The Alport Syndrome Foundation is inviting young people with the disease to apply for an award that allows them to pursue an activity or complete a project.
November 3 is the deadline for applying for the 2018 Paul Silver Tribute Award, which is aimed at enriching the lives of Alport patients aged 16 to 22.
Alport syndrome is a hereditary kidney disease that doctors often fail to diagnose or misdiagnose. Most men who develop it experience kidney failure by the time they reach their 20s. It also causes hearing loss, and vision problems.
The Alport Syndrome Foundation estimates that 30,000 to 60,000 Americans have the disease. Although no treatment can prevent the kidney failure that it leads to, the foundation said early diagnosis is essential because medications are available that can slow its progression.
The $3,000 Silver award honors a Hollywood film and music editor who died of Alport syndrome at the age of 38 in 2004.
Silver received a similar award in 1985 while studying film-making in college. It enabled him to buy a camera and other equipment to make a documentary film about a trip he made to the Tuscany region of Italy to attend a summer study program.
The award can be used for a range of activities, such as taking music lessons, attending a summer camp, taking an educational trip, or working on a project.
“We are in our sixth year of accepting applications for this award,” Sharon Lagas, the president of the Alport Syndrome Foundation board, said in a press release. “Thirteen young people with Alport syndrome have already received this award.” Their stories are “inspirational, full of courage and provide positive role models for other young people affected by this disease,” Lagas said.
The judges can decide to award that entire $3,000 to one person, or split it between two or more people.
Applicants must write an essay no longer than three pages that addresses the questions:
• How has Alport syndrome affected you?
• What are your extracurricular activities, hobbies and interests?
• Why do you want to receive the award?
• How will you use the award?
• How will it enhance your life or education?
The main things that judges will consider in weighing applications is the reason an applicant wants an award, the potential impact it will have on them, the quality of their essay, and the completeness of their submission.