CLEVELAND — In Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood sits an iconic house from the holiday classic “A Christmas Story”
And actor Zack Ward, who played bully Scut Farkus, has returned to Cleveland with a mission.
But this time, he’s talking about a new role as a caretaker for his dad, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in July of this year.
“My father was no longer able to take care of himself, and it’s the weirdest process to watch somebody hold up a hanger in one hand and a shirt and the other not be able to put them together. It’s heartbreaking.”
Ward’s father turned 74 earlier this month. He said he loved A Christmas Story.
“Being able to connect this and make a message with it about Alzheimer’s is an opportunity to make it relatable. You know, I got to play the world’s greatest bully. And to me, Alzheimer’s is the worst bully.”
Ward said he now wants to raise money for research to help people just like his dad, but he also wants to raise awareness.
“Christmas is a perfect time to remember the people that you love and take care of them and maybe open up your hearts to the opportunity of giving. And I don’t just mean like give money to the Alzheimer’s Association, which is great because we need the research, but the reality is, give some time to the people who need your help.”
As far as the movie, its message still rings true nearly 40 years later.
“The whole thing about the movie is that everything goes wrong, everything goes wrong, and he actually almost shoots his eye out but at the end of it. They’re all together and that’s the best Christmas they ever had, because they came together to take care of one another and that’s what the holidays are supposed to be about,” said Ward.