MySweetCharity Opportunity: Center For BrainHealth

According to Center for BrainHealth Board Chair Debbie Francis and Vice Chair Joel Robuck,

Debbie Francis (File photo)

Joel and Linda Robuck (File photo)*

Our brains were not something that we thought much about until the last couple of decades. However, we now know that it is changeable and there are things that we can do to take charge of it. Here’s your chance to learn how.

We are extremely excited about the grand opening of the Brain Performance Institute on Thursday, October 19. The Center for BrainHealth will open its new, exquisitely designed, Brain Performance Institute building for a full-day public open house from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and a ticketed evening lecture featuring internationally recognized neurologist, scientist and humanitarian Dr. Geoffrey Ling.

The day will be an incredible opportunity to experience and understand the brain in new ways and learn about research-based trainings and assessments at the Brain Performance Institute. You will have a chance to meet the scientists and clinicians behind the research and innovations.

Everyone wants to make keep their brains strong throughout their lives. For that the institute offers and in-depth brain performance assessment as well as clinician-led high performance brain training programs. Specific brain training programs also have been tailored for warriors, corporate executives, athletes and others – looking for a cognitive edge.

Sandra Chapman (File photo)

The programs are unique and the media is taking notice. Our socialization lab for teens was recently featured on “The Today Show.” We were so pleased that the Dallas Morning News followed our mindfulness and high performance brain training program with the Dallas Police Department. Other programs provide support, strategies and information for people recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as their caregivers.

The opening of the Brain Performance Institute represents a lifelong dream come true for Dr. Sandra Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth as well as the many board members who have worked tirelessly to make this day happen – none of which would have been possible without tremendous community support.

Pre-registration is not required for the free classes and trainings throughout the day. The breakfast and lunch lectures are free, but registration is required. The evening event will begin at 6:30 p.m., cost $40 per ticket and include hors d’oeuvres, drinks and inspiring remarks from renowned Johns Hopkins neurologist, Geoffrey Ling, MD, PhD. Dr. Ling is a retired US Army Colonel and former US Department of Defense agency director for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr. Ling championed the development of responsive, brain-controlled, artificial limbs.

For further details about the Brain Performance Institute’s public open house or registration, visit www.brainperformanceinstitute.com/go or contact Nina at 972.883.3417 or [email protected].

Center for BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner Honored Rep. Dan Branch With Brainiacs, Politicians And Four Generations Of Branches

Traditionally, area country clubs are closed on Mondays. But for those rare, special occasions, they open, and such an event was the Center for BrainHealth‘s Legacy Award Dinner on Monday, November 14, Dallas Country Club. It was a gathering of the area’s top-tier bold-facing brainiacs to honor Rep. Dan Branch. Here is a report from the field:

Four generations of Texas’ illustrious Branch family, including gracious matriarch Sylvia Branch and her precious two-month old great granddaughter, Waverly Branch, along with more than 250 guests convened at the Dallas Country Club on Monday, November 14.

Sylvia Branch and Waverly Branch*

Kevin McBride, Margaret McDermott and Patricia McBride*

Under the auspices of witnessing Rep. Dan Branch receive the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas’ highest honor, the Legacy Award, the virtual family reunion attracted a philanthropic and political who’s who including Margaret McDermott, Toni Pickens, Rep. Morgan Meyer and Keana, former Lieutenant Governor of Texas David Dewhurst, former Rep. Bill Ceverha and his wife Mary, UT System top brass Melissa Jackson and UT Dallas executive vice president and provost Dr. Hobson Wildenthal. Other guests included Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Marla and Mike Boone, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Kathy and Harlan Crow, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Heather and Ray Washburne, Gail and Gerald TurnerSally Hoglund with daughter Kelly Compton, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Janie and Cappy McGarr, Shelle and Michael Sills and Lee Ann and Alan White.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones*

Debbie Francis and Toni Pickens*

Gerald and Gail Turner*

Heather and Ray Washburne*

The vibrant Shelly Slater of WFAA Channel 8 emceed the annual event that honors an individual whose vision and dedication enables the Center for BrainHealth and its Brain Performance Institute to empower people of all ages to unlock their brain potential.

As a state representative from Dallas and chairman of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education, Rep. Branch authored House Bill 51, the “Tier One universities” law. This landmark legislation encouraged private giving to public emerging research universities, including UT Dallas, by matching private gifts with state funds. Since 2009, gifts, appropriations and National Research University Fund distributions represent a total investment in Texas emerging research universities of $770 million.

It is worth noting that a love for brains runs in the Branch family. Dan Branch’s late father, renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Charles L. Branch, was a pioneer in the field of neuroscience and donated a cache of artifacts to the Center chronicling the history of neurosurgery. BrainHealth honors Dr. Branch each year, presenting the Charles L. Branch BrainHealth Award for “unparalleled breakthroughs in brain research” to a deserving brain research scientist or physician.

After honorary co-chair James Huffines recognized distinguished audience members, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who was detained by official business in Austin, kicked off the evening with a warm video welcome. He conveyed congratulations to his friend that he has known since they were kids. “And if you wonder how long that has been,” said Hon. Straus. “I will simply point out that Dan is now a grandfather.”

During an energetic tribute video, long-time friend of Dan Branch, Harlan Crow, expressed how easy it is to like Dan and incredibly difficult to dislike him.

The University of Texas System Deputy Chancellor Dr. David Daniel, who was President of The University of Texas at Dallas when the Tier One legislation took effect, said, “The Tier One legislation may well be the most important, transformative and wildly successful legislation in Texas relative to public higher education in our lifetime.”

Dan Branch and Sandi Chapman*

Center for BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director and Dee Wyly Distinguished University Chair at The University of Texas at Dallas Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman presented Rep. Branch with the crystal Legacy plaque. “Dan Branch’s efforts have helped elevate the cause of brain health to the forefront of discussions not only in Texas but nationwide,” she said. “Because of his legislative work, we have been able to attract top talent from around the world to grow our research team and continue to make meaningful scientific discoveries that improve lives today.”

 

In regards to the outpouring of high praise during the evening, Rep. Branch playfully bantered, “Typically when people say nice things about me, I like to say that I wish that my mother could hear that. Well, tonight she did!”

Dan and Stacey Branch and Hobson Wildenthal*

Dan Branch’s magnanimous acceptance speech epitomized his priorities, expressing his passion for understanding and delivering on his constituents’ needs and above all honoring his family. He identified each family member individually, lingering especially on his dedicated wife, Stacey, of 32 years whom he gave much credit for being his inspiration and the foundation of their family.

James and Patty Huffines and Eric and Robin Bennett*

Sue Blackwell and Carolyn Rathjen*

Patty and James Huffines were the honorary chairs of the event and Robin and Eric Bennett were the dinner chairs. The host committee included: Lana and Barry Andrews, Sue and Pryor Blackwell, Marla and Mike Boone, Debbie and Jim Francis, Lynn and Allan McBee, Carolyn and Karl Rathjen, Jane and Bud Smith and Gayle and Paul Stoffel.

Past BrainHealth Legacy Award recipients include Dianne Cash, Debbie Francis, T. Boone Pickens, James Huffines, Dee Wyly, Daryl Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan, Jane and Bud Smith and Clint Bruce.

Major donors at the Center for BrainHealth Legacy Award Dinner included:

Gold ($25,000):

  • Al G. Hill, Jr.
  • Carolyn and David Miller and The David B. Miller Family Foundation
  • Toni and T. Boone Pickens

Silver ($15,000):

  • Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge/Nancy Dedman /Jane and Bud Smith
  • Sylvia L. Branch Family
  • Lisa and Clay Cooley

Bronze ($10,000):

  • Suzanne and Moshe Azoulay
  • Colleen Barrett
  • Sue and Pryor Blackwell/Carolyn and Karl Rathjen, MD
  • Marla and Mike Boone
  • Teresa and David Disiere
  • Cindy and Pat Fox
  • Debbie and Jim Francis
  • Highland Capital Management
  • PlainsCapital Bank
  • Gail and Bill Plummer
  • Sapphire Foundation
  • Lisa and Kenny Troutt
  • Winstead PC
  • Julie and John Young

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR BRAINHEALTH®

The Center for BrainHealth®, part of The University of Texas at Dallas, is a research institute committed to enhancing, protecting and restoring brain health across the lifespan. Scientific exploration at the Center for BrainHealth is leading edge, improving lives today and translating groundbreaking discoveries into practical clinical application. By delivering science-based innovations that enhance how people think, work, and live, the Center and its Brain Performance Institute™ are empowering people of all ages to unlock their brain potential. Major research areas include the use of functional and structural neuroimaging techniques to better understand the neurobiology supporting cognition and emotion in health and disease. 

