A personal note from Brain Support Network CEO Robin Riddle:
Back in 2006, a small group that started a non-profit that, among other things, helps families with brain donation arrangements to support research for a cure of neurological disorders.
In 2012, we were registering the non-profit with the IRS. My father-in-law Hall Evans came up with the best name–Brain Support Network–and helped select our logo. And, more importantly, the IRS requires pledges of a substantial contribution to fast-track approval of 501(c)(3) status. Hall, believing in the effort, pledged a $10k contribution and provided a letter to the IRS to that effect.
Hall did this in part, no doubt, because my father was no longer alive. Indeed, my father’s brain was the first brain I ever made arrangements to have donated. The IRS gave the corporation 501(c)(3) status in late 2012. Hall and his wife Olivia suggested challenge grants as a fund-raising strategy and made challenge grants every year since.
Hall wanted to donate his brain as well. Brain Support Network organized his brain donation that took place the day he died–because brain bank research protocols require donation within 24 hours of death.
Hall’s brain was the 1,000th brain donated for research by our organization! In the brain research world, 1,000 brains is a very large number. Important research has been published utilizing those thousand brains, including research into COVID-19, various types of dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease. We expect Hall’s brain will contribute to that body of research, as well.
Most of the brains we help recover are banked at the Mayo Clinic’s national brain bank in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2020, our non-profit was responsible for 40% of the total number of brains provided to Mayo.
In a few months, the Mayo Clinic will be able to tell us exactly what neurological condition Hall had, because unequivocal diagnosis is only possible upon autopsy. (Even when done by board-certified neurologists, 50% of clinical diagnoses of neurological disorders are wrong.)