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

After losing his beloved father, comedian and actor Robin Williams, to suicide in 2014, Zak Williams 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.”

Zak is this year’s speaker for the Butterfly Hope Luncheon, benefitting the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County. The event will be held Sept. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Green Acres Crosswalk Center in Tyler. Tickets go on sale Aug. 15. Tickets are $125 per person and proceeds help support the Alzheimer’s Alliance programs such as counseling, support groups, case management, education and more.

The Alliance serves people living with any kind of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s, and their caregivers. Robin Williams was diagnosed post mortem 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.

“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.

For more information or to sponsor the Butterfly Hope Luncheon event, contact Bonnie Varner at 903-509-8323 or email