CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Building on the momentum created by its December 1 ground-breaking for Levine Cancer Institute II, Carolinas HealthCare System announced today a $2 million commitment from the Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation in support of academic and research efforts at Levine Cancer Institute. The funds will be designated to establish an endowed chair in their name: The Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders.
"The Vickar family's dedication to advancing the efforts of our clinical and translational research teams is truly remarkable," said Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD, President of Levine Cancer Institute. "Their support will make seminal contributions to the welfare of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and related blood disorders."
Dr. Raghavan emphasized the importance of endowed chairs in leveraging Levine Cancer Institute's ability to attract and retain the brightest minds in medical research. "With private philanthropic support, these researchers are given the academic and scientific freedom to pursue ideas that can move medical science forward and lead to novel therapies."
Forward momentum is one of the cornerstones of the Vickar family's philanthropy. "We are focused on maximizing impact," said Kerry Vickar, "and Levine Cancer Institute's network has a vast reach. The research led by the endowed chair can truly transform lives throughout the Carolinas – a region where our family is committed to giving back."
A native of Canada, Kerry Vickar moved to Charlotte in 1991 as an executive with a packaging business. Seven years later, he founded CorrFlex Graphics, which expanded through acquisitions and was ultimately sold to Sonoco Products Company. Today, Kerry is the Chairman and CEO of May Heavy Equipment, a full service heavy equipment dealer located in the Carolinas. Kerry is the co-founder of VSTH Group, LLC, an investment banking and private equity firm operating in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the founder of the family office, The Vickar Group, headquartered in downtown Charlotte at Trade and Tryon. He also has investments in a number of other Carolina based privately held businesses.
The Vickars have carried on their parents' early lessons, instilling the importance of giving back. Success in business has helped their philanthropy to grow. Their generous gifts have supported art programs in Aspen, West Palm Beach and Los Angeles; created a community center in Kerry Vickar's hometown of Melfort, Saskatchewan; and provided significant funds to advance medical research through various organizations, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, along with the most recent gift to Levine Cancer Institute.
"We are proud to support an organization that is devoted to providing the finest care to patients from all walks of life," said Simone Vickar.
Leading the research and treatment team as the first Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Endowed Chair is Edward Copelan, MD, FACP who joined Levine Cancer Institute in 2012 from his prior role as head of the bone marrow transplant unit at the Cleveland Clinic. Under his direction, a new, state-of-the-art blood and marrow transplant unit opened in 2014 at Carolinas Medical Center. It is already implementing novel therapies and achieving some of the most successful patient outcomes in the country.
"I am deeply grateful for Kerry and Simone Vickar's generosity and dedication to improving the lives of cancer patients in our region," said Dr. Copelan. "Their commitment will prove instrumental in advancing our translational research efforts; improving the effectiveness of blood and marrow transplantation; and launching clinical trials designed to enhance treatment and diagnosis of blood cancers."
As the need for comprehensive cancer care in the region continues to grow, philanthropic support of the Levine Cancer Institute network by donors such as the Vickars will help ensure that patients have access to the best care available, regardless of where they live.
About Carolinas HealthCare System
Carolinas HealthCare System (carolinashealthcare.org), one of the nation's leading and most innovative healthcare organizations, provides a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness programs throughout North and South Carolina. Its diverse network of care locations includes academic medical centers, hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, physician practices, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes and behavioral health centers, as well as hospice and palliative care services. Carolinas HealthCare System works to enhance the overall health and wellbeing of its communities through high quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative partnerships and initiatives.
SOURCE Carolinas HealthCare System