Navya Khattar — University of Richmond

Prompt: What is an urgent global challenge or social justice topic about which you are passionate? What solutions or outcomes do you hope to see? (max 650)

Essay:

After hearing a heart-aching narrative about neighbors so close to me suffering from the deteriorating impact of Alzheimer’s, I felt the impact as if she were my family. A couple, who once were my babysitters, and now neighbors, were unfairly struck with a severe, irreversible disease. To familiarize them, Silvia Bhatia and husband, Ramesh Bhatia live just three houses down from me. They are the most compassionate, friendly, and optimistic people I know. They became family to my household as they watched my brother and I grow up from when we were toddlers to seniors in high school. A couple that knows me better than I know myself. They would walk every evening, as my brother and I rode our bikes around the cul-de-sac or played basketball in the driveway. They didn’t have any children of their own, but treated my brother and I as their honorary son and daughter. My family and I quickly developed a strong bond for them, inviting them over for dessert, having dinner with them, trusting them to watch the house while we were gone. Until Ms. Silvia had received news of slow-onset Alzheimer’s disease, my name was no longer was familiar to her. Daily evening walks were no longer embraceful hugs from Ms. Silvia, but rather Mr. Bhatia reminding her of my name. Seeing someone who I had known for what seemed like forever – a few years later could barely remember my appearance. The confusion and frustration in her eyes in an attempt to familiarize herself was heart-breaking to watch and each day was only worse. Mr. Bhatia explained that he was given medication to slow the progression of the disease. A disease that was virtually impossible to reverse and only seeing her memory decline, left her husband and my family feeling hopeless. 

After a few years, her condition became unmanageable by just her husband living in a family-sized home which resulted in Mr. Bhatia being forced to put her in a senior assisted living home to keep her safe and relieve his stress. The only way that we could support Mr. Bhatia was to keep him company which included inviting him to our sunday brunch and meeting him for dinner. With his wife still in the home for the past year, he visits her everyday for two hours even as she has slowly began to forget who he is. It is frustrating how a disease with no explanation, cause, and significant cure not only impacts the patient, but family and friends that the patient surrounds. With this disease being something that I have been able to physically see someone’s health decline in front of my eyes is anything but easy. This situation has quickly become a global health challenge that I hope to resolve. Alzheime’s disease isn’t given enough attention by most, and often overlooked because of its impact on a small percentage of the population- but evidently affects more people than what statistics account for. In the future, I would hope that researchers can find possible cures or treatment to reduce the number of Alzeherimers diagnosis. Options to diagnosis earlier should be available so that doctors can find early stages of Alzeheirmers as soon as possible in order to control the development of the disease. It should also be of importance to evaluate the lives of caregivers and family members of the patient. Specifically, Mr. Bhaita now lives alone with no children or family near him; making him feel isolated without his partner. With this, he is obligated to manage his emotions and should not have to ignore his feelings in order to take care of his wife. The entire diagnosis impacts the patient, but I feel that the caregivers and family members associated with the patient should not be forgotten as they often are. I hope to one day be a part of the journey to find solutions for the disease.

 

Tips for Writing:

For this specific question I highly suggest to use a topic that you are already passionate it rather than a random topic that you have researched in need of an idea. Brainstorming multiple possible topics to write about are very helpful not only to have options, but also to allow yourself to decide which topic would be most realistic to write about, and learn which topic you could write the most about without being repetitive. For me, when picking a topic, I wanted it to be something unique because there are obvious global issues that could be discussed, but I wanted to write about something that I was truly interested in. When I was able to establish a topic that I wanted to write about, the actual writing process came easily. I was able to write about my issue for hours and ended up exceeding my word limit by over 100 words and my essay came naturally. Overall, I really encourage to write about the topic that you know you can write about for hours, don’t overthink it and use fancy vocabulary to impress the admission office, but rather write about something you may have had experience with or witnessed and it will be obvious whether you are truly passionate about your topic.