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Giving to medicine and health at the University of Minnesota

June 2011 Archives

University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital

University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital now ranks among the nation’s top 50 children’s hospitals in eight medical specialties, according to U.S. News & World Report—an all-time high for our hospital. This also marks the fourth consecutive year that the hospital’s cancer program and the third consecutive year that its kidney care program have been ranked among the country’s best.

Ron Poole

When Ron Poole talks about the Institute for Prostate and Urologic Cancers, he can't help but showcase the skills that have made him a successful investment counselor. He's eager to pitch the University of Minnesota center and its mission. But just as he would pick a stock or business venture, he supported the center only after careful research.

Betsy Lucas (right), with husband Brian and daughters Molly and Julia.

Betsy Lucas felt tired. Of course she did—she and her husband, Brian, had 10-month-old Molly and 3-year-old Julia at home. One morning in May 2005, Lucas went to her doctor to have a seemingly harmless rash on her leg checked out. But when the test results came back, the expression on the doctor's face told Lucas it was something serious. Within four days, her diagnosis was confirmed: chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML. “Fear was the first reaction,” says Lucas, who was 34 years old at the time. “I had my whole life ahead of me.”

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Mike Dougherty's reason for supporting prostate cancer research and care at the University of Minnesota is simple. "It's not about me," says the prominent Minneapolis investment banker and two-time cancer survivor, who also has lost two brothers to prostate cancer. "It's about my grandsons."

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Every day in his University of Minnesota lab, researcher Joel McCauley, M.D., confronts a stubborn and challenging adversary -- lung cancer -- but he never labors in isolation. He works regularly with colleagues across the University to find more effective treatments.

In gratitude to his doctors, Matthew donated part of his bar mitzvah money to research at the University of Minnesota. [Photo: Alison Langer]

Of all the things a teenage boy might choose to do with his bar mitzvah money, giving a portion to medical research might seem low on the list. After all, there are Xboxes and iPods and skateboards to buy. But when Matthew, 13, gave his money to a research program led by John Wagner, M.D., at the University of Minnesota, he was sharing a heartfelt thanks.

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Nine-year-old Zachary "Zac" Bartz isn't your typical second-grader -- to many, he's an inspiration. Zachas a disorder called neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), which has caused tumors to grow in his brain and for which there is no known cure. Zachas endured multiple surgeries, countless rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 radiation treatments -- all conducted at clinics associated with the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

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Shirley Hagstrum was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was 40 years old. But she had symptoms of the disease, such as weakness and numbness in her legs, for many years before that, says her daughter Susan Hagstrum, Ph.D., who is married to University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks, Ph.D.

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What's your story? If you are a University Presidents Club member, a new display in the McNamara Alumni Center on the Twin Cities campus offers you the perfect chance to inspire others by sharing your giving story.

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Trim in appearance and outgoing by nature, James H. House, M.D. (Class of 1963), a renowned hand surgeon, revered teacher, and enthusiastic ambassador for the University of Minnesota Medical School, describes the 50 years he and his wife, Janelle, have spent together at the University as "a wonderful life."

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Under a new law, individuals are able to transfer up to $5 million (or $10 million per married couple) to their heirs free of gift or estate taxes through December 31, 2012.

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Patrick G. Hays, M.H.A., has had plenty of career success. Hays founded Sutter Health in Sacramento, California, in 1980. Hays also served from 1995 to 2000 as president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and in 2003, he received the American College of Healthcare Executives' Gold Medal Award. Though his own personal determination surely cannot be discounted, Hays is quick to credit his education at the University of Minnesota for those achievements.

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The first-ever Red Hot Soirée, held April 30 at the Depot in Minneapolis, raised approximately $400,000 for the Lillehei Heart Institute at the University of Minnesota.

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Michael Johnson would have been shocked to learn last summer that his heart would fail by fall. Then came September 6, 2010, when he suffered a massive heart attack. While recovering at Fairview Southdale Hospital and facing a future limited by significant heart failure, Johnson got another surprise: University of Minnesota researchers asked him to participate in an innovative cell therapy study that might improve his prognosis. He agreed, and 10 days after his heart attack, doctors injected 150 million of Johnson's own stem cells from his bone marrow into his heart.

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Sally and John Turrittin's son, Jeff, was born 29 years ago with a heart defect called aortic valve stenosis. So when Jeff was 12 or 13 years old and Sally Turrittin found a magazine article about researchers who were developing a way to grow a heart valve in the lab, it piqued her interest.

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Hospitalizations and costs associated with peripheral artery disease (PAD) increase substantially as the condition progresses, according to a study by University of Minnesota researchers.


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