Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Foundation is able to help make focused ultrasound a reality for patients. Read stories from some of those people who have been touched by focused ultrasound and understand its true potential.
Tom Gentile is president and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems. During an earlier tenure at GE Healthcare, he learned of focused ultrasound’s potential to change healthcare and now shares his passion for the technology.
Inspired by a presentation at TEDx Charlottesville in 2015, one Foundation donor chooses to support our mission without recognition.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin and serving in the United States Army, Bob Hirsch joined his Chicago-based family business, Gold Eagle Co. The company manufactures products that protect and preserve vehicles, boats, and outdoor power equipment. Hirsch served as Gold Eagle’s chairman until early 2019. Bob shares why he is interested in the potential of focused ultrasound to change medicine and help patients like his wife.
Mr. Albert Small, Sr., a third-generation Washingtonian, is a real-estate developer with a passion for collecting historical documents. He has donated his remarkable collections to the University of Virginia and George Washington University. At 93 years old, he is currently the president of Southern Engineering Corporation in Bethesda, Maryland. His granddaughter, Foundation Research Assistant, Isabella Small, recently spoke with her grandfather about why he is excited about focused ultrasound’s impact on medicine.
Dr. Jimmy Wright grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he attended The Westminster Schools. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina (UNC), where he was a Morehead Scholar. He then earned his PhD in Education from UNC while serving as Assistant Director for The John Motley Morehead Foundation. He has led the Jefferson Scholars Foundation for the past 35 years. He and his wife Elizabeth (Liz) Wood Wright celebrated their 45th anniversary in January. They have one living son and three grandchildren who live in Charlottesville.
Sherry Sharp founded the Rick Sharp Alzheimer’s Foundation in memory of her husband and to bring a greater awareness to the need for research funding. Sharp serves on the board of directors of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and as an advisor to Sweet Monday Ministry.
S. Morry Blumenfeld, PhD, is an authority on medical device development, specifically in the areas of imaging and minimally invasive procedures. He spent nearly 35 years holding various positions at General Electric (GE), where he was integral in developing the company’s computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) product lines. Dr. Blumenfeld is currently President and CEO of Quescon Consultants, a medical device consulting company, and a Partner in the MedTech Investments for OurCrowd.
Peter Gabriel is a musician. He founded the group Genesis with a bunch of friends from school. Since leaving the band in 1975, he has pursued a solo career releasing albums and film scores. He has founded WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance); Witness.org to pioneer the use of cameras and technology in human rights work; and theElders.org with Nelson Mandela and Richard Branson to bring together a respected group of world leaders whose influence stems from experience, integrity and wisdom. His other work interests have been in innovative technology, especially in digital media, audio, music, visual language and more recently healthcare.
Harry Lester's experience in medicine and medical research grew through his involvement with Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served on the Board of Visitors and then as interim president. After his wife's battle with cancer and Alzheimer's and his own diagnosis of stage-four cancer, Lester's interest in medical research took a personal turn. He was fortunate to have access to a ground-breaking immunotherapy drug that saved his life, and as a supporter of the Foundation, he believes that focused ultrasound and the work we're doing has the potential to save many others.
Carol Loomis has spent her career reporting on complex financial and business subjects for Fortune Magazine. In 2014, she retired as a senior editor-at-large after a 60-year career with the publication. After playing a role in the first mention of focused ultrasound in Fortune, she became a supporter of the technology’s potential. Learn how a personal memory and an interest in helping people led her to support the Foundation.
After careers in finance in New York and Connecticut, John and Dudley Macfarlane now reside in White Hall, Virginia, where John is managing member for an investment advisory firm and Dudley runs an equestrian breeding and training operation. The pair share why the technology’s potential, a personal hope, and the local connection have made them loyal supporters of the Foundation’s work.
Eddie Smith, owner, chairman and CEO of Grady-White Boats, first learned about focused ultrasound when his wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He has since become a supporter of the Foundation’s efforts in hopes of advancing focused ultrasound as a treatment option for his family, friends, and future generations.