* Photo credit: Melissa Macatee

JUST IN: Aware Dallas’ Celebrate The Moments Plans And Beneficiaries Announced

Venise Stuart (File photo)

Venise Stuart (File photo)

After packing the younger elves off for summer camp and checking elder-type elves in for surgical enhancements, MySweetCharity headquarters continues being hit with all types of news. Forget all those rumors that things were calming down for the summer.

Aware Dallas President Venise Stuart just sent word that plans are already in place for the fundraising Aware Affair gala, “Celebrate the Moments,” on Saturday, April 8, at the Hilton Anatole. Co-chairing the evening of auctions, three-course dinning and dancing to Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra tunes will be Angela Fontana and Andrew Szuwalski and Penny Reid and Thomas Nolan.

Proceeds from the annual soiree will benefit the following programs dealing with Alzheimer’s:

  • Center for BrainHealth: Support for research aimed at slowing the rate of cognitive decline in patients with Early Mild Cognitive Impairment;
  • Juliette Fowler Homes, Inc.: Support for an expansion in the Art Therapy Program for residents who live with various stages of Alzheimer’s and related dementias;
  • NorthPark Presbyterian Church: Support for the Casa de Vida program offering affordable respite care for caregivers of individuals diagnosed with beginning-to-middle stage dementia being cared for at home;
  • Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation: Support for the Grace Caring Fund which provides a safety net for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents experiencing financial hardship ensuring that they can continue living at Grace;
  • The Senior Source: Support for Senior Companions (volunteers) to provide independent living services to adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias;
  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach: Support for Musical Therapy Concerts for Seniors in Priority Facilities;
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center: Support for the Clinical Neurology Fellowship Program.

Four Hundred Watch Nyquist Win The Run For The Roses As They Raise Money At TAG Derby Event For BrainHealth Center

Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt

Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt

Dreamy and Jessi Gould

Dreamy and Jessi Gould

Cigars, seersucker, sunglasses and big hats were the order of the day when as many as 400 young professionals gathered on Saturday, May 7, for the Think Ahead Group’s Sixth Annual Kentucky Derby Party. The focal point of the derby-watching party was a big-screen TV set up in the green, tree-lined courtyard at Dallas’ beautiful Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens.

Greeting the lovely and handsome young things at the front door was Dreamy the 19-year-old Morgan with her handler Barbara Lewis.

Bethany Voss and Mike Rials

Bethany Voss and Mike Rials

Okay, besides the well-watched television, there was also delicious food—think chicken and biscuit sliders, mini-crab cakes and mint juleps—as well as a silent auction. All the attractions were to help TAG, a group of young professionals who raise funds for the Center for BrainHealth, bring in at least $50,000 for the center’s Alzheimer’s program.

At one point, the guests—among them Jessi Gould, Dr. Alison Percy, Dan Hunt, Harold Scherrell, Scott Caldwell, Mike Rials and Bethany Voss—crowded around the huge TV to watch the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby. As cries of “Go, Nyquist!” were heard from the excited crowd, the race concluded with Nyquist holding off a late surge by Exaggeration to win the derby.

Watching the Run for the Roses

Watching the Run for the Roses

Then it was back to the mini-crab cakes … and many more mint juleps.

Center For BrainHealth Toasts Its Board Members, Staff And Plans For A Heady Future

While private parties were in high gear and many like the “robins” (Robin Bagwell and Robin Robinson) were doing the “hit-and-run” so they could make the SMU-Michigan basketball game at Moody Coliseum on Tuesday, December 8, the Center for BrainHealth brainiacs were putting their sweet heads together to wish happy holidays and look forward to the year and years to come.

Sandi Chapman Billie Leigh Rippey and Ramona Jones

Sandi Chapman Billie Leigh Rippey and Ramona Jones

Debbie Francis and Linda Robuck

Debbie Francis and Linda Robuck

While blonde BrainCenter Founder/Chief Director Sandi Chapman greeted all at the Dallas Country Club, Debbie Francis and Linda Robuck were doing the scene solo. Seems Jim Francis was still recovering from a bout of Thanksgiving pneumonia and Joel Robuck had a nasty head cold that he didn’t want to share.

Midway in the evening Sandi and Debbie thanked the crowd that included Kay and Jim Hammond, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Ramona Jones, Barbara Daseke, Billie Leigh Rippey, Laurie and Phil Evans, Ellen and John McStay, Biddy Jordan and Stacey Branch.

Laurie and Phil Evans

Laurie and Phil Evans

Stacey Branch and Biddy Jordan

Stacey Branch and Biddy Jordan

John and Ellen McStay and Jennifer and Coley Clark

John and Ellen McStay and Jennifer and Coley Clark

Debbie got the evening’s program underway by thanking the board members and staff for all their help. She then introduced Sandi, who told how the Center was “busting at the seams” with “115 scientists/research clinicians all focused on brain health.” She then told of their future plans that included BrainHealth RAPID (Revolution to Accelerate Progress through Interdisciplinary Discovery). Well, just that name alone received a whoop and laughter among the crowd.

Dan Branch

Dan Branch

She then had former State Senator Dan Branch speak to the group about the importance of brain health. He is the son, brother and uncle of neurosurgeons. He told how his father, the late neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Branch, had a special interest in “brain health.” When his father died two years ago, he arranged to have his professional collection given to the Center.

Dan proudly recalled that after University of Texas Chancellor Bill McRaven met with the BrainHealth gang, he placed it as a major goal for the UT system.

Debbie then introduced Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett, who in turn described his three-pronged strategy:

Robin Bagwell, Kimber Hartmann and Dianna Purvis Jaffin

Robin Bagwell, Kimber Hartmann and Dianna Purvis Jaffin

  1. During the first year of the Institute’s Smart Training three years ago, they worked with 56 military veterans. This past year that number was 1,800 in 18 states with just 20 people.
  2. They’ve just recently brought on board Dianna Purvis Jaffin, who has more than “10 years’ experience at the Department of Defense at the Walter Reed Hospital doing human performance for warriors and their families.”
  3. The building of the Institute for Brain Performance is underway and the facility will be open in April 2017.

MySweetWishList: Friends Of BrainHealth

According to 2016 Friends of BrainHealth Membership Co-Chairs Pam Borders and Kay Hammond,

Pam Border and Kay Hammond*

Pam Borders and Kay Hammond*

“Every person we know—and that you know—is impacted by their brain’s performance. As one of our fellow Center for BrainHealth advisory board members once said, without brain health, you do not have health.

“We first became involved with the Center for BrainHealth because of its work involving healthy aging and its dedication to investigating scientific solutions that may stave off Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. We soon learned, however, that the aging brain is only one area of focus for BrainHealth. The Center for BrainHealth is committed to understanding, protecting, healing and enhancing the brain in people of all ages, whether in disease, injury or health.

“As 2016 Friends of BrainHealth Membership Chairs, we are thrilled to support our Friends of BrainHealth Co-Chairs Barbara Durham and Jane Smith, and the Co-Chairs of Junior Friends, an offshoot for the under 40 crowd, Anne MacDonald and Nena Oshman.

“Our wish is to have men and women in our community support Friends and help us fund at least four emerging scientists and their novel research initiatives each year.

2015 Friends of BrainHealth Award recipients (from the left): Hsueth-Sheng Chiang, Jenny Miller, Adam Teed and Matthew Kmieck*

2015 Friends of BrainHealth Award recipients (from the left): Hsueth-Sheng Chiang, Jenny Miller, Adam Teed and Matthew Kmieck*

“Scientists who are awarded the Friends $25,000 seedling grants conduct pilot studies that can serve as the groundwork for future, large-scale research initiatives and help forward the field of brain science.

“We humbly ask you to consider joining Friends of BrainHealth and support the work of future brain health leaders. Please visit http://www.centerforbrainhealth.org/friends_of_brainhealth/ or call Gail Cepak at 972.883.3408.

“There are seven membership levels:

  • Junior Friend ($250 for those under age 40),
  • Companion ($500),
  • Friend ($1,000)
  • Special Friend ($2,500)
  • Esteemed Friend ($5,000)
  • Distinguished Friend ($10,000) and
  • Visionary Friend ($25,000).”

-By Pam Borders and Kay Hammond, 2016 Friends of BrainHealth Membership co-chairs

* Photos provided by Center for BrainHealth

Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Dinner Honored U.S. Navy SEAL Clint Bruce On Veterans Day

With parades and flags being flown in honor of Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11, the Center for BrainHealth‘s Legacy Award Dinner at the Brook Hollow Golf Club saluted former U.S. Navy SEAL Clint Bruce. Here is a report from the field:

On Veterans Day the Center for BrainHealth grandly showcased that brains and brawn really do go together. As the last place setting was perfectly positioned in a room adorned with masculine shades of gold floral designed by the one-and-only Junior Villanueva of The Garden Gate, 250 brain health advocates began to trickle into Brook Hollow Golf Club in celebration of former U.S. Navy SEAL Clint Bruce, this year’s Center for BrainHealth’s Legacy Award recipient. When this charismatic veteran and former NFL player enters a room, people notice. As retired U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Morgan Luttrell says, “You either stand up with a smile on your face, or you jump up and give him a hug.”

