The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Twenty years ago, Linda K. Finger began a quest to personally donate and help raise money for medical research, unaware that she soon would become the subject of that research.
Since then, she has been suffering from a neuroimmunologic disease that attacks her brain and nervous system, and she has been searching the country for the top research that might offer hope for the future for others like her. At the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM), she has found such hope.
The Linda and Ronny Finger Foundation made a $1 million commitment to establish The Linda and Ronny Finger Foundation Distinguished Chair in Neurodegenerative Diseases to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The endowed position, invested in the Long Term Fund, helped create the IMM's new Research Center for the Neurosciences, which will unravel the molecular mysteries of neurodegenerative diseases. "I feel fortunate to be in a position to give funds to support this important research for mankind," said Finger, President of The Linda and Ronny Finger Foundation. "My hope is that through the IMM's molecular research, doctors will ultimately be able to reverse the course of neurodegenerative and neuroimmunologic diseases and expedite the availability of new therapies."
According to James T. Willerson, M. D., president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the visionary behind the Brown Foundation IMM, the new research center will investigate and determine the molecular factors that influence brain development and cognitive function as well as the genetic and proteomic causes of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative disorders. "The Finger Foundation's gift will help us recruit a top neuroscientist to establish the center and lead our research to uncover the causes of these devastating diseases," Willerson said.
|Linda K. Finger |
Finger, a member of The UT Health Science Center at Houston's Development Board, also has committed her time to help recruit other donors in support of the IMM's neurodegenerative research. "I am so acutely aware of these diseases because of my husband's experience and my own disease," she said. Her husband, Ronny, died more than four years ago from ALS.
"Linda has a deep, personal belief in this university's vision of disease prevention, and we are absolutely blessed to have her leadership and passion behind the IMM," Willerson said.
Willerson was Ronny Finger's cardiologist and has been Linda Finger's for over four years. "There are not enough superlatives to describe this brilliant, gentle man. We are so blessed to have him here in our medical community. I would not be alive today if not for him. I would do anything to help him realize this vision of molecular medicine," Finger said.
"Twenty years of battling diseases has taught me that health is our most precious commodity. Anyone who's had a life-threatening illness can tell you their life is changed forever. My giving this is a way of thanking the medical community for their efforts and dedication to improving and saving lives. Without their commitment, care and continuing research, where would mankind be?" Finger said. "In some small way, I hope I can thank them for the sacrifices they make daily in all that they do."