Member since 2014
Clay and Debbie Jones
Mother to Debbie Jones, Tish Smith was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's disease at the age of 62. During her illness, she participated in a clinical trial that introduced her family to Alzheimer's research and inspired their determination to help move dementia science forward. "I promised my mom I would never forget what this disease did to her and our family," Debbie says. "I vowed to do everything I could to make a difference."
Debbie has been involved as a donor and volunteer with the Alzheimer's Association for more than 20 years, serving as a board member with the East Central Iowa Chapter, the national Board of Directors, and the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM). In 2014, she and her husband, Clay, pledged a Zenith Society-level gift to the Association, designating their support for early-career scientists and AIM.
In 2016, the couple became co-chairs of the Association's Zenith Society, motivated by progress in Alzheimer's research and the belief they can make a profound difference in their lifetime. "The federal government is increasing its funding of Alzheimer's research, but government can't do it alone. We all have to play a part," Clay says.
"Someday, we want our grandchildren to ask us, ‘What was Alzheimer's?'," Debbie says. "We lost my mother before her grandchildren got to know her. Nothing would make us more proud than for ours to know we played an important role in ending this devastating disease."