Debbie Francis, Eric Bennett, Karl and Carolyn Rathjen, Clint and Aimee Bruce, Sue and Pryor Blackwell and Sandra Bond Chapman*

Debbie Francis, Eric Bennett, Karl and Carolyn Rathjen, Clint and Aimee Bruce, Sue and Pryor Blackwell and Sandra Bond Chapman*

All eyes turned to the man of the hour as he strutted through the doors clad in a kilt crafted from the family tartan and knee high socks that he dapperly complimented with a bold buckle and his distinguished beard – clearly not a “Movember” only accessory. Naturally, the dinner invitation called for “business formal attire,” but when his friends dared him to go rogue, he didn’t back down.

With a large American flag hanging behind him on stage, Bruce explained his attire. “I thought this was called the ‘Leg You See’ Award, but you all meant ‘Leg-a-cy.’ I get it now. I really do have the best knee caps, and I just wanted to give you all the opportunity to see them.”

Bruce hugged and greeted the Center’s founder and chief director Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD., Brain Performance Institute executive director Eric Bennett, and members of his personally selected Warrior Host Committee that included retired military officers and enlisted personnel from three different branches of service as well as a handful of Navy SEALS, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force veterans.

James and Patty Huffines and David and Suzanne Holl*

James and Patty Huffines and David and Suzanne Holl*

Lisa and Kenny Troutt*

Lisa and Kenny Troutt*

Laurie and Phil Evans*

Laurie and Phil Evans*

As the dinner bell rang about a quarter after 7 p.m., stylish philanthropists including co-chairs Carolyn Perot Rathjen, Dr. Karl Rathjen, Sue and Pryor Blackwell and guests Betsy and Richard Eiseman Jr., Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Kelly Hoglund Compton and sister Kristy Hoglund Robinson filed into the ballroom to hear co-chair Pryor Blackwell begin the evening. He, of course, thanked everyone for attending and recognized host committee members Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Debbie and Jim Francis, Kate and Hunter Henry, Lyda Hill, Charlyn and Rob Holmes, Margot and Ross Perot, Michal and Loyd Powell, Patrick B. Sands, Jane and Bud Smith, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Mary and Mike Terry, Lisa and Kenny Troutt, Heather and Ray Washburne. He then asked the Warrior Host Committee to stand and be recognized. Moments later, he called for all active duty service members and veterans to join the committee and a roaring round of applause ensued.

Lance Hancock, Patrick Sands, Kristy Morgan and Mike Billings*

Lance Hancock, Patrick Sands, Kristy Morgan and Mike Billings*

Blackwell welcomed the guest of honor and explained that Bruce had tragically lost his father during when Bruce was in high school. In one of the most moving moments of the evening, Blackwell asked the crowd, “If you are a father or, one day, you hope to be a father, will you please stand if you think Clint’s dad is proud of him?”

Dr. Rathjen then gave the invocation and . Once the table chatter began to subside, Center for BrainHealth advisory board vice chair Joel Robuck headed to the stage and asked past Legacy Award Recipients Lyda Hill (2014), Jane and Bud Smith (2013), Daryl Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan (2012), Dee Wyly (2011), James Huffines (2010), T. Boone Pickens (2009), Debbie Francis (2008), and Dianne Cash (2006) to stand and be honored.

Wally Stone, Jane and Bud Smith and David and Sara Martineau*

Wally Stone, Jane and Bud Smith and David and Sara Martineau*

“Where’s Boone?” Robuck asked, pointing out the energy entrepreneur in the crowd. “The only reason T. Boone is here is because there’s no Oklahoma State University game on. And,” he continued, in a playful effort to explain the absence of two past award recipients. “Daryl [Johnston] and Lee Roy [Jordan], well they’ve been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.”

He discussed the history of the Center for BrainHealth and recounted last month’s monumental groundbreaking for the Center’s new clinical arm, the Brain Performance Institute.

Joel and Linda Robuck*

Joel and Linda Robuck*

“Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman founded the Center in 1999 and since then it has continued to grow and flourish, focused on leading innovative and transformative brain research, improving lives today and changing how we as the public think and act about our most vital organ, the brain,” Robuck said. “Most scientists focus on what is wrong with the brain. But, at the Center for BrainHealth, what is wrong is just one starting point. We want to focus on cognitive solutions.”

“If you were to cross a Texas high school football coach and a southern Baptist preacher, you would get Bruce,” Holley said of his 20-year buddy.

A video featuring “Beef”, a Navy SEAL and one of Bruce’s closest friends who was unable to attend the dinner, congratulated Bruce, saying, “This is just as much Aimee’s award as it is yours. The fact that she’s still married to you is proof that love is blind.” Bruce’s gorgeous spouse who had been by his side all evening chuckled with the rest of the room.

After Bruce’s first visit to the Center for BrainHealth in 2011, he was inspired to write a letter to the leaders of the organization. That letter was a pivotal point in the organization’s history, transforming the Center’s presence in the veteran space. The clever BrainHealth team translated that letter into a video montage of faces and voices that gave the entire room goose bumps.

Bruce’s most profound words, “You can leave a legacy with a name on a building, you can leave a legacy with a name on a stadium, or a door or some invention, or you can leave a legacy with someone.”

Bennett took the stage and told a story about his first encounter with Bruce in which he asked, “Clint, how do you know [the brain training] really helped you?” Bruce’s response, “Ask my little girl, and she can tell you how it helped me. Ask my wife, and she can tell you how it helped me.”

Bennett turned the mic over to Dr. Chapman who recalled some of Clint Bruce’s first words of advice to her regarding working with service member. He said, “Ma’am you can’t call us all soldiers. If you call a Navy guy a soldier, none of them will come.”

Chapman acknowledged her friend, Clint, as their spiritual leader who has a duty driven by a higher power. “He calls me the Jedi, but we are training with Clint because he’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi. Thank you, Clint Bruce for teaching us the way of the Jedi.”

The two embraced and Bruce corrected her, saying, “I am more of a Chewbacca than an Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

The Navy SEAL’s captivating words challenged every person in the room to reflect on their lives, their priorities, their goals and their legacy.

“I don’t remember much about the day they buried my father. What they said about my father is that he used his time to honor his Christ,” Bruce said. “How will you use your time? Will it be about the small things or will it be about the mighty things? We are the ‘not done’ kind. Words are not about you. They are about the things you do.”

He recognized the handful of Vietnam veterans in the room and apologized to them, for when they returned home, they did not receive the same words of gratitude, appreciation and welcome that Bruce and his fellow warriors did.

Bruce concluded his remarks with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”

After an extended and much deserved standing ovation, Bennett closed out the night thanking the hundreds of attendees.

* Photo credit: Grant Miller

Plans For Aging Minds Foundation Fundraiser Honoring Shirley And Robert “Bob” Miller Announced At Museum Tower Reception

WHO and Lee Bailey

Carol Riddick and Lee Bailey

High atop Museum Tower, Carol Riddick and Lee Bailey met in a fabulous bathroom. OK, so what’s the big deal? The gasl, who had never met, found themselves dressed in similar black leggings, black blouses and gray-and-black shawls. But they soon found that they had more in common than attire. It was the concern of Alzheimer’s and how its effect was stretching far beyond their immediate age group.

Lee fessed up that the misplacing of a credit card had triggered the angst of “What if this is a first sign?”

Carol, on the other hand, was concerned about the next generation and how it would be able to support the tsunami of baby boomers marching lock-step into the AARP part of life.

Kevin Hurst and Jeff Byron

Kevin Hurst and Jeff Byron

The ladies, who are sharper than a seamstress’s needle, bumped into each other in Laree Hulshoff’s and Ben Fischer’s condo overlooking the AT&T Performing Arts District on Monday, November 9. Underwritten by Neiman Marcus’ Jeff Byron and Kevin Hurst, the occasion was the announcement of the Aging Minds Foundation’s 2016 fundraising dinner that will be held on March 5th at The Joule Hotel.

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer

Last year’s event that honored Robert “Bob” Wilson provided $209,950 funding for “the Aging Mind Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for the benefit of the Center for Vital Longevity at UT Dallas.”

