ROANOKE CO., Va. –Some Roanoke County students will be taking the stage this weekend tackling two difficult diseases: Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s their spring performance at Glenvar High School.

Steve Franco, theatre arts director, said, “Well, this is what you’ve waited for. This is what you worked for.”

The first dress rehearsal is the first true test.

Van Hofmann, actor, said, “I try to put it all out there. Whether or not I’m successful is a different story.”

But the students aren’t the only ones putting themselves out on stage.

Franco said, “It’s very painful to watch someone that you love very very slowly be robbed of themselves.”

Theatre director Steve Franko wrote this play set in the old Alzheimer’s ward at the Salem VA. It’s a place he knows well.

Franco said, “It’s a process. A very difficult process. ”

His father’s battle with dementia began decades after his battles ended in Korea. Franco began to write the play “My Father’s War” as therapy. Now it’s an opportunity.

“Not just because the show is written to honor my father, but it’s important because it’s written to honor everyone,” he said.

Lindsey Wheeler, actress, said, “I know on a first-hand basis what it’s like for a family member to suffer through it so that makes me want to give my all even more.”

Lindsey Wheeler’s grandmother is in the early stages of the disease.
Most others had a relative affected by it, too. It was important to Franco that everyone understand its effects.

He’s invited caregivers, doctors and family members to speak to the cast so that his father’s story, and millions more, are shared the right way on stage.

“This show is an effort to lend dignity to those battling this disease,” he said.

The play is this March 10-12 at Glenvar High School at 7 p.m.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Southwest Virginia Alzheimer’s Association.

[“source -pcworld”]