“Rizzoli & Isles” author Tess Gerritsen is asking the public to help her stop a villain, and maybe have a hand in her next mystery.
The Camden, Maine-based crime writer will be raising funds to battle Alzheimer’s disease through her Tess’ War on Alzheimer’s campaign on gofundme.com through July 23.
“Almost everybody has been touched by this disease. A lot of us feel helpless,” Gerritsen said.
The former physician turned mystery writer lost her father, Ernest Brune Tom, in 2003, after he battled Alzheimer’s for more than 10 years.
“He was able to stay at home until the end,” Gerritsen said. “He was a professional cook. Food was so important to him. At the end, I’m not sure he knew he was eating it.”
Approximately 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and one in three senior citizens die with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, according to data from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Each $5 will enter donors in a raffle to name a character in Gerritsen’s next installment in the Boston-set “Rizzoli & Isles” series. The popular books spawned the TNT program of the same name, starring Angie Harmon (“Law & Order”) as Detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander (“NCIS”) as Dr. Maura Isles.
“I thought it might be fun for somebody who has lost someone to Alzheimer’s to have them come back to life as a character,” Gerritsen said.
But Gerritsen’s not telling who the character is.
“I can’t guarantee if this will be a good person or villain,” she said.
The money raised will benefit the Scripps Research Institute. Gerritsen has pledged a matching gift, up to $25,000.
“I just want to encourage people to step in. It’s not necessarily through my fund, but just ways they can go directly to research and find an organization they can trust,” Gerritsen said.
To learn more about Gerritsen, go to tessgerritsen.com.
Distributed by MCT Information Services