NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than 4,000 people filled Riverside Park Sunday to raise over $1 million for Alzheimer’s research, and for one high school student it was also a day of special honors.

As CBS 2’s Ilana Gold reported, the teen is dedicated to changing the lives of people decades older.

“My grandfather has had Alzheimer’s disease for 11 years. My aunt is his caregiver and has really struggled to stay awake and care for him,” said 16-year-old Kenneth Shinozuka.

For Shinozuka, Sunday’s event was about more than fundraising. It was about protecting his family.

“That’s where the inspiration for my project came from,” he said.

Shinozuka earned special honors on Sunday for his new invention that detects when his grandfather gets out of bed throughout the night.

The Horace Mann School student made a sensor for his grandfather’s foot that sends a message to his caretaker’s phone so he can’t wander off, Gold reported.

“One day I was daydreaming and saw my grandfather step out of bed,” Shinozuka explained. “My grandfather’s using it. He’s been using it for 11 months now and it’s had a 100 percent success rate.”

When it comes to Alzheimer’s research, the teen said his work is only just beginning. He’s working to come up with more inventions to help patients.

“I’m considering incorporating WiFi in my system so it increases transmission distance from transmitter to caregiver’s smart phone,” Shinozuka said.

And Shinozuka’s work is something the New York City Alzheimer’s Association is grateful for.

“The faster we can find a cure and come up with ways to care for people, the better off we’re all going to be,” said Lou-Ellen Barkan, president of the New York City Alzheimer’s Association.

The association honored Shinozuka with its first-ever Young Innovators Award.

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