The star receiver is in Washington, D.C., attending the sixth annual National Alzheimer's Gala. On Wednesday night, he'll receive the Alzheimer's Association's first Young Champions Award for raising awareness in the fight against the disease. Owens' grandmother, Alice Black, has Alzheimer's.
Among the others being honored will be French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and his wife, Sharon Percy Rockefeller.
"Alzheimer's is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States," Owens said in a statement. "Alzheimer's has affected my own family, so I understand firsthand the impact of this disease. I am proud to support the Alzheimer's Association as they educate people on the realities of Alzheimer's disease so we can inspire enough support to stop it."
Owens, who signed with the Bills on March 7, made headlines Monday when he was one of several players who didn't show up for the start of the team's 12-week voluntary workout program.
According to a news release from the Buffalo Bills, Owens' work as an advocate has included testifying before Senate subcommittees to increase research funding and serving as a spokesman for the Alzheimer's Association Champion awareness campaign.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.