With a crowd in the living room including Ron Corning, Shane Allen, Rachel and John Michell, Kimber Hartmann, Kay and Jim Hammond and Sandi Chapman, Laree introduced the event’s Chair Barbara Daseke. According to Barbara, the 2016 honorees would be retired Dallas Morning News business columnist Robert “Bob” Miller and his wife of 52 years Shirley Miller and the honorary co-chairs would be Lee Ann and Alan White and Lana and Barry Andrews. Funds from the event will benefit the Center for BrainHealth.

After introducing Barbara, Laree chauffeured philanthropist Margaret McDermott’s wheelchair to a nearby spot. It soon became apparent that the wheelchair was starting to have a mind of its own as it edged backward almost “kissing” a standing piece of art. Luckily, Margaret put the brakes on the errant chair.

Center For BrainHealthy Types Shovel Dirt For Brain Performance Institute Groundbreaking

Unfortunately, there were just way too many top-caliber activities taking place on Wednesday, October 14, around noontime. It was a Sophie’s Choice of what to cover. Luckily the Center for BrainHealth crew were front and center and offered to provide an accurate recap of its much worked-for ground breaking of the Brain Performance Institute.  Please note that the BrainHealth crew admitted that the AC was challenged while providing comments about the event and covering peeps. No wonder these folks are brainiacs! Here goes:

Shelle Sills and Linda Evans*

Shelle Sills and Linda Evans*

More than 200 brain health enthusiasts from across the state of Texas filled an air-conditioned tent marking the exact location of where the Center for BrainHealth’s state-of-the-art Brain Performance Institute will stand come spring 2017. The invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony was beautifully orchestrated by none other than Shelle Sills and Patty Huffines.

Center for BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director Sandra Bond Chapman smiled from ear-to-ear as she hugged friends and greeted steadfast supporters of the Center including T. Boone Pickens, Mary McDermott Cook, Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Jane and Bud Smith, former Navy SEAL and Carry the Load Co-Founder Stephen Holley, Southwest Airlines’ Chuck Magill John Tolleson and Carter Tolleson.

Lyda Hill, Sandra Chapman and Kimber Hartmann*

Lyda Hill, Sandra Chapman and Kimber Hartmann*

Lyda Hill, a leader of the cause whose $2 million contribution launched the very first Brain Performance Institute program for military services members in 2013, grabbed the attention of groundbreaking go-ers, making a spiritedly entrance and donning a hard-hat outfitted with a Brain Performance Institute logo. Event photographers turned into paparazzi, having a hay day her mindful accessory.

By 11:15 a.m. the AC units were struggling to cool the packed tent and it was time for US Air Force Veteran and former NFL player Chad Hennings, former Dallas Cowboys player turned NFL commentator Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Jennifer Clifford, Brent Christopher and John McStay (who was sporting a black boot cast on his injured foot) to take their seats.

Debbie Francis*

Debbie Francis*

Capital campaign and Center for BrainHealth Advisory Board chair Debbie Francis welcomed the crowd and thanked friend and UT System regent Brenda Pejovich, State Representative Morgan Meyer and former State Representative Dan Branch among dozens of other dedicated individuals including Center for BrainHealth researchers, scientists, clinicians and staff for their tremendous contributions to the organization.

Dianne Cash, Dan Branch and Sandra Chapman*

Dianne Cash, Dan Branch and Sandra Chapman*

Following her opening remarks, The University of Texas at Dallas President Ad Interim Hobson Wildenthal took the podium, singing Chapman’s praises.

“Sandi is a true visionary. Her story is vital to the story of the University of Texas at Dallas,” Dr. Wildenthal said. “We know Sandi is an incredible leader and one of the dimensions of Sandi’s brilliance is her ability to build teams. She is the envy of all of us on the UTD campus.”

Hobson Wildenthal*

Hobson Wildenthal*

James Huffines confessed that his only regret during his service as chairman of the board for the UT System Board of Regents was that his tenure did not overlap with that of Chancellor William H. McRaven.

William McRaven and Patty and James Huffines*

William McRaven and Patty and James Huffines*

“There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that he will play an invaluable part in higher education, much like he did in the military,” Huffines said of McRaven. “Our state and our world will continue to be beneficiaries of his guidance and his full vision. I am proud to call him friend.”

Chancellor McRaven began his remarks saying, “None of us, I mean none of us, would be here if it weren’t for the vision, the energy and the hard work of Sandi Chapman and her team.” He spoke of the importance of the Brain Performance Institute’s mission where everyone will be able to come to make their brains better, whether sick, injured or healthy.

“It was in Dallas more than 40 years ago that Ken Cooper set in motion the physical fitness revolution,” said McRaven, the retired four-star Navy admiral, referring to the publication of ‘Aerobics’ by the physician/Cooper Clinic founder. “And right here in Dallas, we are on the cusp of the next great revolution: the revolution in brain health.”

He continued, “To make the most of the years we have, we need to make sure that brain fitness catches up with physical fitness. And I’m convinced it’s going to happen. The University of Texas System intends to lead this new revolution.”

With the tent filled with many BrainHealth and UT System donors, McRaven addressed their generosity directly.

“One of the things that has surprised me about coming to the UT System hasn’t been the job.” McRaven said. “What has surprised me and what has inspired me has been the great philanthropy and the great donors that I see every day. They not only give of their money, and the money is important, but they give of their time, their energy and probably more importantly, they give of their dreams.”

With his commanding presence, McRaven turned over the microphone to Sandi, who spoke of why Dallas has thrived as a city “because of visionary leadership” and how the Center for BrainHealth team is made up of “impatient explorers determined to close the gap from scientific discovery to improving human lives – today.”

Chapman, in the spirit of our ‘smart’ city, reminisced on the history of Dallas commerce, reflecting on trains and planes as economic drivers and proclaiming one more with the addition of the Brain Performance Institute: brains.

Eric Bennett*

Eric Bennett*

Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett rounded out the row of speakers by starting with a story.

“My niece can tell me with confidence where her head, shoulders, knees and toes are,” he said, “but she looked stumped when I asked her where her brain was.”

Guests giggled at the statement, but Bennett wanted to capitalize on his stance that too much research stays in research.

“We are not the solution for all the problems, but we have the research to benefit tens of thousands of people every year,” Bennett said.

He applauded Page, the architect and engineering firm behind the “iconic on a budget” building design that pays homage to the brain’s CEO or cognitive executive officer, the frontal lobe, and explained that the goal of the Institute’s aesthetic is to instill clients with a sense of empowerment as soon as they walked through the doors.

Before relinquishing the mic, Bennett challenged every person in the room with a call to action.

“The brain likes options,” he said, checking with the closest brain scientist in the room to make sure he had not misspoken. He then challenged everyone in the room to one of three options to help the Institute raise money and awareness that start with the letter “D”: donate, do and discuss.

The ceremonial dirt followed, symbolizing the beginning of a new era. All six speakers plus groundbreaking Co-Chairs Sills and Huffines, stood at the foot of the stage behind a 20’ x 3’ white box filled with dirt. Holding gleaming silver shovels, each scooped, lifted and turned the dirt before confidently shoving the shovels back into the metaphoric earth. The groundbreaking moment was met with a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd.

Patty Huffines, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis, Sandra Chapman, William McRaven, James Huffines, Hobson Wildenthal and Shelle Sills*

Patty Huffines, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis, Sandra Chapman, William McRaven, James Huffines, Hobson Wildenthal and Shelle Sills*

After the program, guests filed to the back of the tent for a reception complete with freshly made mini-donuts and table décor replete with mini construction cones, dump trucks and loaders. Many stayed to visit with old and new friends while sipping tea or water and enjoying chicken fried quail bites and other brain food, of course.

* Photos provided by the Center for BrainHealth

Brain Performance Institute’s Capital Campaign Heads For the Final Stretch At Debbie And John Telleson’s Estate

While mega-millions have been raised to fight cancer and heart disease, the rumbling for recent years has shifted to the health of the gray matter. As one person said Wednesday, May 13, if you don’t have a healthy mind, the rest is secondary.

Daryl and Diane Johnston

Daryl and Diane Johnston

Bill Caruth

Bill Caruth

Minnie Caruth

Minnie Caruth

Sandi Chapman

Sandi Chapman

Dan Branch

Dan Branch

So, nearly 200 high rollers like Lucy Billingsley, Dianne Cash, Minnie and Bill Caruth, Dan Owen, Lynn McBee, Carol and Don Glendenning, Robin and Norm Bagwell, Diane and Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Stacey and Dan Branch, and Pat and Charles McEvoy put aside the threat of thunderstorms to hear plans for the construction of the Brain Performance Institute, the Center for Brain Health’s facility for clinical programs. Course it helped that the gathering was taking place at Debbie and John Tolleson’s estate with Chef Darren McGrady in the kitchen cooking and entertaining guests and staff.

