Staff and volunteers organize brain donations, serve as subject-matter-experts at support group meetings, produce our events, develop and maintain this web site, and manage our information technology systems. A few of our staff and volunteers are listed here. Contact us ([email protected]) if you would like to join the team!
Denise Dagan – Brain Donation Specialist
Works with families nationwide to coordinate brain donations. Denise joined BSN’s Lewy Body Dementia caregiver support group in 2009, when she was caring for her father Harry. Harry passed away in 2013; the LBD diagnosis was confirmed via brain donation, which Brain Support Network helped arrange. Denise is a long-time volunteer at Brain Support Network, facilitating discussion of Lewy Body Dementia at group meetings and organizing BSN events in Northern California.
Kayla Hernandez – Brain Donation Specialist
Sharon Hu – Brain Donation Specialist
Works with families nationwide to coordinate brain donations. Sharon has a long career in the healthcare industry. She started her career as a cancer research scientist at Novartis. After receiving her MBA from Fuqua Business School, Duke University, Sharon went to work on Wall Street and became a Senior Vice President in corporate banking, specializing in the healthcare sector. Now at Brain Support Network, Sharon enjoys the personal touch she is able to provide to families and is inspired by their desire to help improve the lives of future generations suffering from neurodegenerative disorders.
Steven Russell – Director of Finance
Joined the Parkinson’s disease (PD) community in the San Francisco Bay Area when his late father, David, was diagnosed with PD in 1993. In 2007, after his father’s passing, Steven joined a Parkinson’s-focused non‐profit’s board, serving as Board Secretary. Steven joined the BSN board in 2012 as a founding member and as our first Treasurer. Earlier, Steven’s career was in corporate travel management, including recruiting, training, contract negotiations, and customer service.
Virginia Stuart, Brain Donation Case Manager
Works with families nationwide to coordinate brain donations. Virginia moved to Fremont, California from Lake Oswego, Oregon to care for her 95-year-old father Harry in the fall of 2019. Harry had been growing more confused and untrusting of people due to unspecified dementia. She attended a local Alzheimer’s support group to educate herself, and learn how to better manage herself in her interactions with her father. Harry passed away in the fall of 2020, Virginia believes their time together was the greatest gift to give. Virginia has experience working in the medical field, and is excited to be working with BSN to better help families who struggle with neurodegenerative disorders.
Alexa Knight – Former Caregiver, Support Group Meeting Facilitator
Cared for her mother, diagnosed with LBD, for 7 years until her death in 2011. Alexa has a strong medically related background and was very involved both in her day-to-day care and in medical decisions with her mother’s doctor, including medication regimens. Alexa’s mother donated her brain to Mayo Clinic and she was found to have almost pure LBD.
Bari Corne – Former Caregiver, Support Group Meeting Facilitator
Joined the Lewy Body Dementia caregiver support group in 2011, after her late mother was diagnosed with LBD. She is an occasional facilitator of the LBD discussions at BSN support group meetings. Bari has special expertise in supporting those giving care from a distance and holds degrees in public health (MPH) and social work (MSW).
Dianne Weitzel – Former Caregiver, Support Group Meeting Facilitator, Event Speaker
Joined BSN’s Lewy Body Dementia caregiver support group in 2010, after her husband Gary was diagnosed with LBD. Gary passed away in 2011; the diagnosis of LBD was confirmed via brain donation, which Brain Support Network helped arranged. Dianne is the primary facilitator of the discussion at BSN’s LBD caregiver-only group meetings. She has spoken about caregiving for LBD at caregiver symposia co-organized by BSN.
Helen Medsger – Caregiver, Former Board Member, Event Speaker
Was the primary caregiver for her sister, Maureen. Helen joined BSN in 2008, after Maureen’s initial diagnosis of multiple system atrophy (MSA). The diagnosis later changed to Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) which was later confirmed via brain autopsy. Their late father and youngest brother, Andrew and Christopher, also had LBD. Helen is a former BSN board member, speaks about caregiving at various conferences, has been an LBD consultant to UCSF, serves as a member of the Family Advisory Council at UCSF’s Memory & Aging Center, and runs an LBD support group in Santa Rosa, CA.
Joined BSN in 2005 and was a meeting facilitator for MSA. Lily cared for her mother, Kathy, who was diagnosed with MSA in 1997, until she died in May 2007 at the age of 65. Lily has continued to volunteer as support group MSA discussion facilitator, blogger on BSN’s Facebook page, and volunteer at BSN events. Lily is a director of the Kathy Shih Memorial Foundation and CureMSA, which support MSA research.
Sharon Reichardt Walker – Former Board Secretary, Former Caregiver
Joined the San Francisco Bay Area PSP Support Group in 2004, following the diagnosis of her late husband, Dennis, in 2002. Sharon has been an active participant in the caregiver support group meetings, managing the discussion among PSP caregivers. Sharon joined the BSN board in 2012 as a founding member, and served through August 2016.
Supports BSN’s Information Technology infrastructure, choosing and maintaining the web host provider, and servicing infrastructure for the web site and other on-line infrastructure.
Supports BSN’s Information Technology infrastructure, procuring equipment and managing software licenses. Bill also develops applications for financial reporting.