First Lady Laura Bush and Former First Ladies Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rosalynn Carter to Attend Alzheimer's Gala

Alzheimer's Association
Tuesday, 23 March 2004

Presidential Chief of Staff Andrew Card to present "Reagan Institute Award" and Sargent and Mark Shriver to present the first-ever Eunice and Sargent Shriver "Profile in Dignity Award."

Actor David Hyde Pierce to Host Benefit for Alzheimer Research and Support

On Wednesday, March 24, 2004 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, the Alzheimer's Association will present its inaugural gala "America's Great Generations Gala" in the nation's capital. First Lady Laura Bush and former First Ladies Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rosalynn Carter will attend. Dennis Revell, husband of the late Maureen Reagan will deliver a letter from Former First Lady Nancy Reagan and Andrew Card will present the Reagan Institute Award to a leading Alzheimer's researcher. Sargent and Mark Shriver will present the first-ever Eunice and Sargent Shriver "Profile in Dignity Award" to a caregiver from the Greater Washington area. David Hyde Pierce, an Alzheimer's Association national board member, three-time Emmy award winning actor, and star of NBC's hit sitcom "Frasier," will serve as the master of ceremonies.

" Our goal of delaying the disabling symptoms of Alzheimer's, and eventually preventing Alzheimer's disease, appears within our reach within the next 10 years," said Sheldon Goldberg, the Association's president and CEO. "We need to increase the current pace and momentum of research to achieve our goal of delaying the onset and progression of Alzheimer's as well as prevent the disease, saving billions of dollars in health care costs and millions of lives."

" Tonight, many of America's great political families are joining together to declare war on Alzheimer's," said Trish and George Vradenburg, the Gala co-chairs. "This is a war we can win, but only if we are committed and focused on sustaining public investment in eradicating this cruel disease that is attacking American families. If we pull back now, there will be devastating consequences on future Baby Boomers nearing the age of Alzheimer's onset."

" In our work with seniors, we see daily the devastating effects of Alzheimer's on America's families," said Paul and Terry Klassen, Gala co-chairs and founders of Sunrise Senior Living. "The shared suffering, the lost family memories, the financial drain and overwhelming guilt brought on by a sense of powerlessness against this disease are taking their cruel toll on many more than just the person with Alzheimer's. Recognizing and addressing the needs of America's families with Alzheimer's is a critical battle in our overall war on Alzheimer's."

Since the loss of her father to Alzheimer's, Mrs. Laura Bush has actively supported the Association's vision of a world without Alzheimer's. She was the honorary chair of the Association's Memory Walks in Texas for several years when President Bush was governor, and has since used her position as the First Lady to raise awareness of the disease.

Former President Ronald and Nancy Reagan have been at the forefront of the efforts to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease. The Reagans joined forces with the Alzheimer's Association in 1995 to establish the Alzheimer's Association's Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute, which has awarded $12 million in research grants. Thanks to this and other new research, tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of the disease. People can be diagnosed much earlier when treatments can be the most beneficial in managing the symptoms of the disease.

Senator Clinton has been a staunch advocate of long-term care services and support for families living with Alzheimer's. She currently serves as the Senate co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease. In 1994 she received the Alzheimer's Association's Humanitarian Award at the annual Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Carter has been extensively involved with care-giving issues. The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Care-giving (RCI) at Georgia Southwestern State University was established in 1987 to advance her long-standing commitment to human development and mental health. Through research, education, and training, the RCI promotes the mental health and well-being of both family and professional caregivers.

Eunice and Sargent Shriver have made numerous contributions to society, through their many years of public service. Sargent Shriver founded and directed the Peace Corps; founded and organized Head Start; created the Job Corps; created Legal Services; created Volunteers in Service to America; and served as president and chairman of the board of the Special Olympics, U.S. Eunice Shriver Kennedy founded the Special Olympics, where their son Timothy P. Shriver is the current president and CEO. Former Maryland Delegate Mark K. Shriver has carried on the family tradition of service with the Choice Program he began in Baltimore in 1988. The family has now directed their efforts to the fight against Alzheimer's, a cause particularly close to their hearts, since Sargent Shriver has started to experience the symptoms. Maria Shriver is about to publish a children's book entitled, "What's Happening To Grandpa?" aimed at explaining the disease to children.

Each year, the "America's Great Generations Gala" will adopt a specific decade, generation or point in time in our country's history as its theme. This year's event, led by gala chairs George and Trish Vradenburg and Paul and Terry Klaassen, celebrates the 1940s the excitement and energy of the music and dance, the magic and glamour of Hollywood, and the enduring spirit of the men and women who served and sacrificed during World War II to ensure a brighter future for their children and their children's children.

"Tickets for the gala have sold out, said Anthony Sudler, Alzheimer's Association, National Capital Area President and CEO. "We expect gala proceeds to approach $1 million for the Alzheimer's Association's Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute and regional programs and services for diagnosed individuals, their families and caregivers. This level of support is remarkable in an inaugural year and reflects the extraordinary readiness of Americans to fund the war on Alzheimer's. At the same time, the Alzheimer's Association urges all Americans to increase their understanding of the disease and the tremendous accomplishments that have been made in Alzheimer research and care."

For more information about the gala or to inquire about future events, e-mail AlzheimersAssn@courtesyassoc.com or call 202.973.8721.

For more information, or to contact Alzheimer's Association, see their website at: www.alz.org

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