Kimber Hartmann, Patty Huffines, Debbie Tolleson, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis and Sandi Chapman

Kimber Hartmann, Patty Huffines, Debbie Tolleson, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis and Sandi Chapman

The rain held off just enough that folks wandered to the terrace overlooking the pool, cabana, catering cottage and the side tennis court just past the fountain.

John Tolleson

John Tolleson

Eventually at 6:30 all gathered in the living room to hear the presentation. John Tolleson introduced his old business partner/Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett, who admitted that going from wealth management to brain health had been “a big stretch for me!” In regard to brain research and bipolar disease, “we’re at the tipping point,” he said. Eric went on to explain that the Brain Performance Institute will bridge the gap between research and products, with the goal of helping more than 250,000 a year.

Moose then talked about how sports and brain health had changed over the years. No longer are football and boxing regarded as “contact sports.” Rather, he said, they are “collision sports. We no longer say, ‘He got his bell rung.’ Now, my bosses at Fox say, ‘No, he got a traumatic brain injury, and it’s serious.’ ”

Mark Roy and Eric Bennett

Mark Roy and Eric Bennett

Next up was 26-year vet U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mark Roy, who is now doing the brain training program. “I need this stuff. It kind of gave me my life back,” Roy said. “It made me more effective. I started eating better, too.” But he also emphasized that not all vets have been as fortunate as he — “Two in my unit committed suicide.”

Phil Craver

Phil Craver

While all were moving and enlightening, it was 60-year-old Phil Craver. who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, that really hit home. With his wife Nancy Craver standing by his side, he hesitated, appearing a bit uncertain of what he would say. The waver in his voice only emphasized the situation that had challenged him and his family. The former CFO told how the signs of his disease had evidently been apparent for eight years before being diagnosed. Nancy then took the mic from her husband, telling the guests, “Concentrate on what you have left, not what you have lost.”

Nancy and Phil Craver

Nancy and Phil Craver

Looking around the two-story library filled with high rollers and beautiful people, the elegance of the evening had transitioned into a scene of compassion. As they witnessed a man suffering from a neurological disease, they empathized. After all, some had themselves lost family members to the brain disorders. Others wondered if those signs might be part of their future.

Luckily, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Debbie Francis and Patty Huffines, who have been spearheading the efforts to reach the $33M goal, offered a brighter future. Having already raised $24M, the two blondes said their wish list is for 100 people who will give $100,000 or more.

Adding to the hope in dealing with issues challenging healthy brains, Center for BrainHealth’s Dr. Sandi Chapman reported that the North Texas Center for BrainHealth has become a showplace for professionals and those in need of neurological assistance, including working with vets.

Yes, it was an impressive evening at a showplace with a stellar crowd. But as the sea of baby boomers continues flooding upon society in the days and years to come, it will take such assemblies to provide and energize resources to keep brain health just that …healthy.

Center For BrainHealth’s TAG Cuties Were Off And Partying At The Empire Room For Day At The Races

This year’s Kentucky Derby was the perfect occasion to celebrate and fundraise in Dallas. The lawn of Lee Park in front of Arlington Hall grew with ladies in hats and gents in khakis waiting for the Day at the Races benefiting Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservancy. On the other side of I-35, the Center for BrainHealth’s TAG’s long-legged gals in sundresses and hats and fellows looking very dapper gathered at The Empire Room with horsepower in place thanks to Co-Chairs Gabi Sztamenits and Jodi Sparrow.

Jessica Edwards, Ashton Pearley, Gabi Sztamenits and Anne Brown

Jessica Edwards, Ashton Pearley, Gabi Sztamenits and Anne Brown

Mike Rials and  Bethany Voss

Mike Rials and Bethany Voss

Kinsey Blalock and Jason Stangel

Kinsey Blalock and Jason Stangel

Sullivan Franklin Mitchell, Adrienne Gehan and Natalie Chavez

Sullivan Franklin Mitchell, Adrienne Gehan and Natalie Chavez

But that horsepower was more than the four-legged variety. Sure, 18-year-old gelding Lazer was posing for photos, but it was the white Lexus inside that was being considered for future relationships.

Suzanne and Kevin Burns and Jaimee Perra

Suzanne and Kevin Burns and Jaimee Perra

As Suzanne and Kevin Burns and Jaimee Perra posed for photos at the Photomadic booth, they soon found themselves dining on fried macaroni and cheese and pecan tarts. What tasted best? “Everything!”

The trio of Katie Bivins, Judson Stafford and Stephanie Schwartz posed for a photo after sending a buddy home via Uber. Seems his legs, unlike Lazer’s, had gotten a bit wobbly due to partying and they wanted him to make it home safe and sound.

Katie Bivins, Judson Stafford and Stephanie Schwartz

Katie Bivins, Judson Stafford and Stephanie Schwartz

Editor’s note: Such friendship deserves a tip o’ the hat. In addition to friends making a smart choice for their “buddy,” the fellow agreed to being driven home without making a scene.

But back to the party. As the minutes ticked away for the horses to break at the Derby, the crowd could have cared less. They were having too much fun.

On the other hand, it appeared that the band was having issues. Looking like parents trying to put together a train set on Christmas Even with little success, the musicians tried their best even as the seconds clicked down to the Derby start.

Derby watching

Derby watching

But again, who cared? American Pharoah won, the long-legged gals looked fabulous and the fellows were two-minute racing experts. As soon as American Pharoah crossed the finish line, it was back to partying.

For more photos, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery!

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 5th Annual TAG Kentucky Derby

Suzanne and Kevin Burns and Jaimee Perra

Suzanne and Kevin Burns and Jaimee Perra

American Pharoah is on a roll with the Belmont up ahead. His start got underway at the Saturday, May 2nd Kentucky Derby with a bunch of adorable gals and gents watching at Dallas’ Empire Room. Besides killer-looking fashions — hats, sunglasses, bowties and frocks showing off long legs — the guests were also fundraising for the Center for BrainHealth’s TAG.

Derby watching

Derby watching

The 5th Annual TAG Kentucky Derby post is being prepped, but the pix can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery now!

Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner Salutes The Warriors’ Heroine Lyda Hill With Accolades And Hugs

Despite the arrival of the season’s first bone-chilling temperatures, Veterans Day activities were not to be deterred. Throughout Tuesday, November 11, parades, lunches and the showing of Travis: A Soldier’s Story at the Majestic saluted past and present veterans.

Over at the Joule Hotel, the BrainHealth Center’s Legacy Dinner got underway with a very special tip of the hat to the veterans and Legacy Awardee Lyda Hill.

Sandi Chapman

Sandi Chapman

April Box Chamberlain

April Box Chamberlain

Nicole Small

Nicole Small

Dianne Cash

Dianne Cash

John Hart

John Hart

Allie Beth Allman

Allie Beth Allman

Lucy Billingsley

Lucy Billingsley

Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh

Marti Carlin

Marti Carlin

But before all the hoop-la started, a reception took place in the Fortnight Ballroom with a pretty impressive crowd of 240 including Ellen and John McStay, Sue and Brett Ringle, Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Debbie and Jim Francis, Caroline Rose Hunt and Del Frnka, Kay Hammond, Patrick Walsh, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Tincy Miller, Patsy Donosky, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Jody Grant (Sheila was in New York City), Toni and Boone Pickens, Margot and Ross Perot, Barbara and Steve Durham, Nicole Small, Bobby Lyle and Lottye Brodsky, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones and Ka and LL Cotter.

Following a minute by minute schedule, everything was right on target as the group adjourned to the Mosaic Ballroom for dinner and the program.

Coley and Jennifer Clark and Lynn and Allan McBee

Coley and Jennifer Clark and Lynn and Allan McBee

Dinner Chair Lynn McBee on stage with an American flag covering the wall behind her welcomed guests, pointed out key people and revealed a “housekeeping” tip about the valet POA. Guests were to text the number on the valet ticket and then type in the assigned number on the stub when they wanted their car. In turn the valets would text them when their cars were at the curb. Seemed to be very simple. But a wave of whispers went through the room. It was a new-age way of car pickup. Hey, technology has been making its way into fundraising in recent years. After all, iPads and cellphones were becoming the way to bid in and monitor silent auctions. More about valet texting later.

Center for BrainHealth’s Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett recognized “The Warriors,” adding “I’d never had a calling life until two years ago. It was inspirational for me to take this opportunity.”

Jacob Fuller and Jake Schick

Jacob Fuller and Jake Schick

Retired Marine Corps Corp. Jake Schick, who is the Warrior Relations Specialist with the Brain Performance Institute, told how he had been injured head to toe 10 years ago and of the stress of being under fire. Looking directly at Lyda across the room as if there was no one else in the room, he said, “Lyda, you are the epitome of a force multiplier…There’s only one woman stronger than you, probably — my wife. Brownie points, check!…We will not rest until we get where we want to be. As we all know, complacency kills. We won’t get complacent.”

