Seth Rogen took to social media this week criticizing members of a Senate subcommittee for their insensitivity to his plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding. Rogen appeared before Senate members on Wednesday in the additional hope of bringing awareness to the disease which struck his mother-in-law, Adele.
The virtual fight began when a member absent from Rogen’s plea, Mark Kirk, posted a picture to his Twitter feed thanking the actor for his involvement to end Alzheimer’s. Rogen responded to Kirk on Twitter saying it was nice to make his acquaintance but asked, “Why did you leave…my speech?”
Rogen’s wife, Lauren Miller, revealed her mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the early age of 50. While the family expected this, as Adele’s parents both suffered from the disease, the news was still shocking and heartbreaking.
“By the time she was 60,” said Rogen of his mother-in-law, “things that made her who she was were gone.” He came to Capitol Hill to demystify the disease and clear up common misconceptions.
He took part of the blame for the misunderstanding of the disease. “I… understand why it hasn’t been portrayed…much [in movies],” said Rogen. “There’s nothing…uplifting about it…no cure…no treatment. It’s very hard to have an uplifting story about…Alzheimer’s.”
Rogen had planned on giving his heart wrenching speech to a room full of lawmakers, but found disappointment in empty chairs. Of the 18 senators supposed to be present, only two stayed for Rogen’s testimony.
“I’m…disappointed that this…system is set up to hear the personal pleas of people,” said Rogen, “and they are not there to hear it.”
Rogen was informed the missing committee members would be given a transcript of the hearing to analyze later. Rogen commented that the absence of people related to the absence of sensitivity for victims of Alzheimer’s. “It would have a bigger impact,” he said “if they were there.”
Rogen, along with his wife Lauren, created the Hilarity for Charity organization which aims at the awareness of young people to the disease. The actor is also takes part in numerous fundraisers and events throughout the country to bring awareness to a disease that will affect 16 million Americans over a span of 35 years. He quoted experts saying the cost for those with the disease is more than 2 billion dollars.
CNN contacted the 16 senators who were absent from the plea hearing for their responses to Rogen’s criticism. Nine members responded. Sen. Mark Kirk said he had met with an astronaut. A funeral caused Sen. Dick Durbin’s absence. The other seven cited other previous meeting engagements.
Sens. Mary Landrieu, Lamar Alexander, Jeff Merkley, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Mike Johanns and Mark Pryor did not respond to the criticism of their absence.
The subcommittee that Rogen plead to rasied Alzheimer’s funding by $100 million in the fiscal year for 2014, but Rogen called the funding for the disease “out of whack.” The sources he cited in the speech called Alzheimer’s the “most costly” disease in the United States.
Seth Rogen’s plea for the funding of Alzheimer’s is heard by many who suffer from the disease, but criticism runs deep against those he believes could help most, U.S. senators.
By Erin P. Friar