The Tragic Reason Hallmark's Ashley Williams & Nikki DeLoach Support The ALZ Association

Ashley Williams and Nikki DeLoach are fan-favorite Hallmark actors, each starring in over ten made-for-TV movies on the channel. While we're used to seeing these stars tie things up with a happily ever after on our TV screens, Williams and DeLoach have also been working hard to bring some of these feel-good vibes to a cause close to their hearts.

Inspired by their shared experiences, the actors are outspoken supporters of the Alzheimer's Association, a nonprofit that specializes in Alzheimer's research, support, and advocacy. "Nikki and I connected because both of our families were dealing with dementia as a disease," Williams shared with Southern Living. "The way it manifested itself in her dad and in my mom were pretty similar so we were really there for each other."

Since they became friends in the early 2000s, both Williams and DeLoach have lost a parent to Alzheimer's disease. Now, they're determined to use their Hallmark fame to advocate for their shared cause.

The Hallmark stars opened up about their experiences with Alzheimer's

Through their advocacy for Alzheimer's treatment and research, Hallmark BFFs Ashley Williams and Nikki DeLoach have opened up about their individual experiences with the illness. Both actors had a parent who suffered from the disease, with DeLoach's father being diagnosed with dementia around the same time Williams' mother died from Alzheimer's disease.

"Dad was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of dementia called Pick's disease (commonly referred to as frontotemporal dementia). It affects the brain's frontal or temporal lobes," DeLoach told Guideposts. Her father, David DeLoach, died in 2021 at the age of 66, with the Georgia native posting a moving Instagram tribute to him shortly after. As the Hallmark star wrote, "My heart is shattered. The hurt is so deep and big that it just burns. And at the same time, I rejoice that you are no longer suffering."

Williams has similarly opened up about her own experience with Alzheimer's, as her mother, Linda Payne Williams, suffered from a form of dementia known as primary progressive aphasia before passing away in 2016. "My mom was diagnosed with dementia in 2005 and she ordered us to not speak of it because she was embarrassed," she told Southern Living. "Now it turned out my mom died of Alzheimer's disease, which is very hard to diagnose when they're alive."

Williams and DeLoach raised money for the ALZ Association

Following their mother's death, Kimberly Williams-Paisley (sister to Ashley Williams) founded the Dance Party to End ALZ, an annual fundraising initiative through the Alzheimer's Association. The event, which is run by Williams-Paisley, Williams, and their brother Jay, features themed outfits, big-name music performances, and, of course, lots of dancing.

"It is honestly a celebration of life, this dance party," Ashley told Southern Living. "Not only is dancing really good for your brain and your body, but it's also a way to find community together in what also can be a really isolating disease." Soon after DeLoach attended the event for the first time, she decided to join in on the fundraising, with her and Williams hosting the sixth annual dance party in November 2023. Fellow Hallmark stars Alicia Witt and Wes Brown were featured as musical performers, while Andrew Walker also served on the event's committee.

"What I've continued to learn deeply inside of grief is that we have to find joy," DeLoach said about the event. "And I think the dance party is so reflective of, we can be sad and we can be grieving and we can be mad and we can have all of those feelings and we can also dance. And we can also find joy. And we can also celebrate."