The family of the late Jerry Zucker has donated $2 million to the Medical University of South Carolina for brain tumor research. Zucker was a Charleston philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to international medical missions in his lifetime- he died of a brain tumor last year.
“It’s a huge help. We usually run departments and institutions like this on earnings from clinical dollars, we have a decreasing state support as we move along. So, a gift like this takes our efforts up several notches. That amount of money will not solve all the problems, but it will certainly provide the platform we need to bring people in,” says Patel.
Patel says the money will be broken up in three main parts. Most of the donation will go toward the Jerry Zucker Endowed Chair, which will use the funds to bring in additional faculty that focus on brain tumor research. Another portion will go toward an existing spinal cord injury project that focuses on regenerating the spinal cord. Lastly, the money will allow MUSC to help in a physician training program in Tanzania, Africa that the Zuckers supported.
“There are now eight institutions in the country and three in England that are backing us up. We started the program in Tanzania where we go and teach basic neurosurgery skills to medical officers there. There are only 3 neurosurgeons in the country like Africa and now with our training program we placed three basic neurosurgeons in the outskirts of a country like that where they really need that,” says Patel.
Zucker would most likely be in full support of this donation. In his lifetime, he held over 350 patents and was named on Forbes 400 Richest Americans list– but much of his money went to greater causes.