Bettina's Take: 2012 Alzheimer's Association Kick-Off Cocktail

Photo: Patrick McMullan
Robin Meltzer and Alexandra Lebenthal.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with this devastating disease. The Alzheimer's Association is one of several groups devoted to finding a cure, funding research that will lead to earlier identification of Alzheimer’s, and therapies that will one day slow or stop its progression, while providing individuals and families impacted with care and support resources.

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan established the Rita Hayworth Gala in memory of her mother, whose last years were ravaged by Alzheimer's. The event raises millions each year towards the cause.

Robin and Roger Meltzer, who will be chairing this year's gala, gave a cocktail party at their lovely home in Southampton as a kick off to the main event.

"My mother has had Alzheimer's for the last 7 years and she's really in a devastated state, so it's been an important cause for me. Alexandra (Lebenthal) got me involved initially, and I've just grown with it - it's near and dear to my heart. We're aiming to raise $2 million this year, even though it's not a kind environment, but we're ploughing ahead. I'm glad we're raising public awareness; it's a disease, as you well know, without cure. Both my mother and my mother-in-law now suffer with it," said Robin, looking summery in white Cushnie et Ochs.

Lebenthal and her husband, Jay Diamond, came to support the cause, along with fellow board members Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney, Somers Farkas, Chele Chiavacci, Debbie Grubman and Marlyne Sexton. Also in attendance were Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Sharon Bush and Richard Ziegelasch.

The benefit will take place at The Waldorf on Tuesday, October 23rd.