I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone remark that “one person can’t make a difference.” To the doubters I say, meet Max Wallack!
A college sophomore at just 16 years of age, he has already made his mark on the world, and I’m sure it’s only the tip of the iceberg. This extraordinary young man developed a passion for Alzheimer’s and dementia advocacy as a young caregiver to his great-grandmother. Now, he says, it’s his calling.
Wisdom Beyond His Years
“This disease has brought heartbreak to too many families,” which is why he’s dedicating his life to helping Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. As I write this, Max is vying for a $10,000 grant from the Kids Who Give program. If he wins, he plans to donate the money to Alzheimer’s research at Boston University School of Medicine.
Max, a neuroscience major at BU, is a volunteer research intern in the Molecular Psychiatry and Aging Laboratory at Boston University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He plans to become a geriatric psychiatrist specializing in Alzheimer’s care. His research work is queued up for presentation at an upcoming conference of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.
As young child, he realized that “anyone who has the ability to help another person has the responsibility ” to do so. This belief led him to embark on many projects, and at age 12, he invented a temporary shelter for victims of natural disasters and the homeless. The eco-friendly product made from recycled materials received recognition from U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
Puzzles: Just the Beginning
Puzzles To Remember was born in 2008 as a way of honoring the memory of his great-grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein. Max founded this nonprofit after noticing the calming effect working puzzles had on Alzheimer’s patients. To date, the organization has distributed over 19,000 puzzles to more than 1,700 care facilities worldwide. In addition, recognizing a need for specially designed puzzles with large pieces, low piece counts, bright colors, adult themes, and serene images, he contacted Springbok. Together with the nation’s oldest and most respected puzzle manufacturer, he created a unique line of puzzles with Alzheimer’s patients in mind. Max now helps interested individuals start PTR branches in their own communities.
This dynamic and passionate teen, who also serves as science editor for the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, shows us that one person can make a difference. He not only found his purpose at a young age, but he took action! I think it’s safe to say that Max has done more in his 16 years on this planet than many people do in a lifetime. We will undoubtedly hear more from him, as he continues to remind us that the power of one is immeasurable. Just as he says his great-grandmother continues to inspire him, may his passion and “just do it” attitude inspire all of us to do our part.
If you’d like to help Max earn a $10,000 grant for Alzheimer’s research, you can vote on the Kids Who Give website. Participants are permitted to vote once each day through February 5.