Brain Support Network began in 2004 as the “San Francisco Bay Area PSP Support Group”, founded by four caregivers who wanted a forum to share ideas and resources to battle the attack of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy on a loved-one. These four caregivers were Storme Smithers, Myth Srsic, Chris Thomas, and Robin Riddle. The group held periodic Support Group meetings in San Mateo.
In 2005, the group expanded to include three other Atypical Parkinson’s disorders (MSA, CBD, and LBD) and adopted the name “San Francisco Bay Area Atypical Parkinsonism Support Group”.
In 2007, Robin Riddle organized the group’s first brain donation. Robin’s father, Larry Riddle, asked that upon death his brain be donated to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. More brain donations followed as families sought to confirm diagnoses and promote research for a cure.
In 2011, the group adopted a new name: Brain Support Network (BSN). BSN was incorporated and received IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2012. The initial board of directors consisted of Robin Riddle (CEO), Karen Duncan (Director), Helen Medsger (Director), Steven Russell (Treasurer), and Sharon Reichardt Walker (Board Secretary).
In 2013, BSN hired its first employees to support the brain donation program. In 2015, BSN had three part-time employees working with volunteers to organize a total of 60 brain donations during the year. Brains sent to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, accounted for 16% of their intake in 2015.