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State Honoree

Kristen Anderson

Missouri

Kristen Andersen, 17, of Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri, undertook the huge responsibility to plan, coordinate and implement an annual celebrity softball game to benefit Alzheimer's Disease research at the St. Louis University Brain Bank. After ten years of his life was lost to this memory-depriving disease, Kristen's grandfather died from complications of Alzheimer's, leaving Kristen with the painful belief that her grandfather died not knowing who she was. Attempts to ease her grief led her to St. Louis University, where group discussions on Alzheimer's culminated in the idea of a celebrity softball game to benefit research. From making the initial contact with the St. Louis Blues hockey team, to securing the participation of local celebrities and obtaining major donations of food, merchandise and equipment, Kristen has taken this idea and helped it grow into one of the Brain Bank's most successful fund-raisers. Kristen has coordinated the event for six years, raising over $100,000 to fund Alzheimer's research, and
educating over 20,000 people about the disease. "For the past six years, I have looked around the softball field in complete amazement as thousands of fans pack the bleachers," Kristen said. "I smile as I think of my grandfather and how proud he would be of me." Kristen plans to continue coordinating the softball game long after high school graduation.