West Virginia University Children's Hospital and the WVU Department of Pediatrics will be able to fight pediatric diabetes thanks to the $1 million donation of Coalton resident and local businessman Mike Ross.
Ross said he decided to make the contribution because he recognizes the large problem of childhood diabetes, and has had positive experiences with the WVU Children's Hospital over the years.
He's hoping other individuals and businesses join the cause, too. Although Ross isn't asking that others match his donation, he does hope those who can afford to share even $10 or $100, will consider supporting the program. Doing so, Ross added, will help ensure children all across the state receive the care they need, but their families may not be able to afford.
Photo courtesy of WVU
Joann and Mike Ross accept a piece of artwork designed by a patient at West Virginia University Children’s Hospital from Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences at WVU.
"Diabetes has touched nearly every family in West Virginia, including my own family," Ross said. "With this gift, I challenge all West Virginians to join me in the fight against this disease."
The $1 million donation will create two separate funds in the name of the Mike Ross Family. One will provide support for the treatment and education of children with diabetes and their families; and the second, the Mike Ross Family Diabetes Research Fund, will provide money for children's diabetes research. The $400,000 set aside for research is expected to qualify for a match from the state's Research Trust Fund.
"One of the goals of the university's new strategic plan is to enhance the well-being and the quality of life for the people of West Virginia," WVU President Dr. Jim Clements said. "This gift from Mr. Ross and the potential match from the Research Trust Fund are important steps on the path to achieving that goal."
Data shows that West Virginia is in the top four or five states in nation for diabetes, and Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at WVU Children's Hospital, says Ross' gift is "critical" to reversing that trend.
"Mr. Ross' gift is earmarked to meet exactly this strategic need because it will support specialized personnel promoting continuity of care for diabetic children through provider education, development of programs, evaluation of outcomes and direct interaction with patients, families and groups," Piedimonte said.
For more information about making a donation to the WVU Children's Hospital for childhood diabetes research, visit www.wvuf.org or call 304-284-4000 or 1-800-847-3856.