Kelly Hulfachor

Imagine waking up in the morning and not knowing where you were or who the people around you are,” writes 16-year-old Kelly Hulfachor, a sophomore at South Elgin (Ill.) High School. Last fall, all the students in Kelly’s health class were asked to research a charity they believe “helps the greater good” and write a persuasive essay about it. Since Kelly’s grandma currently suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, Kelly looked at several Alzheimer’s organizations before choosing to write about Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

Watching my grandma rapidly deteriorate from this disease has been heartbreaking,” Kelly wrote in her essay. “The woman I grew to admire can barely take care of herself. She is laughing and happy one minute and snapping at people the next. Even though my family and I know it’s the disease talking, we all feel the same heaviness in our hearts every time.” In her essay, Kelly described the frightening realities of Alzheimer’s disease and how Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is focused on finding a cure. “Every dollar donated to this organization goes straight toward research,” she wrote.

In the end, Kelly’s health teacher, Amy Robinson, selected the top three essays in the class, read them aloud anonymously, and the students voted on which cause they wanted to raise money for. “Kelly won,” says Amy. “I assign this project so my students can think globally and learn about donating, as well as how to research what foundations do.” After a week of fundraising, South Elgin High School ended up donating more than $400 to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.