American Brain Foundation

Walter F. Mondale Named Honorary Chairman of American Brain Foundation

Joining the Mission to Raise Funds for Brain Disease Research

Minneapolis — The American Brain Foundation announced today that former United States Vice President Walter F. Mondale has been named honorary chairman of its board of trustees.

Mondale is joining the foundation in its mission to raise funds for brain disease research because he and his family have experienced tragic losses due to brain diseases: His wife, Joan, passed away in 2014 from Lewy body dementia, and his 51-year-old daughter, Eleanor, succumbed to brain cancer in 2011. The mission of the American Brain Foundation is to fund crucial research to discover causes, improved treatments, and cures for all brain disease, affecting all ages and stages of life.

Long before he was affected by the personal challenges of being a caregiver to his wife and daughter, Mondale served on key health committees during his years in the Senate and worked hard to provide funding for health research. "We hoped that research would move us forward in the neurological areas. And a lot of progress has been made, but those monsters are still out there, and we haven't been able to defeat many of them, or even slow them down," said Mondale. "What can we do about that? Someone told me that if we could find a breakthrough on Alzheimer's, we could save a trillion or two dollars a year. It would be big, big savings for our health care system. If we can find the answers, they will pay for themselves. I'm going to try to help in this new role with the American Brain Foundation."

Along with serving as Vice President from 1977 to 1981, Mondale was a Senator from Minnesota before he was selected as Jimmy Carter's running mate in 1976. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan during the Clinton administration. He has served for several years on the Mayo Clinic Foundation Board and the UnitedHealth Care Board.

"We are honored to have a person of Mr. Mondale's stature and integrity in this role as the head of our efforts to raise support for treatments and cures for neurological disorders, including those that took his beloved Joan and Eleanor away from his family. I'm sure they would be extremely proud and supportive of his commitment to our shared vision of a world free of brain disease," said Catherine M. Rydell, CAE, executive director of the American Brain Foundation and CEO of the American Academy of Neurology, which launched the foundation in 1992.

The American Brain Foundation is committed to funding crucial research to discover causes, improved treatments, and cures for brain and other nervous system diseases. Learn more at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.


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