It’s A Whole New Ballgame for ALS Research
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is next up to bat for ALS
By Suzanne Alexander, LiveLikeLou Director
LiveLikeLou has announced its latest initiative, It’s a Whole New Ballgame for ALS Research. This campaign teams up with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, Tennessee, to establish new, pre-clinical, and innovative science for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and funding the region’s most significant investment in ALS discovery. Area Phi Delta Theta undergraduates and alumni are already supporting the campaign.
“We are determined to engage more leading research organizations in the fight against ALS,” said LiveLikeLou Foundation Chairman W.L. Gray, TCU ’70.
“More than 16,000 American families suffer from ALS every single day,” Gray added. “Bold investments like this, with world-class partners, will help find treatments and cures.”
Photo by Daniel Dubois, Vanderbilt University
LiveLikeLou chose VUMC for the next research initiative because of their existing ALS clinical research, imaging, genomics, drug discovery, and leading research funding track record from government entities such as the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) and the Department of Defense.
“Every grant we have made for ALS research has spurred new commitments from institutions and scientists,” said LiveLikeLou Vice Chairman Gaylon Morris, Southwestern ’87. Morris leads the LiveLikeLou Scientific Research Committee, comprising leading contributors from the University of Arizona, the University of Michigan, The Barrow Neurological Institute, and Knopp Biosciences.
“Since inception, LiveLikeLou has invested more than $3 million in ALS research, leading to three patents pending, new research collaborations, and even more grants from other funders,” Morris explained. “Although we are a relatively new foundation, we are really proud of the impact our investments are already having on the science.”
Dane Chetkovich, MD, PhD, Chair, VUMC Director of Neurology
“VUMC is honored by this partnership and the enthusiastic support we are developing for ALS research,” said Dane Chetkovich, MD, PhD, Chair, VUMC Director of Neurology.
“Community partners influence our research priorities when they want to invest in specific scientific questions,” he explained. “When private funds lead the way, public funds from larger institutions and government agencies like the NIH often follow.”
Phi Delts Join the Team
The phase one goal for It’s a Whole New Ballgame for ALS Research campaign is two-fold: to raise $3.5 million and to help recruit VUMC’s new Director of ALS Research. The director is charged with leading novel investigations, building a productive research laboratory, and supporting their premier ALS clinical practice.
The Campa Family
The Nashville family of Evan Campa, diagnosed with ALS at the age of thirty-seven, has joined the campaign as the local ALS advocate for research. Along with her husband, Eben, and their two small children, Evan is recruiting her local family and friends to support fundraising efforts.
W.L. Gray and Todd Nisbet
Eta South Province President and newly-elected Phi Delta Theta General Council Member-at-Large Todd Nisbet, USC ’87, has organized undergraduate brothers from Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech to support gatherings hosted by Evan’s family. They have already begun campus fundraisers.
“The province is rallying alumni and undergraduate members to make this campaign successful,” Nisbet said. “We are looking forward to the fall semester to help raise even more funds for research.”
Austin Smith, president of the Tennessee Tech chapter said, “Our motto ‘we enjoy life by the help and society of others’ guides our philanthropy goals, and supporting this project is a great fit for us.”
“ALS has been Phi Delta Theta’s primary cause for decades,” W.L. Gray said. “I am proud our brotherhood is still in the fight to find a cure and encouraged by alumni and undergraduate members that have already stepped up with support.”
The LiveLikeLou Foundation is recruiting community businesses, family foundations, and local leaders to support the campaign, and, at publication, has raised or pledged more than 60 percent of the funds needed.
Learn more about the It’s a Whole New Ballgame for ALS Research campaign.