Hidden Heroes: Queens 12-year-old helping people with Alzheimer's

NEW YORK (WABC) -- 12-year-old Hailey Richman knows her grandmother is battling Alzheimer's, and she knows it's a terrible disease.

But this remarkable young lady from Long Island City also knows she can help ease the rough road ahead.

"I learned that since there is no cure, there's no way for my grandma to functionally live with it forever, which made me really sad," Hailey said.

Because her grandfather died from Alzheimer's years ago, the 6th-grader was already aware of the benefits of jigsaw puzzles, how they can help keep the mind active and a little sharper.

She and her grandmother have done them for years together.

But then Hailey teamed up with the group "Puzzles to Remember", started just a few years ago to donate puzzles to caregiving facilities across America and the world - 100,000 of them and counting.

"I learned that you can solve puzzles and it stimulates the visual cortex, which can't cure Alzheimer's but it can help it and it can calm the person down who has it," said Hailey.

She is now the associate director of the group, responsible, just herself, for the distribution of 35,000 puzzles.

She also has launched Kid Caregivers, a resource for young people just like her helping loved ones with Alzheimer's.

And she didn't stop there. She also created an international program called Puzzle Time that connects Alzheimer's patients and young volunteers for beneficial time together.

"I want all kids to know that, don't think just because you're a kid that you can't make a difference."

Hailey has racked up multiple awards, some national, for her amazing efforts. And she actively supports the Cure Alzheimer's Fund, which raises millions for research.

She is compassionate, mature and driven, with dreams of a cure and of becoming a doctor. But Hailey is something even more precious: a loving granddaughter.

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