Report to our community 2019-20

Mark, Crystal and Makena Barrington-White

A story of love, strength and hope

Meet the Barrington-White family

Mark and Crystal have been happily married for over 30 years. They met through mutual friends and hit it off immediately. And the rest, as they say, is history. They enjoyed a wonderful, full life together: they have a beautiful daughter, Makena, and each had remarkable careers, living life to the fullest. Towards the end of Crystal’s career, her loved ones began noticing changes in her cognitive capabilities. In her executive sales role, she had always been required to learn new technologies. Suddenly, she was no longer able to absorb all the new knowledge, often staying up late into the night in an attempt to take in new information. It became increasingly difficult for Crystal to complete tasks that she previously accomplished easily and she decided to retire. Everyday tasks were also proving to be more and more challenging.

In March 2018, Crystal suffered two minor strokes with devastating cognitive implications. In the spring of 2018, Crystal came to Bruyère as an outpatient for occupational and speech therapy. She worked with the team at Bruyère over the ensuing two months. The emotional support and the expertise of the caring teams provided comfort to the Barrington-White family as they navigated this new and challenging situation.

Crystal and her dog by a bed of tulips Crystal was referred by her general practitioner to the Bruyère Memory Program and was monitored for 18 months before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Although there is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s, both Mark and Crystal firmly believe the research being conducted today at the Bruyère Research Institute will lead to its discovery.

The Bruyère Memory Program is still a part of the Barrington-White family’s lives. They are working together to maintain Crystal’s quality of life, investigating clinical trials and working to help slow the progress of the disease.

Thanks to this support, Crystal is able to continue living at home with her husband, Mark and their daughter, Makena. She still enjoys many outdoor activities at home and at their cottage. Her two beautiful dogs Nelly and Fergie provide a constant comfort to her and help get her out to enjoy the fresh air every day.

Mark has been a board member of the Bruyère Foundation since 2017—never imagining the important role Bruyère would play in his family’s life. Everything he, Crystal and Makena have been through with Bruyère has reinforced what Mark believed to be true when he joined Board: the work that Bruyère does in our community is absolutely vital.





 The Bruyère Memory program is the only dedicated service of its kind in the region, providing diagnosis and treatments for patients with memory challenges.


Over 500,000 Canadians are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In less than 20 years, the number of Canadians living with dementia will almost triple to reach 1.4 million, putting an enormous strain on the health care system.