ABOUT PJ PILLOWS
PJ Pillow’s mission is to bring comfort to Alzheimer’s patients by providing them with a photo pillow of a familiar face, while raising money for research in hopes of ﬁnding a cure. We are expanding our mission to include honoring military families with the creation of photo pillows for active members and their families as well as Gold Star families.
Paige and I are siblings attending Miami Beach Senior High School. We created this company after Alzheimer’s affected our lives personally. Our grandfather died of the early onset form of the disease, diagnosed at the age of 53. Feeling powerless, we both decided to take a stand against Alzheimer’s. We sat down with a pen and paper and brainstormed coming up with the idea for this company. When visiting our grandfather at the VA facility we found that personal memorabilia including photos and old stories always calmed him and made him happy. From this experience, we came up with the concept of creating photo pillows of familiar faces to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s feel calm and secure. All pillows will be made by student volunteers and all proceeds earned will be sent to the Alzheimer Association to fund research. By buying these pillows, you are not only comforting a loved one who is affected by the disease, but you are also helping us fight for a future without Alzheimer’s.
Our Grandpa John Steve Neal had early onset Alzheimer’s and died at age 64. As a kid, he loved to water ski, camp and go boating. Despite his adventurous nature, our grandfather was nicknamed “the snail” in college because he liked to take his time and enjoy life. He was funny, great at dancing, and loved people. Basically, he was easy to love. He also joined the ROTC during the Vietnam war and served two deployments on a destroyer escort patrolling the Taiwan Straits. He stayed in the reserves until the end of his life as a commander.
He was a hard worker, supportive friend, great father, caring grandfather, and always focused on doing a job well. After he could no longer work, he would get frustrated and try to hide his memory loss. It was also scary for him because he would have moments of lucidity where he would have no idea how he ended up somewhere. Even with his deterioration it was amazing how he could remember how to do things he had done for years like hit a tennis ball. He was still able to play with the family as long as he was told where to stand.
As his memory declined, and he was placed in the VA hospital he had pictures of his dog and family that meant the world to him. He is missed by his family everyday.
Future goals: To eventually grow and have other interested teenagers work with us to reach more Alzheimer’s patients. Also become a tax exempt non proﬁt organization instead of an LLC. Even though we are functioning as a non proﬁt company it is too expensive as a start up to obtain that designation