Spreading Alzheimer's awareness through laughter

Posted at 11:09 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-03 14:06:12-04

Lockport's Transit Drive-In is honoring comedic legend, Gene Wilder, by having several showings of his famous movies "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and the "Blazing Saddles" throughout Labor Day Weekend.

Thirty-five percent of the ticket sales will go to the Alzheimer's Association of Western New York.

"It means the world when people take an opportunity and turn it into something that we can use to fight the disease," said Leilani Pelletier, Executive Director of Alzheimer's Association of WNY.

Adults who have been fans for years were reliving childhood memories Friday night.

"I've probably seen Willy Wonka 25 times," said Samantha DeMart. "It's one of my favorite movies from the time I was really young." Samantha and her husband were on their date night, watching Wilder's famous flicks.

"There's not gonna be another Gene Wilder," said Kristina Church. "He's unique. I just felt like something was gone out of the world this week."

According to Leilani, around 55,000 people are affected by this disease in the WNY area, another reason the owner of the drive-in wanted to help.

"Like millions of people, we were very sad and wanted to do something to pay tribute to his acting career," said Rick Cohen.

"Alzheimer's is such a devastating disease," said Cynthia Boyd, a long-time Gene Wilder fan. "For such a creative force to have that happen to him, all his genius in his brain, and to have that happen to him was so sad."

The Alzheimer's Association of WNY wants people know they have a confidential phone-line, where anybody can call if they have questions, doubts, or concerns on this disease.

To help raise money and find a cause for this disease, you can go to their website, here.