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Comedic actor inspires serious fundraising

Hollywood couple Lauren Miller and Seth Rogen paused to pose for the Observer while discussing the nonprofit Hilarity for Charity organization and how it is trying to enlist the help of younger Americans in the fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia. (photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)
Hollywood couple Lauren Miller and Seth Rogen paused to pose for the Observer while discussing the nonprofit Hilarity for Charity organization and how it is trying to enlist the help of younger Americans in the fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia. (photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

Seth Rogen visits UVM after Hilarity for Charity student fundraising 

By Marianne Apfelbaum

Observer staff

Even though a busy schedule meant he had barely slept in the past four days, Hollywood star Seth Rogen was more than happy to fly across the country to Burlington on Saturday to fulfill his promise to recognize the efforts of a UVM fraternity and sorority that won first place for the second year in a row in the nonprofit Hilarity for Charity U competition, whose proceeds exclusively benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Accompanied by his wife, actor/writer Lauren Miller, the couple praised the efforts of all the students involved, and cited UVM student John Fox for “largely spearheading” the successful UVM fundraising campaign. Fox was inspired to participate in the event in honor of his grandfather, who passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease more than a year ago.

The Fox triplets—John, Ryan and Griffen, all UVM students—enlisted the help of fellow Pi Gappa Alpha fraternity brothers and Alpha Chi Omega sorority sisters and came up with some creative fundraising ideas. The students’ efforts included baking and selling “cookies for a cause” on campus in the evenings, calling alumni, partnering with businesses to pick up trash and do clean-up projects for donations. The group raised $30,254, which will directly benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Miller told the Observer that the couple created the nonprofit after her mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 55. Her mother is now 63 and in the late stages of the disease, requiring round-the clock-care. Both actors emphasized the importance of quality care for those with Alzheimer’s and have partnered with Home Instead Senior Care to create the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant program.

“It was created to help those who can’t afford quality at-home care,” Miller said. “That’s what people need, and that’s (one way) we can help.”

So far, the program has donated 26,000 hours of at-home care, according to Miller.

Martha Richardson, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association in Vermont, based in Williston, was thrilled with the outpouring of support by both the actors and students.

“By encouraging activism and involvement, and using the power of their social media audience, Seth and Lauren have brought a whole new generation to the Alzheimer’s movement,” she said. “And we need every generation to get involved if we are to realize our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. We are so proud of the members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Alpha Chi Omega sorority for rallying around the Fox family. It’s clear that their motivation went far more deep than winning a visit from Seth Rogen, though that was pretty fun!”

Richardson also emphasized the urgent need for funds to support research. The national budget for this year raised the Alzheimer’s Research investment by $125 million (to $586 million), Richardson said, “But we are still well below the annual investment of $2 billion recommended by the scientific community to keep us on track for finding a treatment or cure by 2025, which is the goal of the Alzheimer’s National Plan.”

For more information on Hilarity for Charity, visit www.hilarityforcharity.org. For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, visit www.alz.org.