As Alzheimer’s disease impacts more and more families including her own, Kaylin Saffe, 17, of Miami has a strong message to deliver: “Stand up and do something.”
She has sounded her call to action loud and clear in a compelling video that recently won the runner-up spot in the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s AFA Teens Video Competition.
Saffe, a senior at La Salle High School, was prompted to create the two-minute video as a result of her grandmother’s experience with the brain disorder.
The contest is part of the Alzheimer’s Foundation’s efforts to provide a creative outlet for teenagers coping with Alzheimer’s disease and to engage the younger generation in this important cause. The winning videos are posted online at www.afateens.org.
The competition asks teens to give thoughtful consideration to “a moment in relation to Alzheimer’s disease when you learned something about your understanding of the disease, learned something about caregiving, or decided to become a community volunteer/activist.”
Saffe composed the video to honor her grandmother, Donatila Oliveira, who was diagnosed last year with Alzheimer’s disease, and her grandfather, Donatila’s husband, who had passed away from the brain disorder. The production features her 85-year-old grandmother and includes English subtitles to translate what her relative is saying in Spanish on camera.
“I wanted the audience to understand the whirlwind of emotions — despair, distress — that comes from finding out someone you love and admire is diagnosed with a serious disease,” Saffe said.
“Instead of concentrating on the sadness, I made it a point to leave the viewer with a sense of hope and inspiration to stand up and do something about it…an inspiration to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, an inspiration to donate more for research, and an inspiration for those losing hope in their loved one’s battle with this crippling disease,” she emphasized.
The teen has been crafting videos for the past three years as part of a television production class at her high school, and spotted the video contest while researching a project for a midterm.
“I knew it would become much more to me than just another video,” said Saffe, who hopes to pursue pre-med in college next fall.
Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO, noted that the winning videos, as well as others submitted in the contest, “demonstrate how Alzheimer’s disease has a powerful impact on young people. Their heartfelt messages bring to life the emotions surrounding this disease and showcase the importance of speaking out about the experience to help other teens who might be going through a similar journey.”
The video competition is one of the many features of the award-winning AFA Teens division, which is aimed at educating and engaging youth and connecting them with peers whose family members are affected by the disease. 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.
For more information about AFA Teens and to watch the winning videos, visit www.afateens.org.