NEW YORK, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) will host an inaugural "Together for Care" telethon on December 4, marking the major focus of a comprehensive campaign by AFA to rally the nation to address this escalating health crisis and prepare to care for the projected surge in the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease in addition to the millions of families currently affected by it.
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The historic TV event will air in 16 major markets on NBC and be telecast online on AFA's Web site for national viewing, and feature a mix of education and entertainment. Al Roker of the "Today" show, who will serve as host, and actor Hector Elizondo, AFA's honorary celebrity chairman, lead the show's celebrity lineup.
"Now is the time to lift the veil off Alzheimer's disease. Now is the time to galvanize the nation to make giant strides toward tackling this health crisis," said Eric J. Hall, founding president and chief executive officer of AFA, a leading national nonprofit organization.
"While we all anxiously await a cure, care is all families can hold on to right now. Only by being proactive can we give them what they need to get through the day -- and to have one more day with their loved ones," Hall said.
Roker said he hopes the telethon "raises the nation's consciousness about Alzheimer's disease to a whole new level. The disease is getting way too big for us not to come together and make a difference."
To shed light on Alzheimer's disease, the telethon will include a look at the current state of Alzheimer's disease from the perspective of medical experts and families who are caring for loved ones. Other celebrities and musical guests will be announced shortly.
For more details about the telethon, including air times, visit www.alzfdn.org or call 866-232-8484. Eisai Inc., a human health care company, is the telethon's platinum sponsor. The show is being produced by Al Roker Entertainment.
The telethon kicks off AFA's campaign to rally the nation "together for care." AFA is urging the nation to advocate for more resources for care and cure, donate to support AFA's services and initiatives nationwide, and seek assistance, including calling its toll-free hot line and obtaining free memory screenings on National Memory Screening Day on November 16.
With an estimated 5.1 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the call to action comes as the nation's aging population, including the oldest baby boomers who turn 65 next year, is projected to fuel what some experts have dubbed a "silver tsunami." Advanced age is the greatest known risk factor. The disease results in loss of memory and other intellectual function and is now the sixth leading cause of death.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York whose mission is to provide optimal care and services to individuals with dementia, and their families. It unites more than 1,400 member organizations that provide hands-on programs to meet the educational, emotional and practical needs of families in their local communities. AFA's services include a toll-free hot line, counseling, educational materials, a free caregiver magazine, and professional training. For information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America