Pictured left to right: Brent McDonald, Christie McDonald, Steve Harvey, Lorie Brinson (Christie's sister), Tim Goodpaster (Christie's and Lorie's father), and Karmen Fink (Christie’s and Lorie's cousin).
A decade ago, Drs. Brent and Christie McDonald, now in their mid-30s, started a family dental practice in McCordsville, Ind. They had met at Indiana University in Bloomington in 1997 and share a passion for dentistry—and unfortunately, they also share a family history of Alzheimer’s disease.
Christie’s grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2010 and her aunt currently battles the disease. Brent’s grandmother also suffers from Alzheimer’s and he recently lost his grandfather to it. Then last November, Brent’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 65. The McDonalds knew they wanted to do something to help fight Alzheimer’s, but they weren’t exactly sure what.
When Christie saw an advertisement announcing that “Family Feud” was coming to Indianapolis for tryouts, she had found that something. She filled out the application and the McDonalds were invited to audition for the show. “Two weeks later we received a call asking our family to come to Atlanta, Georgia, to play on ‘Family Feud,’ ” says Brent. “We all agreed that if we were selected, we would donate our winnings to an Alzheimer's disease charity as a tribute to our family members who fought and are fighting the disease.”
The McDonalds began researching different charities, but one stood out to them. “One hundred percent of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund donations go towards research,” says Brent. “We also liked that the money goes solely to finding a cure instead of being divided among research, support and care—as critically important as that is, the sooner we can find a cure, the better!”
“Family Feud” host Steve Harvey and his team were very encouraging. “Steve told us that he hoped we would win a bunch of money for a good cause,” adds Brent. “ ‘Family Feud’ flew us out to Atlanta, put us up in a hotel next to the downtown Olympic Park, and gave us time to experience the city. We had an amazing time.” On Nov. 26 and 27, 2013, the show aired and the McDonalds won a remarkable $20,520—all of which they generously donated to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.