Mandels’ gifts help eye disease research
Age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in Americans age 55 and over, is a problem that Dr. Alan Mandel knows well as both a retired optometrist and a person who has the disease. That’s why he and his wife, Rae, are hoping to make a difference through supporting research at Cleveland Clinic's Cole Eye Institute.
The Mandels, of Canton, Ohio, have chosen to make their contributions through gift annuities. In December, they each established an additional gift annuity to be used expressly for research into age-related macular degeneration.
About 15 million Americans have macular degeneration, a number that is expected to increase dramatically as baby boomers age. The disease causes cells to die in the macula, the part of the eye that permits it to see fine detail, destroying central vision needed for tasks such as reading or driving. There is no known cure, but Cole Eye Institute researchers are in the forefront of investigations into its causes, which eventually could lead to new treatments or a cure.
The Mandels say their support is a way of showing gratitude for the high-quality healthcare they have received at Cleveland Clinic. They also have a history of philanthropy. Mrs. Mandel, who was a schoolteacher, established a college scholarship for her former kindergarten students, and the couple has funded annuities to support educational institutions.
“When my husband started at Ohio State in 1938, before World War II, he had only one suit that he wore both summer and winter,” Mrs. Mandel says. “Sometimes, all he had for lunch was milk and crackers. I went to school at Kent State on an academic scholarship. We both felt that we know what it is like not to be able to afford to do things, and that if we could help somebody else, we would do it. Giving, not acquiring possessions, is a priority for us.”
Supporting medical research at Cleveland Clinic allows them to watch their gifts at work, the couple says.
“We want to see the results of what we’re giving while we’re alive,” Dr. Mandel says.
This story originally appeared in the spring 2009 issue of Pyramid.
To make a gift supporting the Cole Eye Institute or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit iSupport, our secure online giving site, or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2273, ext. 41245.