Terrell Owens to host NYC benefit for Alzheimer's

Tue, Jan 18

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Terrell Owens sometimes has been criticized for his antics on the football field.

But no one can criticize his off-the-field involvement to create more awareness for Alzheimer's Disease.

"I'm not doing this just for media attention," said Owens, who played his 14th NFL season with the Cincinnati Bengals. "This is something that has touched my life and my family's life so dear to my heart."

Owens' grandmother, Alice Black, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 1996. As a young boy, Owens was raised by her.

"The disease really robs our loved ones of their memories. In the early stages as her mind started slowly drifting away, I was one of the few people that she still actually remembered," said Owens, who gets constant updates about her grandmother in Alabama. "I'm her grandson and she didn't even recognize her own son."

Alzheimer's -- a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior -- is the sixth leading cause of death. More than 25 million people are affected worldwide.

On Wednesday, Owens and his celebrity friends will host a "Terrell Owens Speakeasy Soiree" at the Blind Barber in New York to benefit the Alzheimer's Association. Bengals teammate Dhani Jones and model Tyson Beckford are among the celebrities participating, and Pras Michel (of the Fugees) will perform.

"I just want people to be more knowledgeable about this disease. So many people are suffering," Owens said. "I'm just using my status to keep this on the radar. This is something people are fighting with every day."