Member since 2011
Rodney and Mary Smith
Mary Barton Smith of Portola Valley, California, has always been a driven person, but two events gave her new perspective and even more purpose. First, her mother developed Alzheimer's disease and experienced a painful 10-year decline before passing away in 2009. Second, her husband, Rodney Smith, was killed in a bicycle accident in 2007. "Now I think you never know what might happen," she says. "If you want to make a difference, you've got to do it now."
Mary and Rodney made their first gifts to the Alzheimer's Association shortly after her mother was diagnosed, and Mary continues to support local awareness, care and support programs. She joined the Alzheimer's Association Zenith Society in 2011 and has made multiple Zenith-level investments in research over the years, helping advance clinical trials of both pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions that may be able to prevent Alzheimer's. The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) and the Anti-Amyloid Treatment of Asymptomatic Alzheimer's (A4) studies are testing experimental drugs, while The U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER) will evaluate how lifestyle changes may protect cognitive function in healthy older adults at increased risk of cognitive decline.
"If you have experience with this disease, and so many people do, there's no excuse — you've got to take action," Mary adds. "If you're really committed to ending this disease, don't just give once. Sit down with the Association every year and ask, 'Where do you need support? What is going to make a difference now?'"