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Philanthropist Dianne Cash Pledges
Gift Will Go To Provide A Permanent
DALLAS, Texas (Nov. 24, 2003) — Calling improved treatment of brain diseases and injuries "one of the most important causes in the country," Highland Park philanthropist Dianne Cash has pledged $5 million for support of The University of Texas at Dallas' nationally recognized Center for BrainHealth.
The gift will be applied toward construction or purchase of a building that will serve as a permanent home for the innovative center, which is part of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UTD and currently is located at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders on Inwood Road near downtown.
The gift also will kick off a $20-million fundraising drive for the Center for BrainHealth.
UTD President Franklyn Jenifer said the gift would be one of the largest from a private individual in the university's 34-year history, and he praised Ms. Cash's "extraordinary generosity, compassion and support of our Brain Health Center."
Ms. Cash said she became interested in the center when her elderly but still active mother, Frances Goad Cecil, began showing signs of forgetfulness and frustration. She said she knew her mother needed help but did not know where to turn for an accurate diagnosis and ways to improve and manage her mother's quality of life. A short time later, Ms. Cash said, she was talking to a family friend at a Christmas dinner and the friend suggested that she meet Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, executive director of the Center for BrainHealth.
"I met with Sandi and not only took an instant liking to her, but also quickly became very impressed with the work that she and the center were doing," Ms. Cash said. "I realized that if anyone could help my mother, it was the team at the Center for BrainHealth - right here in Dallas."
Ms. Cash, a longtime supporter of numerous charities and community programs, emphasized that "the center didn't ask me for money to build a permanent home — I asked them!" She said she made the decision to donate $5 million to the Center for BrainHealth because of the "critical importance" of the cause and the high quality of the work being done by Dr. Chapman's group.
"Brain problems are not only of concern to my mother. It is one of the most important causes in the country — one that in some way will touch every single one of us," Ms. Cash said. "My generation is next in line. As we lead longer lives, we all should be concerned about our greatest asset — our mental capacity. All of us are vulnerable to some kind of brain trauma, a stroke, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or a similar malady. It behooves us to be aware of brain health — not only to help our parents but also ourselves."
The new building, approved earlier this month by the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, will be named the Frances and Mildred Goad Building, in honor of Ms. Cash's mother, Frances Goad Cecil, and grandmother, Mildred Crews Goad.
"This sort of help and treatment was not available for my grandmother. Now people with any kind of brain concern can find the help they need," Ms. Cash said. "The Center for BrainHealth is proving that specialized intervention in combination with drug therapy can help people manage progressive brain diseases, slow the rate of mental decline and prolong productive capacity. They are pioneers in revealing the critical role we can all play in keeping our brains healthy, and they are making a difference that helps people right now as well as for generations to come. That's why I chose to make my gift to the center."
Chapman said she was "deeply appreciative of Ms. Cash's commitment to the center and the important work that still needs to be done."
Ms. Cash's generosity, along with the positive outlook and progress achieved by her mother, will be honored at a reception Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Crescent Club.
About the Center for BrainHealth
The Center for BrainHealth integrates research, treatment, academic training and community outreach and is one of the few facilities in the United States to provide continued follow-up to enhance and monitor functional recovery in children and adults with brain injury, brain disease and complications of normal aging. Through this innovative approach, the center is discovering commonalities across brain maladies that are yielding similarities in brain repair mechanisms and resulting in new treatments for improving life for patients with brain injuries and diseases. One of the center's top priorities is achieving healthy mental aging by translating scientific findings into treatment.
For more information about the Center for BrainHealth and its work, please visit the organization's web site www.centerforbrainhealth.org
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