When Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller-Rogen aren’t writing their next scripts, they’re working with a “small and mighty team” to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease — all year round.
The couple launched Hilarity for Charity, a nonprofit that supports families and caregivers impacted by the illness, in 2012. They’ve since raised $17 million for the cause and hosted their second annual CareCon on February 18.
Miller-Rogen, 39, has a personal connection to the organization, as her mom, Adele Miller, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 55 and passed in 2020.
“It’s given meaning and purpose to huge loss in my life. I personally have gotten so much out of the fortunate opportunity that we had to help other people, which has, in turn, helped me process the loss that my family went through with my mom having this terrible disease,” Miller-Rogen exclusively tells Us Weekly. “So it’s really a very large feeling of what it means to us. And it’s really something that ranges from insane joy to just lots of tears of, ‘I can’t believe that we’ve gotten to do this stuff.’”
CareCon is a virtual event created to educate and support Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. This year, Miller-Rogen and Rogen, 39, were joined by famous pals such as Amy Poehler, Ben Feldman, Steve Aoki, Dan Fogelman and Adam Shapiro, who conducted workshops and panels — all while bringing some laughs — via Zoom.
“[Amy did] a deep dive into her sleep. Sleep is really important for your brain and your brain health, which is a huge pillar of the work we do at HFC,” Miller-Rogen said. “And so she was fun. Seth was in that panel. I think they laughed a lot.”
For Rogen, it wasn’t his usual kind of hangout with the Saturday Night Live alum, 50. “It was great. I’ve known her since I was 18 years old. I think we were both kinda looking at each other on the Zoom, being like, ‘Wow, after all of these years who would have thought brain health was the thing that would bring us back together?’ If you saw what we were doing the last time we hung out you would not have thought that,” he joked to Us. “It’s funny how things go as you get older, but at the same time, it’s really nice to see how people that I like and respect and have for a long time I now like and respect for a whole new reason.”
Hilarity for Charity has grown immensely since its launch, with more volunteers asking each year if they can help. “It’s really been a real evolution,” the Long Shot actor said. “Just getting famous people to do things is not the easiest thing in the world! We’ve been very fortunate how many of our friends and colleagues have been willing to donate their time and energy to HFC and to our shows and stuff like that. And over the years, people have grown to understand what it is that we’re doing.”
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He added: “I’ve actually had celebrities reach out to me who I barely know and say, like, ‘Oh someone in my family got Alzheimer’s. I would love to help your organization some way if I could.’ And so just us I think being so vocal about it over the years has made it a lot easier in a lot of ways.”
Working with his father-in-law, Scott Miller, has also been a highlight. The actress’ dad presented a special caregiver with the inaugural Scotty Caregiver Award, which is named after him, at this year’s CareCon.
“To be honest, it was nerve-wracking,” Miller-Rogen admitted, laughing.
Rogen teased: “Actually before, I was like, ‘How long is this speech going to be?’”
“He said wonderful things, but he can go on a bit,” she agreed. “And so it was good and hilarious and he did a really good job. He was very sweet. I think it really meant a lot to him. I mean, my dad cared a lot for my mom, like 16 years. I witnessed no greater act of love than what I saw between the two of them. So to have an award named after him is so nice.”
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With their own experience having a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Hilarity for Charity happened organically. And it continues to grow with new support programs and impactful fundraisers.
“We have a calendar of events that we set up months and months in advance for the new calendar year,” the actress noted. “We’re always constantly prepping. So as soon as the last CareCon ended last year, we started prepping for this one by sending surveys and asking people what was helpful and what they would want to look for the next year.”
HFC, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, has only strengthened the couple’s bond too.
“We’ve been together throughout this entire journey. We’ve been together like 18 years,” the Superbad star said to Us.
Miller-Rogen chimed in: “Almost 17!”
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“Almost 17 years, I don’t know,” Rogen joked. “So essentially around when this whole journey started. So I’d say it’s been as formative in our relationship as any other thing in a lot of ways. And I think a lot of the evolution of our relationship was kinda built around dealing with this thing and supporting each other throughout it. I think we’ve learned a lot about each other.”
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