GILFORD — The Arthritis Foundation bestowed to Dr. Jonathan Lee the Major Gift Leadership Award at its annual meeting on November 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. The award is among the Arthritis Foundation's prestigious volunteer awards that honor those who have made major contributions to the Foundation's mission and values.
Dr. Lee, an Orthopaedic Specialist with Advanced Orthopaedic Specialists (AOS), a department of LRGHealthcare, secured a $1 million gift for the Arthritis Foundation to fund a grant that could revolutionize future treatment for osteoarthritis and ignite a new era in drug discovery.
The $1 million donation was given by Drs. Henry and Marsha Laufer, long-time friends of Dr. Lee who also have backgrounds in science and technology. The Laufers each have osteoarthritis (OA), and were familiar with Dr. Lee's previous research using MRI to study worsening arthritis in guinea pigs.
"It was a perfect confluence of things coming together," says Dr. Lee. "Henry and Marsha wanted to learn more about the Foundation's goals and priorities. We had this very compelling ACL initiative that dovetailed so well with my previous research and needed funding, so it was easy for me to call them and share my excitement about it."
Dr. Lee asserts that the space between the Foundation's goals and the contributions needed to achieve them shortens when there is an understanding of the potential for achievement. "We need more people who are equally willing to understand our goals, to appreciate what it will cost to achieve them, and to provide the support that will enable the subsequent, necessary steps to take place," emphasized Dr. Lee.
The study will use MRI technology to look at ACL tears in the knee, a major risk factor for developing OA, and potentially discover tools and treatments to detect and reverse OA before symptoms ever appear. This could alter the course of the disease, preventing thousands of cases of post-traumatic arthritis that are diagnosed each year.
The Arthritis Foundation is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of this serious and painful disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest.