Meet AFTD’s Food for Thought Youth Ambassadors

Kennedy_BaNgoai-cropKennedy Ho, 16 years old

I was devastated to find out that there was no cure or treatment for frontotemporal degeneration. I had not heard of FTD until my grandma’s diagnosis. I want to bring awareness to this disease, because it strikes people who are in the age range of my parents, my grandparents, my teachers, my coaches. For this reason, FTD could significantly impact the lives of people my age – the way it has impacted mine. I want people to be able to understand what frontotemporal degeneration is and how it affects a person both physically and emotionally.  If people are aware, they could help support AFTD and its efforts to further research in finding a treatment and, hopefully, a cure.

Olivia Goldring, 17 years old

I was only 8 when I began to see the effects of FTD in my mom. She passed away when I was in 10th grade of high school. AFTD was able to provide information, resources and guidance to my dad. I wanted to do something to honor the memory of my mom and raise money for AFTD at the same time. One fundraiser led to another and to date I have organized a total of 7 fundraisers so far over the past 4  years. A couple of my fundraisers included a walk-a-thon at my school and a 4-mile run in Central Park.  For my first walk-a-thon I was touched by the enthusiasm and generosity of the school. It was awesome to see everyone walking and participating. It was the first time a student-led extracurricular activity was proposed and approved. I have learned that amazing things can be accomplished when people pull together for a collective effort.

Ideas for kids and teens to help raise awareness among their friends and classmates

Below are some ideas to consider from Kennedy and Olivia, AFTD’s Food for Thought (FFT) youth ambassadors. Maybe you have another fun idea. We encourage creativity. Talk it over with an adult. If you want to participate, go to AFTD’s main website and fill out the FFT contact form

Feel free to create your own fundraising event and don’t forget to include food in some way!

  • Organize a talent show with your school, friends, youth group, etc. and take donations for tickets
  • Ask a local business (for example a yogurt shop or restaurant) to help support AFTD by donating a portion of their proceeds
  • Make a presentation for your classmates and peers at school and handout red/white/black cupcakes
  • Ask friends to bake and organize a bake sale to take place during a school football game
  • Engage your sports teams in fundraising efforts ( for example, for every goal/ pass/ assist made, make a pledge to donate X amount)
  • Get creative! Organize a walk-a-thon, dance-a-thon, or catch-a-thon at your school
  • Ask for donations for local charity runs and get sponsors
  • Talk, collaborate, and create community with other people who are going through similar things you are and brain storm ways to make a difference during FFT week