ALS Association Mourns the Loss of National Board Member and ALS Advocate Cynthia Douthat

October 17, 2014

ALS advocate, caregiver and national ALS Association Board Member Cynthia Denton Douthat passed away on October 11, 2014, surrounded by family and friends. Douthat served on both the National Board of Trustees as well as on the boards for the Mid-America Chapter in Kansas and the Georgia Chapter.

In 1984, Douthat’s father, Jack Denton, was diagnosed with ALS, and she moved home to help care for him.  After her father’s death, she immersed herself in volunteer activities at the local chapter.  A few years later, she became reacquainted and eventually married a high school friend, Marsh Douthat.  As unthinkable as it may sound, her husband Marsh was also diagnosed with ALS in 2005, 20 years later to the day after her father had died.

“Serving people with ALS was her passion,” said Kimberly Maginnis, Chief Care Services Officer at The Association’s National Office. Douthat served as Chair of The Association’s Care Services Committee.

“Cynthia fully understood the impact the disease has on family, friends and caregivers,” Maginnis continued. “She worked tirelessly on behalf of those living with ALS.”

Douthat joined the National Board of Trustees in 2009. Prior to that time, she helped to grow the Mid-America Chapter, formerly the Keith Worthington Chapter, where she not only served on the chapter’s board but also facilitated respite care for families living with the disease, started support group meetings, and launched the chapter’s first Walk to Defeat ALS®.

“Cynthia worked with the highest degree of respect and reverence for all others who had lost loved ones to ALS, said Beckie Cooper, former Keith Worthington Chapter Executive.  “She leaves us all a legacy for the continued fight.”

Through her involvement with the Georgia Chapter, Douthat raised more than $100,000 for the Atlanta Walk in 2006-2007 with the Walk team “tEaM Douthat,” named after Marsh, whose initials were “E.M.” Marsh lived with ALS for two years, until he passed away from the disease in October 2007. She also helped to enhance patient services available through that chapter.  In honor of Marsh, Douthat created the EMD/ALS Biomarker Research Fund for which she personally raised more than $1 million.

"Cynthia spent her adult life working on behalf of those living with ALS.  It was her passion, and her contribution to bio-marker research will extend well beyond her death,” said Jane Gilbert, former ALS Association President and CEO.  She was truly a remarkable woman."

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to either The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter (formerly the Keith Worthington Chapter) at 6950 Squibb Road, Ste. 210, Mission, Kansas 66202 or The ALS Association, Georgia Chapter at 1955 Cliff Valley Way, Ste. 116, Atlanta, Georgia 30329. Online condolences may be made at hmpattersonspringhill.com.

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