In 2003, just before David Fajgenbaum left his home in Raleigh, North Carolina to attend college at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., his mother Anne Marie was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. Anne Marie passed away in 2004, and as a result of a promise he made to her, David created an outlet for college students who, like himself, were coping with a loved one’s illness or death and suffering in silence. He called the group Students of AMF, a dual acronym for his mom (Anne Marie Fajgenbaum) and Ailing Mothers and Fathers.
Students of AMF began as a support group for 10 of David’s peers and quickly grew into a network that involved more than 400 members of the Georgetown community. Soon, other students across the country heard about the Georgetown Students of AMF model and wanted to do something similar on their campuses. Today, Students of AMF chapters exist throughout the country and we continue to create new chapters.
Along with the efforts of David’s best friend, Benjamin Chesson, National Students of Ailing Mothers & Fathers Support Network was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in April 2006. To be inclusive, our name was changed to National Students of AMF (rather than Ailing Mothers & Fathers) in 2009, where the letters AMF continue to be a tribute to our inspiration, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum, and where college students grieving the illness or death of any loved one are welcome.
The mission of National Students of AMF is to support college students grieving the illness or death of a loved one. We accomplish this with Students of AMF campus chapters, which consist of a support group where bereaved students can relate to peers also facing the unique challenges of grief during their college years. In addition, each chapter’s service group, open to the entire campus community, helps raise awareness and funds for causes important to chapter members.
AMF is a one of a kind organization that exhibits the willingness and desire of students to make a difference in the lives of their peers and the surrounding communities they are located in.
Alex Heiberger, MHSA
Associate Dean of Administration
Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies