BY LISA WARREN
A local teenager has turned her talent for singing and songwriting into a fundraising effort to fight Alzheimer's disease.
Augusta Crawford, 15, a sophomore at Greeneville High School, is hoping to raise at least $10,000 for Alzheimer's disease research through a song that she wrote and dedicated to a friend's grandmother who is battling the disease.
Called "Lost Lullaby," Crawford co-wrote and recorded the song with her long-time guitar instructor Mark Eades.
The inspiration for the song, Crawford said, came after one of her friends, Bobby Lemaster, of Kingsport, told her about his grandmother, Judy Lemaster's battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Crawford, who is the daughter of Ginger and Stanley Crawford, of Greeneville, said she first wrote the song as a gift to the Lemaster family.
She said she was deeply touched when she heard the story of Lemaster's grandparents.
"When I asked who took care of her, Bobby said his Papaw did," she said. "I remember thinking, 'How sweet. It's just like 'The Notebook.'" The book, a romantic novel written by Nicolas Sparks and later developed into a movie, tells the story of a couple who in their later years find themselves affected by Alzheimer's disease.
Crawford said she could sense how painful it was for her friend to talk about his family and the struggles that they were facing.
"Bobby has only talked about his Nana two other times," she said. "I tried to tie anything he told me into the lyrics of 'Lost Lullaby.'
"In fact, there are six lines in the song that Bobby himself influenced me to write by things he said," Crawford added.
As the song developed and Crawford learned more about Alzheimer's disease, and its effect not only on its victims, but their friends and loved ones as well, she decided to use it as a way to raise money and help fight the memory-robbing disease.
A video for the song, which features photos of the people behind its inspiration, can be viewed online at http://www.augustalostlullaby.com.
On the Web site, persons may also make a donation to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research.
The center, according to its Web site at http://www.alzinfo.org, primarily funds the research of Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Paul Greenard, who, along with his team of scientists, have recently developed new technologies that are accelerating the pace of future Alzheimer's research.
"Our groundbreaking research is the key to finding a cure for Alzheimer's by advancing truly effective therapies that arrest its development or prevent the illness altogether," the Fisher Center's Web site says.
Presently, an estimated 35 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's disease, the site says. Of those, about 5.3 million are Americans.
Alzheimer's disease is now the fifth leading killer, and there is yet no known cure, the site says.
"My goal," Crawford said, "is to give everyone who makes a donation to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research a free copy of my 'Lost Lullaby' CD."
To date, Crawford, who will turn 16 on June 2, has raised around $1,700 in her effort.
She extended thanks to many people who have aided in this fundraising effort, including Eades and her parents.
She also wanted to thank her friend, McKenzie Smith, a sophomore at GHS, who did the cover art for her CD.
For more information about Crawford and her music, visit her Facebook page or log onto http://www.augustalostlullaby.com.