Carolinas HealthCare System announced today a charitable commitment from the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation establishing a $2 million endowed chair in support of academic and research efforts at Levine Children's Hospital. The funds will be designated to create the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer and Blood Disorders.
"Gifts like these are remarkable and help our pediatric cancer program thrive as one of the best in the country," said Gene Woods, President and CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System. "Every child deserves to live a carefree life, and our world-class pediatric oncology and hematology research is essential to making this a reality for more and more of our patients."
Woods emphasized the importance of endowed chairs in Carolinas HealthCare System's ability to attract and retain the brightest minds in patient care and medical research.
"When it comes to our mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing for all, we realize that we can't do this work alone," said Woods. "Thanks to the support of Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation and many in our community, our researchers have the academic and scientific freedom to move forward, pursue new treatment options and discover the next generation of medical science."
Moving forward is second nature for philanthropist and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, whose competitive spirit not only helped him emerge as a leader in the racing world, but in the race to find a cure for cancer.
"Cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease in children in the United States, and better cures for children with cancer will only come through research," said Gordon, chairman of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. "I've never faced anything on the racetrack as tough as childhood cancer. I won't stop until we beat it."
Javier Oesterheld, MD, who is the Specialty Medical Director at the Levine Children's Hospital Torrence E. Hemby, Jr. Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant Center, has been named the first Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Endowed Chair.
Under Oesterheld's direction, the Center accepted 140 new cancer patients in 2016 and received over 14,900 outpatient visits - making it one of the busiest and most respected hematology, oncology and blood and marrow transplant (BMT) programs in the Southeast.
Spearheaded by its Developmental Therapeutics Program, the center offers novel therapies using investigational drugs or new combinations of approved drugs through Phase I and II studies for children and adolescents with recurrent and refractory cancers who currently have no curative treatments available.
"I am deeply grateful for the support of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation and their commitment to research - but even more so for their passion to improve the lives of pediatric cancer patients in our region," Oesterheld said. "This gift will prove instrumental in supporting our new pediatric cancer translational research laboratory which will open in 2018 at Levine Cancer Institute, and launching clinical trials designed to enhance treatment and diagnosis of cancer and blood disorders."
As the need for comprehensive cancer care in the region continues to grow, philanthropic support from donors and organizations such as the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation will help ensure that patients have access to world class care, regardless of where they live.
To help support kids battling cancer and the efforts of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, you can learn more and donate at www.jeffgordonchildrensfoundation.org.
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