Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller’s Hilarity for Charity Battles Against Alzheimer’s

Increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, and with the oldest segment of the population growing the fastest, there are no signs of the disease slowing down. The Alzheimer’s Assn.’s 2015 stats confirm that 5.3 million Americans are suffering, which is expected to increase threefold — to 16 million by 2050.

“Unless there’s a major scientific development, these will be the numbers,” says Lauren Miller, who with husband Seth Rogen is being honored with the unite2gether accolade from unite4:humanity for their work promoting awareness and raising money for Alzheimer’s research through their foundation Hilarity for Charity. “So many people have lost loved ones to it,” she adds.

The couple’s annual variety shows, combining music and comedy — including a sold-out affair at the Hollywood Palladium headlined by Miley Cyrus — have thus far raised more than $5 million since the nonprofit’s inception in 2012. James Franco’s Bar Mitzvah, alone, staged in October, raised more than $2.5 million.

For Miller, combatting the disease is personal. Her mother, a schoolteacher of 35 years, was 55 when diagnosed. “That was almost 10 years ago,” she reflects. “She was so young, but far from the youngest. She was the amazing mom that was always in your life doing everything and managing it.”

When Rogen met his future mother-in-law, she was already showing signs of the disease. “I never thought I’d have a way of helping people that was organic to my life,” he says.

Two-thirds of those afflicted (3.2 million) are women, and 200,000 are under age 65. It’s a growing crisis that’s bankrupting Medicare with one in five dollars spent on Alzheimer’s sufferers (or other dementias). Americans spent $226 billion on Alzheimer-related medical costs in 2015.

“We give 50% of every dollar raised to provide home-care,” says Miller. “It’s free, paid for by us.”

Funds are also raised through a nationwide program, HFC U, which supports college organizations throwing their own variety shows. More than 230 schools are involved, with more than $200,000 raised to date.

“I think what’s been very valuable is that I’m able to talk about our experiences, and really speak about the day-to-day situation, which is helpful and therapeutic,” Rogen says.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., yet the only one in the top 10 with no prevention, cure or way to slow its progression.

It’s been a very long, dark road,” Miller says. “Hilarity for Charity has changed my perspective and given me the power to take action over something that I was completely powerless over. I can’t save my mom, but I can help others.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show premiere,

    Cara Delevingne Talks Immigration, Taylor Swift's Battle With Scooter Braun

    Cara Delevingne, whose faerie character in “Carnival Row” finds herself washed ashore as a refugee in a foreign land, said she was immediately drawn by the show’s fantastical take on issues of immigration and assimilation. “It’s a cause that I have been involved in for a long time,” Delevingne told Variety at the premiere of [...]

  • John Travolta, Fred Durst. John Travolta,

    John Travolta Recalls Fans Breaking Into His House: 'I Was Scared the First Time'

    Nobody can accuse John Travolta of not being gracious to his fans, whether it’s an autograph, a selfie or, you know, a home invasion or two. “I’ve only had two people that actually invaded my house,” Travolta told Variety at the premiere of “The Fanatic” at the Egyptian Theater on Thursday night. “They were just [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • 50 Cent Power S6 Premiere

    50 Cent, Snoop Dogg & Trey Songz 'Power' Up New York City for Massive Season 6 Premiere

    “Power” is entering its final season, but you would never know if you walked by Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Tuesday night. Starz pulled out all the stops for its ratings powerhouse “Power,” throwing a massive premiere event, complete with a full-length concert at Madison Square Garden from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and a [...]

  • Diane Warren'Late Night' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Songs of Hope to Honor Diane Warren, Marc Shaiman, Boi-1da, More at 15th Annual Event

    Cancer research and treatment center City of Hope today announced the initial lineup of presenters and honorees who will celebrate the song and songwriter at its 15th annual Songs of Hope event. Among the music and entertainment industry VIPs in attendance will be veteran executive and producer Clive Davis, producer Boi-1da (Drake, Kendrick Lamar), award-winning [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content