It’s one thing to say you want to build a nationally recognized medical research center. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Charlotte in the area of muscular dystrophy because of the generosity of two families.
The McColls and the Lockwoods were changed forever when doctors told them a family member was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. While they were assured of access to high quality care, they also recognized the need for a better understanding of the disease and the need for new and improved therapies – for both their family members and others.
In 2003, they approached Carolinas HealthCare System and partnered to develop the best research program possible seeking a cure for muscular dystrophy. The Hugh McColl Jr. family donated $5 million to create the $10 million Carolinas Muscular Dystrophy Research Endowment at Carolinas HealthCare Foundation. (Jane McColl Lockwood is the daughter of Hugh McColl Jr., former Bank of America chairman and CEO.) The disease is diagnosed in as many as 250,000 people in the United States each year.
The McColl and Lockwood gifts – and those of hundreds of community members – show how philanthropy can turn visions into reality.
Because of the support, Carolinas HealthCare was able to recruit Dr. Qi Long Lu from the University of London, England, and provide him with state-of-the-art laboratories. Over the next few years, he assembled an international research team.
Today, one of CMC’s most distinguished research groups is housed in the McColl-Lockwood Laboratory for Muscular Dystrophy Research. Under Dr. Lu’s direction, a group of eight Ph.D. researchers and their support teams are investigating the most common form of muscular dystrophy, Duchenne, and a much rarer form, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.
The lab and its team of internationally diverse scientists will change the landscape of medical research in Charlotte, making medical advances which may ultimately have worldwide implications.
“Our family is proud to support the Center, which is recognized nationally for its leading ALS and muscular dystrophy programs,” McColl says. “We take a keen interest in the progress of their research and the impact this may have for patients and families battling neuromuscular diseases.”
About the Carolinas Muscular Dystrophy Research Endowment
This fund is dedicated to supporting research on select types of muscular dystrophy, particularly limb-girdle, then taking that research and applying it to a clinical setting.