Since its inaugural event in 2002, the Mah Jongg for Memory luncheon and games day benefiting the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County has raised more than $200,000 to benefit families facing Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. The programs and services provided by the Alliance include a tracking program for wanderers, respite care, support groups, and educational classes. One-hundred percent of funds donated to the Alliance are used to provide services in Smith County.
Diana Taylor Smith is a member of the Alzheimer’s Auxiliary for People, a volunteer group responsible for planning Mah Jongg for Memory. This year’s event is planned for Thursday, July 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler. Attended by 450 women each year, ladies from Tyler and surrounding communities gather to play Mah Jongg, a game of Chinese origin which requires great cognitive ability and memory. Research indicates that regular, cognitive stimulation, exercise, a healthy diet, and social interaction can create new connections in the brain, delaying the onset of certain dementia-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Playing Mah Jongg on a regular basis with friends is a great way to exercise the brain. There will also be a silent auction and guests will enjoy food and fellowship. Ms. Smith has been a vital part of the group by assisting in the planning of the silent auction, assisting with the event invitations, and helping on the day of the event.
“The Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County is a charity close to my heart,” Ms. Smith said. “The Alliance is instrumental is providing much-needed resources, education, and encouragement to individuals experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia, their families, and the professionals who care for them.”
Outside of her service to the Alliance, Ms. Smith is an active volunteer at her children’s school and an involved member of Christ Episcopal Church.
Born and reared in Tyler, Ms. Smith has lived away from the area for several years but moved back to the community a year ago. She is the mother of Taylor, 16, and Marshall, 14. Ms. Smith is a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School. She earned her bachelor of science degree in education from The University of Texas at Austin, and her master of arts degree in reading from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. Ms. Smith is employed as a sales representative with Tyler Today Magazine.
“Volunteering is a selfless act that benefits many people. I believe one should do it without hesitation, Ms. Smith said. “I enjoy being able to give back to the wonderful community where I was raised and now where I am raising my own children.”
For more information, please contact the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County at 903-509-8323, or visit www.alzalliance.org.