In 2010 at age 59, longtime reporter and writer Greg O’Brien of Brewster, Massachusetts, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. O’Brien wrote the book “On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s” about his experience with the disease, which David Shenk, author of “The Forgetting,” turned into a short film as part of his four-film project “Living with Alzheimer’s.”
O’Brien and Lisa Genova, also a Cape Cod, Massachusetts, native and author of “Still Alice,” are friends, along with Linda Apsey of Cape Cod. Apsey wanted to help promote O’Brien’s book and raise money for Alzheimer’s research, so she organized a film festival and fundraiser in Chatham’s historic Orpheum Theater last November. The event featured the “Living with Alzheimer’s” short films, an early-release clip from “Still Alice” and a panel discussion about Alzheimer’s featuring Greg O’Brien, Lisa Genova and Mike Curren of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, which was moderated by David Shenk. Apsey recruited dozens of sponsors and her efforts attracted 150 people; together they raised $12,000 for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. To view the short films, visit livingwithalz.org.