Douglas and Sandra Bergeron today announced they have gifted $1.25 million to the Georgetown University Medical Center (GMUC) to support cutting-edge biomedical research in the neurosciences and celebrate George Bergeron, who lived with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years.
The gift in George Bergeron's memory by his son, Doug, and daughter-in-law, Sandra, will launch the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery and fund the George Bergeron Endowed Professorship to support an exceptional scientist in the battle against neurological diseases and disorders.
As the former chair of the Windsor-Essex Multiple Sclerosis Society in Windsor, Ontario, George Bergeron was a force in terms of fundraising, bringing focus to the illness, and mentoring newly diagnosed MS patients. He was often "the 'go-to guy' for newly diagnosed patients and was able to help new patients remodel their daily lives in the healthiest ways possible," said Doug Bergeron. "Fundamentally, MS is a neurological disease and we're committed to doing what we can to not only further all types of research around it but also to make life incrementally better for those afflicted with it."
"This gift creates the foundation to develop a center where neurological discoveries can be made and shape the manner in which medicine is taught and clinical care is delivered," said Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health sciences at GUMC and executive dean of its School of Medicine. "As a result of the nation's aging population, we expect several neurological disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to grow and lead to burgeoning health problems, surpassing heart disease and cancer in the very near future."
Doug Bergeron has been CEO of Verifone Systems, Inc. (NYSE:PAY) for the past 10 years. He and Sandra have five children and reside in Atherton, California.
Previously, the Bergerons committed $2 million to support the efforts of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Over the last decade, proceeds have targeted leading edge MS research at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis, and have underwritten a number of local initiatives at the MS Society, Windsor-Essex Chapter. "As chair of the MS Society's Windsor-Essex Chapter, George exemplified leadership and happiness despite the challenges MS can bring," said Yves Savoie, President and Chief Executive Officer of the MS Society of Canada. "We are pleased that this gift has been established in his honor."
Georgetown University's Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery will bring together researchers across disciplines to study recovery in adults through the application of new methods, knowledge, and practices in many fields. This unique interdisciplinary approach will harness Georgetown's strengths in the sciences and humanities, including linguistics, foreign languages, psychology and philosophy, combining our research and clinical efforts to combat neurological diseases and disorders.