Fredericka and Howard Stevenson serve on the Foundation’s Council and are passionate, enthusiastic advocates who help raise awareness of the technology. Fredericka is chair emeritus and cofounder of Summer Search Boston, and Howard has served in various leadership positions at Harvard University and Harvard Business School during the last 47 years. We recently interviewed the pair, who shared why they support the Foundation’s efforts and why focused ultrasound gives them hope.
Rick and Susan Goings are trailblazers in their careers. He serves as Chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands, and she is an acclaimed newscaster and on-air personality. The pair are also generous supporters of the Foundation, sharing in our passion to help advance healthcare innovation.
In 2014, Dr. Richard Merkin established a fellowship opportunity for international researchers that has brought scientists from around the world to work with the technical and scientific teams at the Foundation. We interviewed Dr. Merkin about his involvement with the Foundation and his passion for focused ultrasound technology.
Ellie Block, generous donor and Council Member, recently spoke with the Foundation about her interest in focused ultrasound, her involvement with the Foundation, and her commitment to pediatric initiatives.
If anyone can appreciate the entrepreneurial model of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, it would be Bill Crutchfield, founder of the Crutchfield Corporation. He has been friends with founder and chairman of the Foundation, Neal F. Kassell, MD for more than 30 years, and Crutchfield along with his wife, Scheline, are generous supporters of the Foundation. They also have introduced many other supporters to this pioneering technology.
Artist and writer Peter Skinner recently donated the proceeds from his painting exhibit at Les Yeux du Monde gallery in Charlottesville, Va., to the Foundation. His family – wife Jane-Ashley and their children Saana Miklová, Max Skinner, and Jay Everett – supported this decision. In Peter’s words, “This came from my heart. I thought this was a meaningful way to help.”
Foundation supporters Floyd and Bruce Gottwald each received the Outstanding Virginian Award in a ceremony at the University of Virginia on May 13. The two long-time business leaders share a rich history of philanthropic support. They also both generously and consistently support the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.
In 1984, Phil Wendel founded the Atlantic Coast Athletic Club, which offers comprehensive fitness and wellness programming and has more than 65,000 members in 12 locations. He was introduced to the Foundation’s mission nearly a decade ago by founder and chairman Neal Kassell, MD, and in March 2017, he helped raise awareness of focused ultrasound through a generous fundraising campaign.
At the behest of Gene and Terry Lockhart, the Foundation has established the Andrew J. Lockhart Fellowship for focused ultrasound research into solid tumors to honor their son Andrew who passed away in September 2016 after a hard-fought battle with cancer at the age of 39.
Advertising technology pioneer Michael Donovan, Vice Chairman of Mediaocean, is no stranger to revolutionary ideas. Donovan met Foundation Chairman Neal Kassell, MD, in Wyoming and was immediately captivated by the promise of medical innovation to change the world. He recently gave one million dollars to support the Foundation.
Jim Morley is an ex-Naval Air Intelligence Officer and founder and President of California Real Estate Management. After learning about FUS in a TEDMED talk named “Healing Without Cuts,” he was “enthralled” and soon became a donor to the Foundation. “The talk was my first experience to witness the revolution and possibilities of FUS,” said Jim. “I was blown away.”
Siblings Mark and Muffin both suffered with essential tremor. Muffin took medication with moderate success for some time, but Mark was not a candidate for medication and searched for other options. His quest led them to become the first siblings to be treated with focused ultrasound.
Although it’s unimaginable to have it occur twice in one family, Jack Cullather lost his son, Chris, and then his wife, Jean, to brain tumors. The clinical trial at Sunnybrook to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is made possible by his generous personal gift.
Robert & Molly Hardie
The Foundation is collaborating with the Melanoma Research Alliance, Cancer Research Institute, and UVA to fund a new preclinical research project using focused ultrasound to enhance immunotherapy for melanoma brain metastases. This partnership is made possible by contributions from visionary donors Robert and Molly Hardie.
In November 2010, the indomitable, 89-year-old Doris McArdle traveled from Chicago to London. There, she successfully underwent a focused ultrasound procedure to treat a pancreatic tumor. Recently, Doris celebrated her 95th birthday and is now a supporter of the Foundation.