Community of Voices Share the Meaning of Memories to Benefit
the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) presented its third annual Memories Matter event via live stream on Tuesday, July 21, raising over $800,000 in donations to benefit Alzheimer’s research. Hosted by Emmy Award winning journalist Paula Zahn, the program featured public figures in science, film, music, journalism and business – creating a community of voices sharing stories and memories of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
Special guest appearances included HFC co-founders Lauren Miller Rogen and Seth Rogen, Academy and Tony award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden, country music artist Jay Allen, and ADDF Co-Founder and Co-Chair Leonard A. Lauder.
The only nonprofit devoted solely to finding new drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s, the ADDF hosts Memories Matter each year to shine a light on the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s disease on patients, caretakers, entire families, and particularly on younger generations. Memories Matter was founded by ADDF Board Members Wendy Wilshin and Stephanie Ginsberg.
In a poignant family interview between Leonard Lauder and his grandson Josh Lauder, the two family members discussed the founding of the ADDF and its progress. Mr. Lauder remarked, “The ADDF has made great progress since our founding just over 20 years ago, and our efforts are paying off. Concepts we have supported in early-stage research are now advancing, moving us closer to a cure. We want to prevent and cure this terrible disease. We’re in the home stretch. If you can’t see the future, you’ll never get there.”
Josh Lauder is Co-Chair of the ADDF Young Professionals Committee (YPC), a new group dedicated to raising both awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research.
Wilshin and Ginsberg praised the group’s dedication to fighting this disease. Wilshin commented, “We now have brought on an even younger generation of twenty-something-year-olds who also feel very passionate about the cause. This generation is interested in making the world a better place, and I think they have the tools.” Ginsberg continued, “They have the energy. They have the drive. They have new ideas, and they want to make a difference.”
Memories Matter also included several “Highlight of Hope” segments with the ADDF’s Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer Dr. Howard Fillit, who discussed recent breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research while offering his own personal story about the loss of his father to the disease.
“I’ve been doing this 40 years and I’ve never been more excited,” Dr. Fillit said. “At the ADDF, currently we’re supporting over 25 clinical trials on different mechanisms related to the biology of aging. We’ve got diagnostic tests approved by the FDA. We’ve got blood tests on the horizon, in two or three years. It’s just an incredible time.”
The progress of science brought hope to viewers and special guests as they shared their own moving stories.
Actress Marcia Gay Harden paid tribute to her mother, who passed away from Alzheimer’s, by reading a moving passage from Seasons of My Mother, a memoir she authored. Harden said, “As my mom was going through the stages of Alzheimer’s, she forgot who she was, all the beautiful things she was…so I wrote a book of memories.”
Lauren Miller Rogen, joined by her husband Seth Rogen, spoke about her mother’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s and the reason they started their nonprofit organization,HFC (formerly Hilarity for Charity), which was founded to care for families facing this disease, educate young people about living a brain-healthy life, and activate the next generation of Alzheimer’s advocates. Miller Rogen said, “I’ve learned that we’re so lucky to start our journey to better brain health while we are fairly young. Organizations like HFC and the ADDF are helping us understand more about our genetics.”
At the end of the event, country music artist Jay Allen paid tribute to his mother, who passed away from early-onset Alzheimer’s, by performing Blank Stares, a hit song he wrote to honor his mother. Allen spoke about his ability to connect with his mother during times of memory loss through the power of music.
After sharing her story as a daughter of Alzheimer’s, Paula Zahn concluded the event by thanking those in attendance, the many generations of Alzheimer’s advocates dedicated to finding a cure.
The event is available to view here. All proceeds from Memories Matter support the ADDF’s mission to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s.
About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Founded in 1998 by Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease. The ADDF is the only public charity solely focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer’s, employing a venture philanthropy model to support research in academia and the biotech industry. Through the generosity of its donors, the ADDF has awarded over $150 million to fund more than 626 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs and clinical trials in 19 countries. And 100% of every donation funds drug research programs. To learn more, visit http://www.alzdiscovery.org.
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