Raising Her Voice to Alzheimer’s
Academy Member Dina Sherman Pledges 50% of her Next
Year’s Voiceover Earnings to Fight Disease
By Libby Slate
Voiceover artist Dina Sherman remembers the day she accompanied her mother and grandmother to the doctor’s office.The doctor put an X-ray of her grandmother’s brain up on the lighted wall box and said, “You see the gray matter? That’s the dead part.”
The doctor asked her grandmother questions: What year was it? Where were they? The elderly woman couldn’t answer correctly; Alzheimer’s disease had begun its inexorable erosion.
Subscribe Today: Get Your emmy® Magazine*
*Non-Members welcome to subscribe.
“I saw the reality of it hitting my mother,” Sherman relates. “It was devastating.”
Her maternal grandmother died of Alzheimer’s disease nine years ago, a week after Sherman’s first child, daughter Sabrina, was born. Two months later, her paternal grandmother also died of Alzheimer’s.
Still deeply affected by her loved ones’ illness and its effects, Sherman, whose credits include the animated series Biker Mice from Mars, Digimon, Superman, Batman and Duckman, numerous commercials and live-action looping/ADR, decided this summer to take action.
For the next year, she will donate 50 per cent of her net earnings to the California Southland chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. And she is currently raising money and preparing to participate in the organization’s Memory Walk, to be held October 5 in downtown Los Angeles.
“I’m determined to make a difference,” says Sherman, whose mother helps place Alzheimer’s patients into board-and-care cottages in Orange County. “My goal is to bring awareness and money. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in this country. We’re fighting for funds from the government.”
The Calabasas resident had been accustomed to doing volunteer work, such as reading to children who are disabled, but had had to curtail her activity after the birth of her son Ryan, now four, to focus her time on two young children and a busy career.
“I was getting frustrated,” she says. “I said to my husband, ‘I want to give back.’” It was her husband Steve, an engineer, who suggested donating earnings to a charity. “It didn’t take long to come up with Alzheimer’s.”
The Alzheimer’s Association was surprised and, of course, thrilled. And Sherman’s agent, himself an ardent philanthropist, was so moved that he pledged to donate half of his commissions from Sherman’s voice work to the cause.
Sherman will be sending an email blast about her own pledge to animation houses and producers. At this year’s animation peer group Emmy Awards judging, she handed out flyers about her fundraising efforts. There, she relates, “People said, ‘Please email me, so I can disseminate this to my email list.’”
Sherman set a fundraising goal for the Memory Walk that she has had to keep increasing, thanks to the donations of family, friends and colleagues; some of her supporters, dubbed the Sherman Tanks, will also be walking.
“My slogan is, ‘I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is,’” says the actress, who can be reached through her website, www.dinasherman.com. “I’m so humbled by all the support and generosity.” •