On Tuesday, April 9, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) celebrated its second annual Memories Matter benefit event at Chelsea Piers. The event was hosted by Emmy Award-winning NBC-4 Weather Anchor, Dave Price, who welcomed over 550 guests.
The ADDF, the only charity devoted solely to finding new drugs for Alzheimer's, raised over $1 million at Memories Matter. The event was founded by ADDF Board members Wendy Wilshin and Stephanie Ginsberg. During their welcoming remarks, Ms. Ginsberg said: "Thanks to the work of the ADDF treatment is closer than ever before, which encourages us and drives us to raise awareness and funds to support research through the ADDF."
Ronald Dickerman, Wendy Wilshin, Stephanie Ginsberg, and Ian Ginsberg. Photo by Patrick McMullan/PMC.
Several other speakers shared their own experience with Alzheimer's disease during the program. Michelle Florin, in her twenties, paid a heartfelt tribute to her mother, Jacki Florin, who developed early-onset Alzheimer's at age 54. Ms. Florin said, "I used to believe that Alzheimer's was literally pronounced 'old-timers.' I thought that losing your memory was a normal part of aging—that one day, everyone would get 'old-timers.' The truth is Alzheimer's does not just affect old people, and losing your memory is not a normal part of aging."
Country music singer and composer Ashley Campbell performed several songs including her major-label debut single "Remembering," which she wrote about her father Glen Campbell's battle with Alzheimer's and the consequences of the illness on their entire family. Ms. Campbell and her mother Kim Campbell are tireless advocates for finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
ADDF Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer Dr. Howard Fillit explained increasing age is the leading risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects 5 million people in the United States and about 50 million globally. "We are very excited by the momentum right now in Alzheimer's research. Today, thanks in part to the work of the ADDF, we have FDA-approved diagnostic tests, over 100 drugs in clinical trials, and much more knowledge about how to prevent Alzheimer's disease."
The ADDF recently announced a new research initiative as part of its Diagnostics Accelerator with expanded funding from Bill Gates and Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos to fast-track the development of new diagnostic tools, such as blood tests and digital mobile phone apps, for the early detection of Alzheimer's.
Guests enjoyed a live and silent auction of fantastic items, led by Howie Schwartz. Items ranged from a luxury yacht charter on the Enterprise, an 86' Sunseeker, two tickets to STOMP, two tickets to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, two tickets to Network and a meet & greet with Bryan Cranston, two tickets to Billy Joel at MSG, NFL Meet and Greet for two, golf foursome at The Bridge Golf Course in Bridgehampton, New York, and a two-night stay at The 1 Hotel South Beach.
The evening featured gorgeous décor courtesy of Lawrence Scott Events. Additional guests included founding chairs Ian Ginsberg and Ronald Dickerman; Co-Chairs Hope and Marc Altheim, Cindy and Glen Edelman, Elizabeth and Paul Greenbaum, Sheri and Seth Leist, Andrea and Jeffrey Lomasky, Roni and Charles McGuffog, Karen and Marc Spector, and Cindy and Laurence Tell; Host Committee members Michelle Romanoff Cohen, Joel Florin, Terri Kahan, Carla and Rob Karen, Lori and Jimmy Krantz, Amelia and Steven Paston, Lisa Ritter-Kahn, Jamie Seidner, and Jonathan Rubin; and ADDF Board members Charlie Cangro, Nancy Goodes, Chris Johnson, Sharon Sager, Randal Sandler, Tom Scanlan, and Steve Toma.