When it comes right down to it, the closeness and love we feel for friends and family is based on our memories of shared experiences. But for Ken Dodson, those memories are evaporating:
It didn’t seem to progress as fast ‘til this year. This year I’ve noticed a lot more. I mean [my doctor] has already told me that it will be at the point where I don’t recognize any of my kids. That’s the hardest. There are some things you should never forget. I know one day I might.
Only 35 years old, Ken is stricken with early-onset Alzheimer’s. His tragic story is featured in, “This is Alzheimer’s”, a documentary being produced by film actor/writer/producer couple Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen. To help raise the funds needed to complete the project, the Rogens launched an online donation campaign, which ends tomorrow. You can view a clip of the documentary on their campaign page and below:
This film project is just one activity of the Rogens’ Hilarity for Charity (HFC) movement, which aims to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s among young adults and to fund research that could one day end this cruel disease. As mentioned on the HFC website, their efforts have been a hit so far:
For three years, our successful Los Angeles HFC Variety Show and our college program HFC U have entertained young, hip professionals through music and comedy while creating the next generation of Alzheimer’s advocates – not to mention raising over $2.5 million!
The Rogens’ innovative and inspiring charity work for Alzheimer’s hits close to home for a couple of reasons. For starters, our agency has awarded over $52 million to stem cell related Alzheimer’s research which aims to better understand the disease and to work towards bringing stem cell-based treatments to clinical trials. And Lauren Miller Rogen is not only a co-founder of Hilarity for Charity but also serves as the Alzheimer’s patient advocate on the CIRM governing Board. Alzheimer’s has personally affected Lauren’s family: Lauren lost her grandfather and grandmother to the disease and, like Ken Dodson, her mother Adele was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at just 55 years of age. Before she reached 60, Adele couldn’t write, speak, or recognize her family.
When it comes to developing therapies for unmet medical needs, it’s crucial to approach diseases from many angles in order to identify the best approaches more efficiently. The same holds true for raising awareness and funding research. That’s why the Rogen’s documentary is an important piece to the puzzle of ending Alzheimer’s and lost memories.