AfricanAmericansAgainstAlzheimer’s and First Mount Zion Baptist Church Present Forget Me Not Play in Dumfries, VA
The play, written by award-winning playwright Garrett Davis, provides a glimpse into Alzheimer’s disease and how it disproportionately affects the African American community
Dumfries, VA (September 29, 2018) – This Saturday, Forget Me Not, a play that shines a light on how Alzheimer’s disease is experienced within the African American community, comes to Dumfries, VA. The human toll and economic burden caused by Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating. African Americans are disproportionately impacted by the disease, developing it twice as frequently as non-Hispanic Whites. African Americans also pay more out of pocket costs to care for family members with the disease. Narrowing the health disparities associated with this disease requires that specific communities be engaged and educated on the issue.
The play takes the audience into the life of a family facing the disease and shows its impact on individuals, relationships, and entire communities. It entertains through humor and cultural perspective and resonates with its audience, especially African Americans.
“It is an honor to be able to translate a love of art into something that is more than just entertainment – that really has the potential to teach, to unite, to heal.” said Garrett Davis, Writer of Forget Me Not.
The play has been showcased in 25 cities to mostly sold-out crowds. "Alzheimer disease affects all groups including African Americans, so when we test medications that can delay or prevent the disease we should provide the opportunity for all groups to take part. In this way when we find effective medications we know that they work for all."
“Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately impacts the African Americans community which is why we are excited to bring Forget Me Not to our congregation, said Dr. Luke E. Torian, Pastor of First Mount Zion Baptist Church. We are committed to being part of the support system for those impacted by Alzheimer’s by raising awareness of the disease, providing access to education and information, and supporting caregivers through faith and knowledge.”
“We are bringing these performances directly to cities like Dumfries to provide a realistic perspective of how Alzheimer’s disease impacts a full community and to empower individuals and families with knowledge to get more involved,” said Stephanie Monroe, Executive Director of AfricanAmericansAgainstAlzheimer’s. “We must encourage people, especially those in unrepresented communities, to participate in clinical trials to ensure that when a cure is found, it will work for all of us.”
Despite the potential benefits of participating in clinical trials, participation levels are far too low across all populations. Participation is lower among African Americans than other races. Fewer than five percent of clinical trial participants are African Americans, meaning that the likelihood that an African American will be the first person cured of the disease is strikingly slim.
“It is not only up to the researchers, industry and governments to find effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease,” said George Vradenburg, Founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “It is also up to the rest of us to raise our hands and step up to the plate for a cure. At the same time, we have to recognize the importance of building trust in communities that have been historically marginalized in the research community. We are proud that Forget Me Not helps to address these issues in an entertaining and empowering way.”
This event in Dumfries will include a panel with the following participants:
- Melanie Chadwick is a geriatric nurse practitioner for the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University. In that capacity she serves as a sub-investigator in clinical trials of potential new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Melanie serves as a clinician in our Memory Disorders Program through the department of Neurology at Medstar Georgetown Hospital specializing in the assessment, diagnosis, and management of patients with dementia and related disorders. She is a published co-author and continues to support specialty nursing organizations as a member of The Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association and The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
- Loretta Woodward Veney is an author of Being My Mom’s Mom and her new book Refreshment for the Caregiver’s Spirit, has chronicled family events through journals, photos, and videos, seeking to capture every moment. After receiving the devastating news in 2006 that her beloved mother Doris was the first female in the family to suffer from dementia, Loretta began documenting the details of doctor visits, and recording people, places, and things as a substitute for her Mom’s lost memory. Loretta is a motivational speaker and trainer who has delivered more than 300 speeches and presentations on dementia and caregiving since 2014 and she offers a wealth of information and encouragement for her audiences. Loretta and her Mom been featured in articles in the Washington Post, the NY Times, AARP as well as a PBS special featuring Alzheimer’s Caregivers.
- Garrett Davis is an actor, director, and producer of numerous stage productions. He is a North Carolina native, residing in the Triad area of the state with his wife, best friend and business partner, Carol Montague whom he affectionately refers to as “Monty”. Garrett started his entertainment career in 1992 as the road manager for the New Jersey Mass Choir’s “Hope of the World Tour”. He then entered the radio industry as station manager of a small gospel station in Raeford NC eventually becoming Program Director a major multi-format station. “I want to change the way the world looks at Alzheimer’s disease. I may not live long enough to see a cure, but it is my prayer that the endless work that our staff does will witness that day when we can see a world without Alzheimer’s.”
- Stephanie Monroe is Executive Director of African Americans Against Alzheimer’s (a network of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and the first national organization created specifically to respond to Alzheimer’s and its disparate impact on African Americans. Formerly Stephanie served Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S Department of Education after ending her 25-year career on Capitol Hill where held key staff positions in the U.S. Senate Committee. Since 2013 she has led African Americans Against Alzheimer’s, raising awareness across the U.S. of the critical need for additional research investments and arming African Americans and others with the information needed to engage, connect, and mobilize individuals, businesses, community and faith-based organizations in efforts that advance our national commitment to ending Alzheimer’s by 2025.
Forget Me Not will take place this Saturday, 12 pm, at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, VA.
For more information or to request complimentary tickets for members of the media, contact Jordan Nachbar at or 202-568-8986.