Dinah Conyers Ruch: The power of investing in human health
Long-time supporter Dinah Conyers Ruch discusses the impact of giving to biomedical research—especially COVID-19 efforts—and the importance of investing in human health.
How were you introduced to Sanford Burnham Prebys?
My grandson John, whom we called “Rocket,” was born with a rare disease known as CDG, or Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation. Our doctors were able to quickly diagnose this disease thanks to CDG expert Hudson Freeze at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Dr. Freeze works closely with the families of children impacted by rare diseases like CDG and has now become a lifelong friend. Though we weren’t able to save Rocket, we have kept his legacy alive by supporting Dr. Freeze through a fund that continues to study this disease and fight for a cure.
What about the Institute’s mission compels you to keep giving?
Over ten years ago, our family’s experience with Rocket showed us the promise and power of science to understand and improve human health. Today, we continue to be inspired by the dedication and passion of the scientists who devote their careers to often neglected diseases like CDG, which impacts thousands of children worldwide. When I started to hear about COVID-19 earlier this year, another intractable disease, I initially felt powerless. Then I started to receive emails from the Institute about the efforts underway to study the virus, and I knew I wanted to do something immediately. Private philanthropy can be a powerful catalyst for change and progress especially when you have trusted partners like the scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys.
What inspired you to give to Dr. Sumit Chanda’s research?
Dr. Chanda’s efforts to understand and find treatments for COVID-19 are essential not just in the short-term but also well into the future. When I learned about the drug repositioning strategy, which involved screening more than 12,000 approved drugs, I understood that this research could save time, money and, most important of all, lives. Dr. Chanda shared his larger vision too, which includes expanded research capacity, multiple scientific leaders, and strategic partners from across the globe. This excited me. This is a vision that is responsive and forward-looking and it confirmed my interest in boosting the efforts through philanthropy.
Why should someone else give back to pandemic research?
Put simply, the need couldn’t be greater. The pandemic has changed American life so quickly. The devastating effects of COVID-19 go beyond our health and include rampant unemployment, economic uncertainty and broken social safety nets. Investing in therapies now can improve not just our human health but also our societal outlook. Scientists at the Institute have long led the path from research to power a cure. I have seen it firsthand. And I am more confident than ever that the COVID-19 research today will lead to greater health tomorrow. I hope others will join me in supporting this important work.
Join Dinah in supporting COVID-19 research at Sanford Burnham Prebys through our first-of-its-kind matching gift opportunity—which doubles all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000. For more information contact Rachael McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or make a gift online.