Following the invocation by Navy SEAL vet Jacob Fuller, dinner (market lettuce salad followed by beef tenderloin and snapper served with risotto-style butternut square barley, sautéed spinach and read wine sauce) was served. That was when the schedule went off kilter. The original plan called for the rest of the program to continue after dessert (banana wafer trifle) was served. But the first two courses evidently took a bit longer than organizers allowed. So, the trifle was put on hold and the program proceeded.

Lyda Hill and Jake Schick

Lyda Hill and Jake Schick

During dinner, Lyda, who usually shies away from being photographed, asked for a snap with Jake.

Debbie Francis and Kimber Hartmann

Debbie Francis and Kimber Hartmann

At 9 p.m., BrainHealth Advisory Board Chair Debbie Francis recognized the warriors and the previous Legacy Award recipients (Dianne Cash, Boone Pickens, James Huffines and Jane and Bud Smith). She then talked about the “soon-to-be” Brain Performance Institute: “With Lyda, one can expect the unexpected. She is tough, but always kind. Smart, yet always eager to learn. When Lyda makes a gift, she makes a true difference.”

A video followed showing how Lyda’s gift had made everything possible including the ability to reach 500+ warriors so far in 2014.

Sandi Chapman and the Warriors

Sandi Chapman and the Warriors

With warriors standing on stage, Dr. Sandi Chapman then told the group of the “two sister problems coming out of the war: PTSD and Traumatic Brain Disorder.” But thanks to Lyda’s “initial capstone gift,” positive results were taking place.

Sandi Chapman, Lyda Hill, Jacob Fuller, Mike Rials and KeeShaun Coffey

Sandi Chapman, Lyda Hill, Jacob Fuller, Mike Rials and KeeShaun Coffey

Upon accepting the Legacy Award, Lyda told the group that it was her nephew Michael Wisenbaker, who “kept bugging her” to do something about the returning vets and their problems. In conclusion, she said, “I’m overwhelmed and honored to receive this.” Then she added that she was accepting the award on behalf of all Americans.

Banana wafer trifle

Banana wafer trifle

As the guests started texting for their cars and heading for the elevators, servers entered the ballroom with desserts in hand.

Alas, the scene at the curb wasn’t quite as glorious as the evening’s program. It was more a Marx Brothers throwback. Corporate CEO’s and community leaders followed the texting instructions and looked like school children who have presented their homework perfectly. For their efforts, they almost immediately received the following text: “The Joule has received your request for ticket 127769. We will notify you when your vehicle will be ready.”

Guests looked relieved that the hi-tech valet program was working so seamlessly.

But those feelings changed when a second text was received — “Unfortunately, no valets are available to retrieve your vehicle at this time. Please try again in 10 minutes or present your ticket to the valet stand.”

Nobody was waiting. Guests hit the valet stand en masse proving the old-fashion way of retrieving cars still worked.

The good news is that it provided a subject for conversation on the ride home or as one guest laughed, “We don’t need those desserts. I’ve got my Baskin-Robbins on the way home!”

As for the Joule, it was back-to-the-tech drawing board to rethink the cool way to retrieve a car.

And as for the vets, they blew it off. It was such a non-big deal after all they had faced and are facing.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Legacy Award Dinner

Lyda Hill and Jake Schick

Lyda Hill and Jake Schick

How right it was that the Center for BrainHealth held its Legacy Award Dinner on Veterans Day. The honoree was Lyda Hill, who has been an integral part of “the Warriors” program at the Center. Surrounded by men and women who have benefited from Lyda’s support, it was a moving evening in the ballroom with some of Dallas’ most generous philanthropists and hardworking nonprofit execs.

Sandi Chapman and the Warriors

Sandi Chapman and the Warriors

While the write-up is being prepared, you might want to settle back and check out the smiles, embraces and “the Warriors” on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Couple Of Nice Checks Reward Fundraising Efforts

So the song goes “Money Makes The World Go Round.” Well, even in the summer the dollars are rolling in for Dallas’s world of nonprofits. Here are a couple of “good news” reports that have brightened the day for fundraising efforts:

TAG

The Center for BrainHealth’s Think Ahead Group (aka TAG) presented a check for $50,000 for autism research. The funds resulted from TAG’s annual Kentucky Derby Party that was held at the Dallas Arboretum’s DeGolyer Mansion with 300 in attendance. Sponsored by Sewell Automotive Companies, the event was co-chaired by Katie Bivins and Halley Homen.

According to Tandra Allen, who is the lead clinician on the Center’s social cognition project, “With this gift, we will be able to reach those who cannot physically visit the Center for BrainHealth but who can still be positively impacted by this virtual environment. We have seen so many inspiring success stories with those who have completed the 10-session program at the Center, but it has been heartbreaking to have to turn away people due to geographic limitations. Now we will be able to reach many more people of all ages on the autism spectrum.”

Junior League Of Dallas

The Junior League of Dallas once again proved why it’s the stand-out in the world of Junior Leaguers. At the recent Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) conference, JLD received a $2,500 grant to support its “Kids In The Kitchen” program, “Super Foods+Super Fitness=Super Kids.” The program “incorporates federal nutrition guidelines through an eight-week course that teaches children how to prepare easy, nutritious meals, work safely in the kitchen, and incorporate exercise into their daily lives.”

Accepting the award were 2014-2015 JLD President Julie Bagley, 2014-2015 President-Elect Meredith Mosely and 2013-2014 President Laura Johnson.

Underwritten by Kashi, only nine grants were presented for programs promoting “hands-on nutrition and life skills education” at the AJLI’s 92nd Annual Conference in St. Louis.

Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner To Have Lynn McBee Chair And Lyda Hill Honored

Debbie Francis (File photo)

Debbie Francis (File photo)

Dr. Sandra Chapman (File photo)

Dr. Sandra Chapman (File photo)

Ran into brain trust sweetheart Debbie Francis, who reported that Sandi Chapman and the brainiacs at Center for BrainHealth have managed to snag a couple of local top gals for the 2014 Legacy Award dinner.

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lyda Hill (File photo)

Lyda Hill (File photo)

To chair the Tuesday, November 11 dinner, they’ve recruited Lynn “Energizer Fundraiser” McBee.

And to receive the 2014 award, they’ve landed Lyda Hill (aka Santa Claus’s Dallas counterpart). Besides sharing her fortune with so many like Hockaday and M.D. Anderson, Lyda has “furthered our work with pediatric brain injury, healthy aging and military service members. Lyda’s most recent gift has ignited the creation of a mobile Warrior Training Team that delivers scientifically proven programs to military service members nationwide through our translational arm, the Brain Performance Institute.”

FYI: If you’re fearful this dinner is only for valedictorians or Mensa members, rethink. They don’t use ginormous words nor talk over anybody’s head. And you just know if Lynn and Lyda are involved, it’s going to be a fun evening.

It’s a fascinating evening, where development in improving brain power is the center of attention. So, why not spoil that cute noggin of yours and take it out to support its future health. As soon as tickets are available, MSC will let you know.

BrainHealth’s Legacy Dinner Honors Jane And Bud Smith Despite The Government Shutdown And A Slip Of The Hand

Bud and Jane Smith

Bud and Jane Smith

It’s hard to imagine Mother Nature actually showing pity, but she did just that on Wednesday, October 9. The occasion was the Center for BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner honoring Jane and Bud Smith at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Outdoor cocktail party

Outdoor cocktail party

As an impressive crowd of guests (Patsy Donosky, Carolyn Lupton, Jean Lattimore, Yvonne Crum, Jill Rowlett, John Clutts, Dr. Sami Arslanlar, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Patty and James Huffines, Debbie and Jim Francis, Ka and L.L. Cotter, Connie and Denny Carreker, Billie Leigh Rippey, Paige Baten-Locke, Sheila and Jody Grant, Nancy Dedman, Ed Cox, Kerbey Clark, Lynn and Allan McBee, Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Caroline Rose Hunt, Lisa and Kenny Troutt and Barbara and Steve Durham) arrive, the sign at the curb warned them that the museum and library were closed due to the government shut down, but the Center was still open.

Closure signage

Closure signage

As James Huffines said, “It’s a shame. They’ve spent nine months planning this event.”

