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Alzheimer’s play to raise funds for research

Marilu Henner
Marilu Henner

A star cast will take the stage at the Shiley Theater on the campus of the University of San Diego, 6:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27 for an ensemble reading of Act 1 of “Surviving Grace,” an original play by comedy writer Trish Vradenburg (“Designing Women,” “Family Ties,” “Kate and Allie”), and co-founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s, a national advocacy organization committed to stopping Alzheimer’s by 2020.

Marilu Henner
Marilu Henner

Based on Vradenburg’s experience as a caregiver to her mother who died of Alzheimer’s in 1992, “Surviving Grace” sheds light on the emotional ups and downs that 15.4 million Alzheimer’s caregivers in the United States go through each day.

The cast includes local philanthropist Darlene Shiley, Helen Reddy, Diane Rehm, Marilu Henner, Susan Taylor, Robert Foxworth and Jim Laslavic. Proceeds from tickets sales will benefit Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UC San Diego and WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s.

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Darlene Shiley
Darlene Shiley

The production is presented by USAgainstAlzheimer’s, which is mobilizing individual, political, business and civic leaders to achieve the goal of ending Alzheimer’s by 2020, and B.A.B.E.S “Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science,” an organization dedicated to harnessing the power of women to beat Alzheimer’s by raising funds to support the most promising Alzheimer’s research.

The evening will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by the reading and dinner with the cast at 8:30 p.m.

Alzheimer’s affects one in three seniors and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The number of Americans with the disease is projected to triple by 2050 — from 5.4 million to nearly 16 million.

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Susan Taylor
Susan Taylor

“Through my past experiences as a caregiver for my mother, uncle and aunt with Alzheimer’s, I’ve seen firsthand that Alzheimer’s is a disease that will stop at nothing to take things — moments, memories and loved ones — away,” said Darlene Shiley. “However, Alzheimer’s advocates re- main driven by the knowl- edge that with the proper resources we can stop this disease and spare future generations from it.”

To purchase tickets (from $150) for “Surviving Grace” or to learn about sponsorship options, visit:

survivinggrace.org/show/sandiego