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'Unforgettable' puts spotlight on Alzheimer's Disease

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Posted at 10:51 PM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-11 23:14:52-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A new play is coming to Indianapolis highlighting Alzheimer’s and the importance of recognizing the early warning signs.

Gdavis Productions and Films, LLC, is teaming up with the Alzheimer’s Association to bring the play "Unforgettable" to the Circle City.

It's a relatable way to put the disease center stage and its impact on family members and caregivers.

"It's important that we reduce the stigma of Alzheimer's and other dementia and provide culturally relevant opportunities for our community to learn,” explained Vivien Carter, the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter.

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According to the association, more than six million Americans are diagnosed with the Alzheimer's, including 110,000 Hoosiers.

Older Black people are also twice as likely to develop the disease than White people, and less likely to receive a timely diagnosis when their medical needs are much greater.

"My mother was diagnosed in around 2000 and passed away in 2017,” said Alzheimer’s Association Volunteer Anita Gaillard. “Then you can fast forward to today and I am the caregiver for my husband, who now has dementia."

Knowing the toll the disease can take on families is why Gaillard is a part of the association.

"It's difficult, especially because I think the personality of the person or the family member with Alzheimer's changes,” she said. "Some days are better than other days, some nights are better than other nights. But I'm not hopeless in this process."

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Creator Garrett Davis wrote "Unforgettable" in tribute to his late grandmother, Goodness, whose dementia diagnosis left his family feeling lost.

Davis' experience as a Black male caregiver inspired the story of the Davenport-Rodriguez family, who plans to care for matriarch Mama D after her Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Since July 2022, "Unforgettable" has played in several cities, reaching more than 10,000 people, including many personally affected by the disease.

Indianapolis will be one of the cities joining the tour, now collaborating with the Alzheimer’s Association this time around.

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“Together, we're dedicated to addressing health disparities in communities of color, working towards a future where everyone, regardless of their background, has access to the care and support they deserve," said Davis.

"They'll learn things such as the 10 warning signs, they'll learn the importance of early detection and diagnosis and the importance of underrepresented communities being a part of clinical trials,” added Carter.

The play will be performed at the Madam Walker Legacy Center in Indianapolis on April 13 at 2 p.m.

Tickets along with more information can be found here.