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For one more bright shining moment, legendary Broadway Director Tom O’Horgan stood center stage in the spotlight, as the audience rose to its feet cheering his life-long accomplishments. For Mr. O’Horgan, now 82 and living with Alzheimer’s, this was not just another standing ovation. The audience at this year’s “Forget-Me-Not” Gala was acknowledging his courage in speaking publicly about the disease and his generosity to the Alzheimer’s community.

The only man in Broadway history to direct four shows simultaneously — Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Lenny and Inner City — Mr. O’Horgan was humble in his remarks as he accepted the Chapter’s “Public Awareness Award” at The Pierre on June 2nd. He noted that he has had a good life, and that some people just get lucky.

This was but one of the defining moments at the Chapter’s annual fundraiser attended by hundreds of philanthropists and leaders of business, healthcare, governments and the Alzheimer’s community. The event raised
$1.1 million.

David Hyde Pierce, star of TV, film and Broadway and a tireless advocate in the Alzheimer’s community, served as emcee. He said, “For those families that have experienced Alzheimer’s disease, we know the toll it takes. But for those who have never experienced the disease, it is too easy to dismiss the extraordinary impact of dementia. Over the past few years, the performing arts have played an important role in heightening public awareness, and setting the stage for a public dialogue about the crisis of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Award-winning actor Kate Burton received the Chapter’s “Creative Leadership Award” for her sensitive and compelling portrayal of Dr. Ellis Grey, a trailblazing surgeon with AD on Grey’s Anatomy. She was also singled out for her work as a caregiver on Rescue Me, where she conveyed the pain and sacrifice that caregivers make. Burton explained her greatest reward is when viewers say, “You have told my story in a way nobody has before.”

Jonathan Groff, star of Broadway’s Spring Awakening and Hair, whose grandmother died from Alzheimer’s disease, sang “Where Do I Go?” from Hair in tribute to Mr. O’Horgan.

Honored with the Chapter’s “Community Leadership Award” was Karen L. Bell, M.D., Professor and researcher at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, and the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University Medical Center. Widely praised for her empathy and steadfast commitment, Dr. Bell’s skill and knowledge are invaluable resources to the Chapter and the community.

The Chapter was also proud to welcome some of the country’s leading research scientists and clinicians including Dr. Peter Davies, Dr. Robert Green, Dr. Mony de Leon, Dr. Richard Mayeux and Dr. Mary Sano.

A very special recognition was paid to Board member Rick Schneider who took on a leading role in the Alzheimer’s community after his mother was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. Seeing the potential of our “Forget-Me-Not” Gala, he helped increase the amount raised at this event by almost 200 percent through sheer will, effort and dedication.

The evening included a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, and dinner and dancing to Valerie Romanoff’s Starlight Orchestra.

The Women In Action Committee, headed by Tami Schneider, coordinated the evening’s auction with such unforgettable items as luxurious vacations; a cocktail cruise with David Hyde Pierce; a rare opportunity to dine with three of the country’s finest research scientists; coffee with renowned architect Daniel Libeskind and a tour of his studio; and a private cooking class/dinner party in your home with Executive Chef Arlene Jacobs. In addition, $89,860 was raised during a Dutch auction to benefit the Chapter’s Emergency Special Assistance Fund.

The Gala was Chaired by past Board Co-Chair Mark Zurack. We wish to thank all of our honorees, supporters, donors and guests for helping to make the 2008 Gala a tremendous success.



Visit our entire 2008 "Forget-Me-Not" Gala photo album.

— Kim Esp







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