Hope Rising Benefit Honors Dr. Bruce Miller, Raises $1.9 Million for AFTD’s Mission

FBLI - Hope Rising 2024

The eighth annual AFTD Hope Rising Benefit, held April 4 at New York City’s Ziegfeld Ballroom, raised more than $1.9 million to support AFTD’s mission of helping those affected by FTD and driving research toward a cure.

Bruce Miller, MD, the director of the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, received the Susan Newhouse & Si Newhouse Award of Hope for a career spent supporting all those affected by FTD. A founding member of the AFTD Medical Advisory Council, Dr. Miller is a globally recognized expert in diagnosing FTD and managing care coordination for persons diagnosed and their care partners.

In his speech, Dr. Miller sounded an appropriately hopeful note for the future of FTD research and treatment development to the more than 400 Hope Rising attendees.

“In slightly more than 20 years, AFTD has become a powerful force, changing science and changing care for people with FTD,” Dr. Miller said. “From a rare and undiagnosable condition, today FTD is an illness that is driving the world of neuroscience. I believe that the first powerful treatments for neurodegenerative diseases will come out of our highly creative and innovative field.”

Delivering the event’s keynote address were sisters Sandra and Diana Gonzalez-Morett, who spoke movingly about their late mother’s FTD diagnosis, its effect on their family, and the currently unmet need for quality, affordable dementia care.

“Most families dealing with FTD face an average economic burden of $120,000 each year, almost twice the economic burden of Alzheimer’s,” Diana said. “Along with the fact that access to programs, training, education, and respite care were hard to navigate. And, on top of all that, FTD continued to be cruel and unforgiving.”

Hope Rising attendees watched a clip from the sisters’ movie Pedacito De Carne, which was inspired by their personal experiences with FTD. Sandra served as associate producer, while Diana wrote and starred in the short film.

Lea Michele provided the evening’s entertainment. Coming off her critically acclaimed Broadway run as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Michele delivered performances of “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” from Funny Girl, as well as “If You Knew Susie,” which has become a Hope Rising tradition. Written in 1925, “Susie” has been sung at each Hope Rising in honor of Susan Newhouse, the late wife of AFTD Board member Donald Newhouse.

Mr. Newhouse served as Benefit chair, along with co-chairs Anna Wintour (editor in chief, Vogue) and David Zaslav (CEO and president, Warner Bros. Discovery). AFTD Board member Kathy Newhouse Mele and Joan Berlin served as vice chairs.

All funds raised at Hope Rising will go toward fueling AFTD’s mission. Leading supporters of Hope Rising include Bank of America, Judy and Leonard Lauder, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

“We are grateful for the generosity of our donors, without whom we would be unable to fund critical studies aimed at finding treatments for FTD,” AFTD CEO Susan L-J Dickinson said. “Together, with our funders, we are empowering researchers to better understand the underpinnings of this devastating disease and supporting families on their journeys.”

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