Zak Williams, son of late actor Robin Williams, to speak in Tyler

Butterfly Hope Luncheon
Speaking at the Butterfly Hope Luncheon in Tyler, TX, on September 28th, 2023.
Speaking at the Butterfly Hope Luncheon in Tyler, TX, on September 28th, 2023.(Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County)
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 4:46 PM EDT
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In 2014, the world mourned the loss of beloved actor, Robin Williams. The effects of this loss were felt all throughout the country by many who had found solace, laughter, and inspiration from his work. Among those deeply impacted was Robin’s son Zak Williams, who has since made mental health advocacy his life’s mission.

“I never set out to be an advocate, but it just so happened I found that service was very healing for my trauma,” he told Forbes magazine last year. “Through my healing journey, I discovered that learning about the systems and interventions relating to mental health support became part of a deeper mission around finding ways to better be of service to causes relating to mental health.”

This year, Zak will be the speaker for the Butterfly Hope Luncheon, benefitting the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County. The event will be held September 28th from 11:30 AM to 1 PM at the Green Acres Crosswalk Center in Tyler. Tickets are $125 per person and those proceeds help support the Alzheimer’s Alliance programs such as counseling, support groups, case management, education and more for people living with dementia and their caregivers in Smith County.

“Our mission is to provide ‘life-changing support’ to people living with dementia and their families, and many clients have told us that they feel we have done that for them,” said Rebecca Smith, marketing and education coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Alliance.

The Alliance, a local, independent nonprofit, serves people living with any kind of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s, and their caregivers. Robin Williams was diagnosed postmortem with Lewy Body Dementia.

Adults over age 65 who diagnosed with any kind of dementia are more than twice as likely to die from suicide compared to older adults who do not suffer from dementia, according to a 2021 Yale study. And cases of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses are expected to more than double by 2050, according to the national Alzheimer’s Association.

“The way in which I celebrate my dad’s legacy is trying to be a good dad, trying to be kind and considerate when and where possible and figuring out opportunities to best be of service,” Williams said in the Forbes interview.

To purchase tickets to the luncheon, you can visit the Alzheimer’s Alliance’s website here. For more information or to sponsor the Butterfly Hope Luncheon event, contact Bonnie Varner at 903-509-8323 or email

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