Leukemia Research Benefits from A Brown Family Foundation Gift
In April 2010, trustee Jan Brown of the Warren Brown Family Foundation made an exciting and emotional announcement that the Foundation was donating more than $2 million to elevate the professorship they had created 10 years earlier into the D. Warren Brown Designated Chair in Leukemia Research.
Although Warren Brown started this foundation in 1996 as a way to channel his philanthropic spirit, the family did not become involved with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute until a year later.
“When my husband was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the spring of 1997, he was hospitalized and received treatment at The James,” Jan says. “The care he received there at every level – from the doctors, nurses, technicians and aides – was so extraordinary that we wanted to do something not only to show our gratitude to Ohio State and its medical facility but also to honor Warren.”
“At the time we made our decision to make a gift, the hospital was recruiting a young ‘rising star’ cancer researcher, Dr. John Byrd,” says Doug Brown, Warren’s son and a trustee of the foundation. “We felt establishing a professorship that Dr. Byrd would hold in my dad’s name would be a tribute to him and, more importantly, help fund the critical research that John and his staff would be conducting.”
“Our most important goal has always been to help John discover and use effective therapies for treating leukemia,” says Kathy Shepherd, Warren’s daughter and a trustee of the foundation.
The entire family agrees that in the 10 years Dr. Byrd has held the D. Warren Brown Designated Professorship in Leukemia Research, his contributions have been outstanding. He and his team have developed at least eight active drugs for treating AML and other leukemias. “He is a tirelessly dedicated physician and researcher, working seemingly nonstop among his patients and in his lab to study and develop drugs to knock out various forms of leukemia,” Jan states. “We felt that he was well-deserving of a chair and we very much wanted him to continue carrying the D. Warren Brown name.”
The family appreciates that the chair is a “living gift,” one that has given them an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Dr. Byrd as well as with his family and staff. They can see firsthand the progress he is making and celebrate his successes with him. “He eagerly shows us his lab and the research being done there, and he speaks with such enthusiasm and pride about the work each of his staff members is doing. It is a wonderful and extremely talented team,” Jan Brown notes. “Hearing the stories of John’s and his lab’s many successes assures us that our gift continues to be a very good investment in Warren’s memory.”
Dr. Byrd adds, “I was very emotional and became tearful at the announcement in part because of the special relationship that has developed between Mr. Brown’s family and me and the honor of being able to carry his name in my title for my entire career at Ohio State.”
This story was written by Latina Duffy.