In 2013, musician and actor Joey McIntyre finished the Boston Marathon five minutes before the bombs went off at the finish line. Although he raised $40,000 for the Alzheimer’s Assn. by participating in the race, he couldn’t prevent a bomb from going off in his own life.
McIntyre has been running ever since his mother, Katherine, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s years earlier; she died from the disease late last year. On March 18 at the Beverly Hilton, the New Kids on the Block member and co-star of the Boston-set CBS sitcom “The McCarthys” will be honored as the Caregiver of the Year at the 23rd annual “A Night at Sardi’s” fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Assn.
The event, which has raised more than $25 million over the years, also is honoring the filmmakers and cast of “Still Alice,” which stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore as a linguistics professor battling the disease.
This year’s event is expected to include performances from Jim Parsons, Josh Gad and Beth Behrs, among many others.
McIntyre, who describes his mom as a “one-woman show,” said it was hard watching the woman he knew so well fight Alzheimer’s. “It’s difficult to accept watching your parent suffer from this kind of a disease,” said McIntyre, who explained that his mother loved the theater, so when the early stages of the illness caused her to act out, he thought she was just being dramatic. But when she got scared about what was happening, he knew something was wrong.
“She would get frightened and paranoid,” he said. “I had never seen my mother like that.”
The native Bostonian, who finished last year’s marathon in just over 3:48 while raising more money for the Alzheimer’s org, is no stranger to “A Night at Sardi’s,” having performed at the fundraiser. He says he’s flattered and humbled to accept his award on behalf of those who continue to battle the illness.
“I’m here to do whatever I can to find a cure for this disease,” he said resolutely. “I look forward to a day without Alzheimer’s.”