BrainHealth organizers had hoped the government would have resolved its problem in time for the dinner allowing guests to explore the museum. But just in case they had a back-up plan. A lot depended on Ma Nature cooperating which she did. The weather was just perfect for the cocktail reception in front of the Center, as Ed Bernet and his crew playing “Route 66,” “Fightin’ Side for Me” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Eventually the crowd moved into the Bush Center without a problem. Thanks to the shutdown, the security detectors were not operating. Dinner was held in Freedom Hall. Unfortunately, the government’s closure that affected the mammoth video walls that had captivated guests at the September 25th Salesmanship Club dinner. Now they were just plain, old stone walls.

Henry and Rita Hortenstine

Henry and Rita Hortenstine

Dinner Co-Chairs Rita and Henry Hortenstine addressed the group from the podium saying the dinner “was frankly touch and go with the government shutdown as to whether this would go on or not. . . Finally, it was determined that Bill and Jane (Smith) are so essential to the health and well-being of this community that this had to go forward.”

And move forward they did. First Couple Laura and George Bush appeared via video on one of the walls congratulating Jane and Bud for being a “quiet couple with a generous heart and pioneering spirit.”

Dr. Sandra Chapman

Dr. Sandra Chapman

After United of Texas at Dallas President David Daniel welcomed the group and impressed many with the fact that university had passed the 20,000 mark, BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director Dr. Sandra Chapman asked guests from the podium, “Is your brain going forward or backward because it never stays the same. I love it when people say, ‘I don’t need brain health, but my spouse does.’” At that point Jill Rowlett whispered to Tiffany Divis, “Tracy (Jill’s husband) must have said that.”

Back to Sandi. She stressed “We have even begun to push the limits of the human brain.” Then she turned her remarks to the honorees. Despite a challenging acoustics system, guests heard her say to the Smiths, who were seated a couple of tables away, “I remember the first time I met you. It felt like I was meeting Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant. I feel like I’ve been hugged with humor when I talk to Bud and Jane. They’ve exposed us to so many people. I feel so inspired every time I get a call from ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Cary Grant.’ It has taken us six years to get to this night, letting us honor them. You are our brain stars.”

Dr. Sandra Chapman addressing group

Dr. Sandra Chapman addressing group

Sandi turned the presentation of the crystal award over to BrainHealth’s medical science director/Jane and Bud Smith Chair Dr. John Hart Jr., who praised the Smiths for their generosity and love (truest, rarest form of puppy love that’s lasted 60-70 years. We’ve been trying to do this (honoring) for years.”

Dr. John Hart

Dr. John Hart

At that point John left the podium to present the award to the Smiths at their table. Just after handing over the award to Bud, the two men embraced. There was an “oops” moment as the sound of the crystal award hit the hall’s stone floor. Not to worry. The base suffered the hit, but the rest of the award was fine. In accepting the award and the recognition, Bud spoke for the twosome saying, “I’m a businessman. We made an investment in the BrainHealth center. It has been one of the best investments I’ve made.” After Bud thanked everyone involved in the night, John smiled saying, “I get to hug Jane now.”

As guests waited outside the Center for their vehicles, the moon shone just behind the U.S. flag waving in the breeze. Seems the government shutdown couldn’t stop a celebration nor a beautiful night.

Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Awards Dinner Didn’t Suffer One Iota Due To Government Shutdown

Outdoor cocktail reception

Outdoor cocktail reception

Just because the majority of ‘em have great hair doesn’t mean they’re not brainy. Want proof? The BrainHealth Center of Dallas not only overcame the recent government shutdown, they hosted a dinner honoring Jane and Bud Smith with perfecto weather.

So there!

Still want proof? Of course, you do! Here goes!

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Think Ahead Group

“Our lifespan is currently outpacing peak years of brain performance by 30 or 40 years, but thanks to advancements in neuroscience, it doesn’t have to be that way. This summer, over 200 members of the Think Ahead Group (TAG) were given the opportunity to influence the future of brain research. TAG, a philanthropic circle of young professionals who raise money to support the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth’s mission to understand, protect, and heal the brain, reviewed several research proposals and voted to award $50,000 to a BrainHealth scientist’s project they deemed to be most innovative and well planned.

Funds raised for mild cognitive impairment research*

Funds raised for mild cognitive impairment research*

“This year’s award funded a clinical trial pilot study that aims to regain, enhance and extend higher level thinking skills in older adults. The study investigates benefits of strategy-based cognitive training in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a form of mental decline that, in some cases, converts to Alzheimer’s disease. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, emerging scientific evidence shows that cognitive training has the potential to stave off its onset and slow its progression. Completing the pilot study will allow the researchers to seek federal funding to carry out a large-scale clinical trial and open up the potential to help millions suffering from impairment and disease. This September, TAG kicked off another fundraising and awareness building year to support BrainHealth research areas including depression, veterans with post-traumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injury, and critical thinking skills in adolescents.

“That’s where you come in.

TAG Advisory Board*

TAG Advisory Board*

“Make a commitment to improving the future of brain health by donating to the Think Ahead Group’s cause. On September 19, a portion of every donation made to TAG through North Texas Giving Day will be matched, allowing more funds to sustain vital research at the Center for BrainHealth. Just visit www.donorbridgetx.org and search for UT Dallas; be sure to include “TAG” in the memo line to direct your donation.

“Brain health is essential at every age. As the name suggests, TAG members are thinking ahead to build a stronger future for our most important asset: the brain.”

By Center for BrainHealth Founder and Chief Director Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

* Photos provided by Communities Foundation of Texas

SHARE-A-DATE: Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner

Let’s be painfully honest. This one should be called the “Gray Matters Dinner.” The Center for BrainHealth’s “Legacy Award Dinner” is one of the favs each year where brainy baby boomers and the next generation come together to better understand the workings of the stuff within your skull.

Lee Roy Jordan, Dr. John Hart Jr. and Daryl Johnston (File photo)

Lee Roy Jordan, Dr. John Hart Jr. and Daryl Johnston (File photo)

This year the Wednesday, October 9th dinner is honoring Jane and Bud Smith at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Jane and Bud have been big supporters of the Center and Dr. John Hart.

The host committee is made up of Nancy and Randy Best, Toni Brinker, Ed Cox, Nancy Dedman, Ginny and John Eulich, Gail and Wallace Hall, Susan and Boots Nowlin and Mary Watson and Wallace Stone.

You don’t have to be a member of Mensa to be smart enough to attend this one, folks.

Center For BrainHealth Dinner Honors Daryl Johnston And Lee Roy Jordan For Their Efforts Dealing With Concussion Research

Lee Roy and Biddie Jordan, Julie Hawes, Diane and Daryl Johnston and Lana and Barry Andrews

Last Tuesday the Dallas Country Club’s ballroom was filled to capacity for the Center for BrainHealth‘s Legacy Award Dinner chaired by Barry Andrews and Alan White and Event Chair Julie Hawes. Breaking with the tradition of honoring an individual yearly, the 2012 award was presented to two people — Daryl Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan. Despite being a generation apart, these two former Dallas Cowboys have teamed up for far more than being honorees.

Dianne Cash and Ward Hunt

As all past recipients (Dianne Cash, Debbie Francis, T. Boone Pickens, James Huffines and Dee Wyly) looked on, Dr. John Hart Jr. introduced the 2012 honorees as his idea of what a hero is — “A hero is somebody to me who gives of themselves for others and doesn’t ask for anything in return.”

Jill Rowlett, Debbie Francis and Yvonne Crum

For those who might not know, Daryl and Lee Roy have spearheaded involvement by NFL players in a study on how concussions affect the brain.

Daryl told the crowd that as former football players, their greatest fear is of the unknown. “We already know that we’re 19% more likely to have early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s than the general public.

“Whether it’s injury, whether it’s accident or whether it’s the impact lifestyle that you live, The Center for BrainHealth is the first place that I’ve heard of where you can go in and be evaluated. And if the news is not positive, at that point there’s still hope. And that was the biggest thing for me. [That], and when Dr. Hart talks about us going and convincing the other members of our community to come to the Center for BrainHealth to be evaluated and get the help that they need.

“I continued to push NFL Commissioner [Roger] Goodell about this. I continue to talk to all the people that I played football not only with, but against. There are several guys I played against whom I respected as players and loved the way that they played. And I know that they are not in good health right now. I want them to come here. I want them to know that if they get a bad prognosis, that there is a way for them to get back the cognitive abilities that they have lost at that point. This is the first time this opportunity has been present. . .. This is critical. As we moved forward, whether it’s a child, a friend of yours or someone who is very, very close, this institute will help somebody along the way.

“Whether you’re a soldier, a football players, whether your child has had a concussion early on in life. . . whatever the reasons are, this is the one place in the country that you need to be at.”

Dr. Sandra Chapman and Dee Wyly

According to Lee Roy, years ago he met with BrainHealth’s Dr. Sandra Chapman and Dr. Hart about the effect of football on the brain (aka impact injury). He and Daryl then rounded up about 40 players together in a matter of weeks to “participate in a study” that will be published in weeks.

