Imagine knowing your memories will soon be washed away forever as a result of Alzheimer’s. Forty-five year-old Marie Vitale was coming to terms with this reality when RLTV first began interviewing her in 2006. Forty years younger than the average Alzheimer’s patient, Marie was facing Early-onset Alzheimer’s. Now, for the first time, a documentary chronicles a patient’s heartbreaking and inspiring five-year battle with the disease.
RLTV, the only cable network that provides information and entertainment to help Redefine Life after 50, announced today that it will premiere To Not Fade Away on Friday, January 20 at 10 pm. At the heart of To Not Fade Away are Marie Vitale and her courageous, positive outlook, while her family struggles to come to terms with the physical and emotional challenges presented by Marie’s worsening condition. Narrated by former NBC correspondent Lea Thompson, the documentary illustrates how drastically life-changing this disease is for entire families.
Woven into the documentary are the inspiring stories and reflections of well-known Americans who know the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals and families. They include two legends who recently announced their Alzheimer’s diagnosis: University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers head coach Pat Summitt and country music icon Glen Campbell. Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, is facing her diagnosis with her signature ‘tough as nails’ persona intact, and country music singer Glen Campbell and his wife discuss the challenges of the disease in the midst of his farewell tour. Former First Lady of California Maria Shriver and West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller recollect how the disease ravaged one of their parents, and discuss their own determination to bring greater awareness of the disease and find a cure.
To Not Fade Away also explores the hopeful advances being made in early detection and the search for a cure at Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and National Institutes of Health.
“Statistics suggest that Alzheimer’s disease has the potential to be a significant threat to many of us. Directly or indirectly there is a good chance that it will impact our lives,” said Elliot Jacobson, Senior VP Programming and Production, RLTV. “To Not Fade Away provides a glimpse into one family’s courageous battle, and sheds light on the progress towards a cure. With this documentary, RLTV continues its commitment to provide critical and compelling programming to our growing 50+ audience.”
One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and one person in the United States is diagnosed approximately every 69 seconds. Early-onset accounts for 5% of all Alzheimer’s sufferers, and it is most common for those 50 and above. By 2030, one in 45 people may be living with Alzheimer’s disease.