there was a very good chance that the same might happen to me.

I contacted online bloggers who were also quilters and asked them to join in and make a difference in the lives of so many others. It was heartwarming to see the response I got as the quilts began to be created and donated.

And while we are still a relatively small group..the equivalent of a very, very small quilt guild...we have donated literally hundreds of quilts to AAQI. I, myself, have now created and donated 40 quilts ...some of them still for sale, and two of them on tour with the traveling exhibit.... all the while still traveling back and forth to Alaska, caring for my parents without outside help in their home, and blogging about my experiences.

It is challenging, but the more you do, the more you want to do. And the corollary for me, the more I give..the more I wish I could give. It is a deep, deep feeling of truly making a difference, in my own small little quilt at a time.

By Michele M. Bilyeu

My $1,000 Promise...I've made the goal twice and am striving for more!!!
My AAQI Donation of at least a Quilt a Month Challenge to myself!

My Quilts That Are Currently Up for Sale or Auction!
8500 Froggie Went A-Courtin"
8673 Country Cowgirl at Heart
8674 Come and Play
9400 A Dream Within a Dream

Quilt #9648 - Changing the World
Michele Bilyeu
Salem OR/Douglas AK

9992 Tied Together by Love
10006 One World One Shared Challenge
10281 Longing for Freedom

My own total raised so far for AAQI : $2,101.96

Michele Bilyeu Quilts With Heart and Hands for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Join in my Liberated Quilting Challenge...and buy or donate a quilt, today!! We are changing the little quilt at a time.