Regarding a program that he and some of his teammates will start in January, Lee Roy said, “My memory is sometimes okay; sometimes not okay. So I want to admit that and I will work on it freely.”

He reported that six of the players who had participated in the study had been diagnosed with depression that they didn’t know they had.

Continuing on, he added, “We’re gonna bring recognition to the concussion question. We want people to know that and parents that instead of pushing their 8-year-old, 9-year-old and 7-year-old so hard, we need to inform them what the results can be.”

He also thanked his fellow former Dallas Cowboys (Chuck Howley, Cliff Harris, John Fitzgerald, D.D. Lewis, Bob Breunig and Tony Castillo).

Lee Roy Jordan, Dr. John Hart Jr. and Daryl Johnston

Before accepting their awards, Daryl advised the crowd that the Center for BrainHealth “is not a rehab center. It’s a performance enhancement center.”  

BrainHealth Center’s February Series Is Food For Thought

While some are working on reducing their weight, others are expanding their minds. If you’re in the latter category, then the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas is the cerebral fitness headquarters.

According to BrainHealth founder/chief director Dr. Sandi Chapman, “Brain health is the scientific cause of the 21st century. We are thrilled to be in a position to present up-to-the-minute results from researchers making indelible imprints on our knowledge of the brain.”

To help those wanting to improve their gray matter, the February lecture series, “The Brain: An Owner’s Guide” has been announced including:

  • February 7: “The Biology of Addiction” — Dr. Eric Nestler, Mount Sinai Medical Center Nestler’s research focuses on the molecular neurobiology of drug addiction and depression. The lecture will address ways his work has contributed to the formation of a molecular approach to psychiatry and furthered the understanding of molecular basis within depression and drug addiction.
  • February 14: “The Drive to Love and Who We Choose” — Dr. Helen Fisher, Rutgers University, the author of five books on the evolution and future of human sexuality, monogamy and adultery, and the chemistry of romantic love, studies human personality types and why we fall in love with one person over another. She will discuss the neuromechanisms of love and how they determine the romantic choices we make.
  • February 21: “Stress and the Brain” — An expert on stress and the degeneration of the brain’s neurons, Dr. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford is among the first to document that stress can damage the neurons of the hippocampus. The author of “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress,” he will discuss the latest research into the damaging consequences of stress.
  • February 28: “Controlling the Brain With Light: New Technologies for Repairing Neural Circuits” — Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Dr. Ed Boyden‘s research includes developing new strategies for manipulating brain activity, and Boyden is currently working on controlling specific nerve cells within the brain using light in hopes of opening doors to new treatments for conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and mood disorders. Named one of the “20 Best Brains Under 40” by Discover, Boyden will discuss applications of this leading-edge research.

Thanks to sponsorship by The Container Store, tickets are a mere $35 per lecture in advance, $45 at the door and $130 for a single pass for the entire series at the Center, 2200 West Mockingbird Lane.

“The partnership between the Center for BrainHealth and The Container Store is an ideal fit given the series’ theme is ‘An Organized Life. A Sharp Mind,’” said The Container Store President Melissa Reiff.  “We are delighted to have this opportunity to support the Center for a fifth year in its remarkable mission to advance brain health, a focus for our customers and employees.”

Center for BrainHealth 2011 Legacy Award Is Lovingly Presented To Dee Wyly

Dee Wyly and her daughters (Emily Wyly, Jennifer Lincoln, Dee and Martha Miller)

Earlier this month a “celebration of life” was held for Charles Wyly Jr. by his family for his friends. Last Thursday Dee Wyly was given a group hug by hundreds at the BrainHealth 2011 Legacy Award Dinner at Brook Hollow for the countless causes that she has supported through the years. Planned long ago, it turned out to be bittersweet as the extremely well-known and intimate friends of the entire family helped the Wyly family slowly adjust to life without their patriarch.

Dinner table decorations

But don’t for a second think that the evening was teary-eyed. Heavens, no. That’s not Dee’s style. It was one of twinkles in the eye (an ice-carved alligator longer than a six-foot table), beauty (Junior’s floral arrangements were simply breathtaking in the ballroom), thoughtfulness (fabulous favors from Niven Morgan) and benefiting a great cause — the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas.  But what else could you expect with Debbie Francis as the board chair and Gloria Martindale chairing the event.

Kay Hammond

And this was a crowd that knows their events. Need names? OK, how about Lana and Barry Andrews, Lydia and Dan Novakov, Margot and Ross Perot, Barbara and John Stuart, Ramona Jones, Mickey and Bill Lively, Lee Bailey, Kay (sporting a surgical boot) and Jim Hammond, Dr. Bobby Lyle with Lottye Brodsky, Dianne

Lana Andrews

Cash, Patsy Donosky, Jill and Dr. Bob Smith, Marilyn Augar, Billie Leigh Rippey, Shelle Sills, Lynn and Allan McBee, Aileen Pratt, Betsy and Richard Eiseman, Fay Briggs with

Mickey and Bill Lively

Ralph Gorman and her daughter Pebble McKenzie, Toni Brinker, Carole and Scott Murray, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Anne and Larry Nixon, Carmaleta Whiteley and Kenneth Craighead and, of course, Dee’s Saturday lunch

Mayo Crum, Rob Aikey and Yvonne Crum

buddies (Yvonne and Mayo Crum, Carolyn Lupton, Jill and Tracy Rowlett, Terry Van Willson and Gregory Dunbar).

And Brook Hollow Executive Chef David Sokol‘s menu was equally stellar including a green salad with spicy cornmeal fried okra topped with Creole balsamic dressing, Cajun rubbed beef tenderloin served with dirty rice and apple wood bacon-wrapped asparagus, mini-biscuits and sourdough baguettes, praline soufflé and chicory and decaffeinated coffee.

Did you sense a Louisiana feel to the menu? Perhaps it was because the evening’s theme was “Best of the Bayou” with Louisiana-born Dee being the Belle of the Bayou.

University of Texas at Dallas President Dr. David Daniel welcomed the group and told them how Dee had made the Dee Wyly Distinguished Chair possible.

Dr. Sandra Chapman

Later Center for BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director/Dee Wyly Distinguished Chair Dr. Sandra Chapman listed the previous recipients of the Legacy Award —Dianne Cash, Debbie Francis, T. Boone Pickens and James Huffines.

But enough with the serious stuff. Sandi went on to say of Dee, “She’s as pretty in sweatpants as she is in a ball gown.”

Going on and lauding Dee for her courage, love, playfulness (being photographed on a motorcycle, dressed as a rock star, etc.), compassion, generosity, etc., Sandi got a chuckle from the 300 filling the ballroom when she reported that Dee says things like, “It’s a brain thing,” or, “It’s a no brainer.”

On a more serious note, Sandi told how the chair was to be the Dee and Charles Wyly Chair, but Charles said, “No, I want to honor Dee. When it comes to philanthropy, I take my cues from Dee.”

Then the dreaded moment came. Dee was to accept the award. It was dreaded because despite her being a driving force in so many aspects of charitable giving, she hates being on stage and in the limelight. But she handled it like a trouper, starting off by saying she was going to keep her remarks short and sweet like Cicero. And that she did.

With her children (Martha Miller, Jennifer Lincoln, Emily Wyly and Chip Wyly) and other family members seated just inches away, Dee admitted, “The last couple of months have been pretty hard, but thank you all for being there for me. I’m kind of out of words, and I’m not usually out of words.”

She added that Sandi Chapman and John Hart (the center’s medical science director) were the true BrainHealth awardees. Dee also thanked “my gang over here.”

Debbie Francis

In making the closing remarks, Debbie Francis told Dee, “I can’t tell you how your early support brought me to the Center. . . you and Charles gave us a great gift.”

Last Wednesday night it might have been a “brain thing,” but it was turned out to be a “love thing” for Dee Wyly.

TAG’s Derby Dallas Crossed The Finish Line For The Center For BrainHealth

Nick and Beth Peters

Those backing Animal Kingdom at the Kentucky Derby weren’t the only ones who profited from the running of the roses Saturday. Think Ahead Group (TAG) raised funds for the Center for BrainHealth at Derby Dallas party.

Whitney Zapffe, Hadleigh Henderson

Drew Newman, Abby Ruth, Ben Newman

Held at Faye Briggs‘s wonderful estate, it was seersucker suits, big- brimmed hats and a couple of horses for good measure.

In keeping with the spirit of the Derby, event chairs Hadleigh Henderson and Abby Ruth arranged to have mint juleps and mini-Kentucky hot browns served to the adorable crowd.

The young crowd of TAG’s mission is simple: Think big, think bold, think brainhealth.

Photo credit: James Edward Photography