Joplin student raises awareness for Alzheimer’s research


JOPLIN, Mo. — A local high school senior has found a calling, raising awareness for a cause that doesn’t usually affect someone his age.

Because it mainly strikes people later in life, most of the people that advocate for Alzheimer’s research tend to be older.

Not so with Shrihari Nagarajan, who’s still in high school.

“I didn’t realize this is a crisis, there are currently 6 million Americans who are living with Alzheimer’s and one in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, this is very prevalent in our society today,” said Shrihari Nagarajan, Teenage Alzheimer’s Advocate.

“So why would a teenager who doesn’t know anyone who has the disease, or even who had the disease be involved in a cause like this?”

“So as an active volunteer in my community I love helping others and advocating for them as well, in addition I also love neuroscience, just learning about the brain and the neuro system, so kind of like combining those two passions of mine,” said Nagarajan.

The Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School senior has been on the planning committee for the upcoming “walk to end Alzheimer’s” since December of last year.

Since then, he’s gotten other students at the school to get involved.

“Well I mean it’s amazing for anybody that age to obviously have that passion and, you know, drive um he’s been on our committee pretty much all year, and has you know come to all our meetings has come to Third Thursday um just really been very supportive and worked very hard to get the youth involved,” said Carey Prater, Chair, Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

A good question might be, where does he find time to volunteer?

The senior hopes to go to medical school is also a national merit scholarship program semifinalist.

And who knows, maybe some day he’ll be able to do more for those who suffer from the disease than just raising more for the cause.

“So I’m the team captain of the all student team “Students For Change” and in addition to fundraising and donating, I’m primarily trying to get the youth involved with the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” I believe this is important because to envision a day where there is no Alzheimer’s or other dementia, it’s really important for the next generation to know about this disease,” said Nagarajan.

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