FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 5, 2009
Country Music Stars Support Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Inaugural ‘For the Love of George’ Event Comes to Nashville
NEW YORK, NY—When the mother of Grammy-winning singer and musician Kathy Mattea succumbed more and more to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, “music became our last connection,” according to Mattea.
It is only fitting then that the country music star will besinging from the deepest recesses of her heart on October 9 when she and other country artists perform to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s inaugural “For the Love of George” event at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Also performing will be Katie Armiger, Lani Nash, Mindy Smith and Emily West. West and Tom Randles, an anchor at WSMV-TV, will serve as emcees for the event, which also includes a wine tasting, cocktail reception, silent auction and candle lighting ceremony to remember individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Tickets for the event, which runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., are $100 in advance on ticketweb.com and $125 at the door.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), a national nonprofit organization, is bringing For the Love of George to Nashville after having held similar fundraising events in other major cities. Often, the participants are largely young professionals—getting involved in a cause that primarily affects older Americans.
While each local event takes on a slightly different spin, they all have the same intent: to bring attention to the disease and raise funds to support AFA’s care-related programs and services nationwide.
“These grassroots efforts are helping in a big way to lift the veil off Alzheimer’s disease and to let people know that they are not alone,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO. “It is gratifying to see such a groundswell of support in Nashville from the community and from the music industry.”
In Nashville, Mattea will perform her heartrending hit “Where’ve You Been”—a song that, she said, makes her “think about certain moments with her own mother and other people who have had similar experiences.” Her mother, Ruth Ann (Legg) Mattea, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in 2005
“I am thrilled to be invited to bring music to this gathering and support those trying to make a better life for individuals and families dealing with Alzheimer's disease,” Mattea noted.
West has also embraced the cause with a passion. Her grandmother had dementia and passed away in the summer of 2008.
“I wish I knew back then more about the disease to be more patient and loving to her. It was hard to watch her face transform into an overly exhausted expression from all the anger and confusion going on,” said West, who, coincidentally, appears the same night on a re-run of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” on CMT, in which she won $25,000 for AFA, her charity of choice.
Jeff Pereira, president of Home Care Assistance of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, got involved with the Nashville committee because Alzheimer’s disease impacted his family.
“We need to educate, we need to fight, we need to be patient, and most of all we need to love because family deserves nothing less,” he said.
For the Love of George originated in New York when Alex and Chris Barnet initiated AFA’s first Junior Committee of young professionals in 2004 to honor their grandfather, George R. Irvin, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2002. Irvin passed away last year.
Since, AFA has expanded it to Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Toronto and now Nashville to honor the millions of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.
It is estimated that as many as 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, which causes loss of memory and other intellectual functions. With age the greatest known risk factor, the incidence of the disease doubles every five years between 65 and 95. It is among the top 10 leading causes of the death in the United States.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York and made up of 1,200 member organizations that provide hands-on programs to meet the educational, emotional, practical and social needs of families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses. AFA’s services include a toll-free helpline, counseling, educational materials, a free caregiver magazine, and professional training. For information, call (Toll-Free Helpline) 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Carol Steinberg