For Pearlann Horowitz, raising money for research into a cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is more than just hosting an annual fundraising dinner. It’s something that hits home.
Horowitz’s husband, Jerry, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years ago and now lives at the William Breman Jewish Home, which he once served as president.
“Jerry was the consummate of everything,” Horowitz said. “He was charismatic. He loved to laugh. He understood business in a way that shocked some people with professions that were hard to understand. He was a leader in almost anything. It’s just a devastating loss of somebody who was so outstanding in so many ways. There was just nothing Jerry couldn’t do. And you would think (he) was one of the last people around who would be stricken with it.”
The past eight years, A Family Affair has been held in Atlanta to raise money to fight Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. This year’s event, set for Thursday night, Nov. 16, at the Cherokee Town and Country Club in Buckhead, has raised $800,000 so far for the Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
“I’m very humbled because it’s an outstanding amount thus far,” Horowitz said. “I’m humbled by the accolades that say what a great job me and my team are doing. It’s exciting, and it’s a testimony not only to Jerry, but to all of those who are becoming more and more aware and/or who have had loved ones stricken by the disease, and the urgency and the knowledge that the numbers are growing is frightening.”
The event is called A Family Affair because Alzheimer’s takes a toll on a patient’s family and caregivers.
“It’s bittersweet,” Horowitz said. “I hope and pray and intend that we are going to find that cure somehow for so many people that know … they could inherit the disease.”
This year’s event honors the research of Allan Levey, who chairs the neurology department at Emory’s School of Medicine and directs the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
“With our outstanding, multidisciplinary team at the ADRC, a portfolio of exciting research projects, collaborations around the world with other leading researchers, and our incredibly supportive and generous community, together we will accelerate the progress towards a cure and prevention,” Levey said in a press release. “I am privileged to have wonderful colleagues, to be a member of a great university and to enjoy the support of our amazing community.”
Attendees at the event will see a short video featuring family and friends of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as doctors talking about the disease and how it affects a family. Each table will have at least one doctor or researcher present to answer questions.
“I’m praying and hoping that this may be the year that we get” hope, Horowitz said. “I’m just hearing from different sorts of folks I never knew (who) have a sister or a mother or a brother with one or all three (diseases). It’s really been an educational thing for me as well as obviously a drive to find a cure.”
Individual tickets are $100. Contact Natalie Zellner at 404-712-2084 or firstname.lastname@example.org.