UCI MIND Announces Maria Shriver as Celebrity Honoree for 8th Annual A December to Remember Gala

By October 25, 2017 Community Events, In the News

Maria Shriver, internationally renowned Alzheimer’s disease advocate, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, and former First Lady of California, will be honored at UCI MIND’s 8th annual A December to Remember gala on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

“Maria Shriver is a champion for Alzheimer’s disease research and a voice of strength for many families and individuals who are suffering as a result of this disease,” says Dr. Joshua Grill, co-director of UCI MIND.  “We are proud to partner with Ms. Shriver and honor her important work that continues to shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease.” Shriver is the founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM), a global alliance of individuals, organizations, researchers and industry leaders who are committed to studying Alzheimer’s disease and why it disproportionately affects women.

“Every 66 seconds a new brain develops Alzheimer’s. Two-thirds of them belong to women, and no one knows why that is,” explains Shriver, who began her advocacy for the cause when her father was diagnosed with the disease in 2003.  “This is a devastating disease that must be stopped. Through the support of local communities and research organizations such as UCI MIND, we will continue to work towards a cure.”

Shriver’s organization seeks to bolster scientific pursuits to understand why women are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and to help all people take steps to improve brain health.  WAM also raises money to support gender-based research, and shares stories and resources for patients and loved ones battling Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Frank LaFerla, Dean of UCI’s School of Biological Sciences and co-director of UCI MIND, notes that Orange County is particularly susceptible to the pressures of Alzheimer’s disease.  “The number of people in Orange County living with Alzheimer’s disease is going to increase 74% by the year 2030,” Dr. LaFerla explains. “The only way to avert this crisis is through research, which is precisely where the proceeds from this event will be applied.”

With support from the local community, UCI MIND funds projects that allow researchers to seek out scientific advances that will help identify ways to prevent or slow the onset of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.

“Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our attendees, last year’s gala raised over $375,000 to support innovative research on new studies and clinical trials,” says Dr. LaFerla.  “This year, we’ve extended an invitation for guests to attend an exclusive pre-event cocktail reception with Maria Shriver prior to the gala, along with various unique sponsorship opportunities that we hope will continue to support our research efforts surrounding Alzheimer’s disease.”

UCI MIND is one of only 31 NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers in the nation. “The research being done at UCI MIND provides hope for millions of individuals who are affected by this heartbreaking disease,” Grill adds. “It’s through attending events like our annual gala or participating in clinical research that Orange County residents can, in fact, make a difference and help researchers get closer to a cure.”

For more information about the 8th annual A December to Remember gala, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please visit gala.mind.uci.edu or contact Linda Scheck, Director of Development, at 949.824.3251 or lscheck@uci.edu.