Vickar Foundation Donates $2M for Oncology and Blood Disorders Research

Inês Martins, PhD avatar

by Inês Martins, PhD |

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The Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation has committed $2 million to establish an endowed chair in their name at the Levine Cancer Institute, to support academic and clinical research in hematologic oncology and blood disorders, like myeloma.

Chaired positions are usually endowed, meaning that funding for the position is donated, usually by the person or people the chair is named after. The endowed chair is formally named “The Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders.”

The first endowed chair will be Edward Copelan, MD, who was head of the bone marrow transplant unit at the Cleveland Clinic before joining the Levine Cancer Institute in 2012.

Under his direction, a new blood and marrow transplant unit opened in 2014 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. At Levine, Copelan already is implementing new therapies and achieving some of the most successful outcomes in the nation, according to a press release.

“I am deeply grateful for Kerry and Simone Vickar’s generosity and dedication to improving the lives of cancer patients in our region,” Copelan said . “Their commitment will prove instrumental in advancing our translational research efforts; improving the effectiveness of blood and marrow transplantation; and launching clinical trials designed to enhance treatment and diagnosis of blood cancers,” he said.

Kerry Vickar, founder of his namesake foundation, was born in Canada and moved to Charlotte in 1991, as an executive with a packaging business. Today, Kerry is the chairman and chief executive officer of May Heavy Equipment, a heavy equipment dealer in the Carolinas.

“The Vickar family’s dedication to advancing the efforts of our clinical and translational research teams is truly remarkable,” said Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD, president of Levine Cancer Institute. “Their support will make seminal contributions to the welfare of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and related blood disorders.”

“With private philanthropic support, these researchers are given the academic and scientific freedom to pursue ideas that can move medical science forward and lead to novel therapies,” added Raghavan, emphasizing the importance of this initiative in attracting bright minds in medical research.

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