NEW YORK, Oct. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) – the country's leading nonprofit focusing on FTD, the most common form of dementia for people under 60 – held its annual Hope Rising Benefit on Wednesday, October 17. The benefit drew its highest attendance since the first gala in 2016, and raised more than $1.9MM to fuel AFTD's mission of advancing FTD research and improving quality of life for all affected by this disease.
More than 500 people attended the event at The Pierre Hotel in New York, including persons living with FTD, care partners, health professionals, researchers and philanthropists – all with the common goal of creating a world with compassionate support, effective care and a future free of FTD.
Frontotemporal degeneration causes irreversible changes to a person's language, movement, behavior and/or personality, while leaving long-term memory generally intact. Currently there are no approved treatments for FTD, which affects more than 60,000 in the United States.
Speakers at Hope Rising included The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, retired dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, who was diagnosed with FTD in 2016; and Donald E. Newhouse, president of Advance Publications Inc., who lost both his wife, Susan Newhouse, and brother, Si Newhouse, to the disease.
"We all know that the brain is the last frontier of medicine. We can't explore this frontier at a leisurely pace. We have to speed up progress, and to do this, we need an entirely new model of research – one that is smarter, more strategic, and much more collaborative." – Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus, Estee Lauder Companies & Honoree at AFTD's Hope Rising Benefit
"I'm grateful for Leonard's friendship and his partnership with AFTD, and we were honored to present him with the Susan Newhouse and Si Newhouse Award of Hope at this year's Hope Rising Benefit. Leonard and the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation have been key partners to AFTD since 2007. In the past two years that collaboration has grown significantly, with our creation of the Treat FTD partnership. Leonard has brought significant dedication to his work to help us end FTD – and he and I both share the hope that our collaboration could lead to a breakthrough targeting all forms of dementia.
"We're also grateful for all who made the Hope Rising Benefit such a success, providing significant resources to advance AFTD's mission: to fund research; to support all who are afflicted with FTD and their care partners; and to increase awareness among professionals and the public of this horrendous form of dementia." – Donald Newhouse, Chairman, Hope Rising Benefit
"One of the challenges for people living with FTD and other types of dementia is that we lose the ability to tell our own stories and advocate on our own behalf. That is why, for as long as I am able, I'm determined to tell my story, in hopes that others will do the same, and bring this growing public health crisis out of the shadows and into the light." – The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, Keynote Speaker, Hope Rising Benefit
"AFTD is grateful to the Newhouse family, Leonard Lauder, and all who made the night such a success. Including this event, the three Hope Rising benefits since 2016 have combined to bring new funding of nearly $6 million to support our mission. These resources are fueling an ambitious plan for our work over the next three years. Our focus will be on providing healthcare professionals the knowledge and tools to diagnose this disease early; on enabling quality of life and care in the daily lives of those on this journey; and on using the best that science and technology have to offer to advance research toward effective treatments." – Susan L-J Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer, Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration
At Hope Rising, AFTD presented Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., with the Susan Newhouse & Si Newhouse Award of Hope, in recognition of his decades-long advocacy for research in FTD, Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias. Along with his brother Ronald, Lauder co-founded the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation in 1998.
Lauder first partnered with AFTD in 2007, recognizing the importance of addressing FTD, and that advances made in the scientific understanding of one form of dementia could lead to breakthroughs – and a cure – for all dementias.
About AFTD's 2018 Hope Rising Benefit: AFTD thanks benefit chair Donald E. Newhouse, and benefit co-chairs Anna Wintour and David Zaslav. Tony and Grammy Award Winner Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) closed the evening with a musical performance that included a heartfelt rendition of "If You Knew Susie," dedicated to Donald Newhouse's late wife, Susan Newhouse, who died of FTD in 2015. Nine-time Emmy Award–winning journalist Paula Zahn hosted the event for the third year in a row.
Approved photos of the benefit can be found through this link.
About Frontotemporal Degeneration: FTD strikes adults most often in their 40s and 50s, when they are still working and may be raising a family, and it impacts personality, behavior, language and/or movement. A study commissioned by AFTD and published in Neurology (now available online) found FTD's average annual costs to be nearly double those of Alzheimer's disease. Still, because many have never heard of FTD, including physicians, most families face a very long journey to an accurate diagnosis: nearly four years on average. Today there is no cure, but awareness is increasing.
SOURCE Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration