Investing in the Future of Medical Innovation
If the names John and Anya Rudd sound familiar, it may be because you attended a fundraiser at the couple’s four-story century home in Cleveland Heights. The couple moved to Cleveland to purchase and restore the house and grounds when their careers afforded them the opportunity to live anywhere in the world. Supporters of many local nonprofits and causes, the Rudds estimate that they’ve donated the use of their stunning manor to some 50 charities.
Anya refers to Cleveland as her “favorite city in the world” and says she was thrilled to return to her hometown for the huge undertaking. “We love how accessible the arts and culture are here, we love the architecture … and the people of Cleveland,” Anya said. “My heart is here.” Anya is an interior decorator by profession and John is a managing partner at Accenture. For decades an entrepreneur, John sold the business he owned with his brother to the global management consulting company five years ago.
“We’ve always been really good at celebrating life and living, and we had joy in mind when we almost had the rug pulled out from under us,” John confided. What happened next made the couple “double down on our appreciation for how precious life is … and relationships.”
For several months last year, John attributed unabating pain in his back and rib cage to weightlifting and the general aches typical in someone nearing 60 years old. By December, while at his second home in Naples, Florida, his pain kept him from swinging a golf club and completing his regular workouts. So John saw a sports medicine specialist. An MRI revealed that John’s previously treated breast cancer had come back and metastasized.
John’s initial diagnosis had been made in 2014 when he and Anya were living in Seattle. John discovered a lump on his breast, was diagnosed and underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. Once he’d passed the five-year mark, he had assumed he was cancer-free.
After the MRI, John immediately got in touch with his internist at Cleveland Clinic, Richard Cartabuke, MD, to help him navigate his care. He came to Cleveland on a Monday, and on Tuesday met with Jame Abraham, MD, acting chair of the Taussig Cancer Institute and chair of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Cleveland Clinic. A PET scan confirmed John’s cancer had spread throughout his body, including lesions in 11 vertebrae.
“I lit up like a Christmas tree,” John shared. “It was everywhere … on my ribs, my back, everywhere. Then we had to find out whether it was in the brain … and sure enough, a tumor about the size of my eyeball was in the back of my head, and they discovered five other lesions of varying sizes. … They accelerated everything … by Thursday, I was fully diagnosed,” he said. “And I was told I could expect to live 12 months.”
The first thing John and Anya did was talk to their three adult children in Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. “We didn’t tell them about the 12 months, but we talked to them about the diagnosis,” John said. “After that, everything became a lot easier. They turned into our biggest support system. We were transparent with all our friends and family and got an outpouring of love from that community.” In fact, John talks about his medical journey in the first person, plural. The subject always is “we.” All John’s loved ones are participating fully. They share and feed his optimism.
To treat his brain tumor, John was referred to Lilyana Angelov, MD, director, Gamma Knife Center, Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center. Dr. Angelov mentioned treating a patient for many, many years.
“I asked her, ‘Is there any reason I couldn’t be that patient?’ And she said, ‘Sure, you could be that patient.’ So from that point forward, I stopped focusing on the prognosis and how many months. … We were going to be a story of success.”
John underwent two Gamma Knife procedures, in addition to a combination of drug therapies. “There are a number of side effects,” he acknowledged, “but they’re all manageable. I had a really good PET scan in August, which showed that there had been a substantial reduction in the cancer, which was largely based on a new medication that Dr. Abraham prescribed. So the combination of the Gamma Knife surgery and the medication … between Dr. Abraham and Dr. Angelov … we address the issues. In fact, I don’t think twice about some of the side effects now, because the medication is giving me the opportunity to live.”
The experience at Cleveland Clinic – coupled with the help and encouragement they received from friends and family – prompted John and Anya to make a $100,000 gift to Cleveland Clinic. They want to help advance medical research in breast cancer and brain tumor disease.
“It was the easiest check I ever wrote,” John said, noting he understands well the lifesaving clinical outcomes that disease- and treatment-focused investigations can have. John and Anya are particularly pleased to be able to support Dr. Abraham’s research. “As I understand it, the treatments they’re giving me now have only recently been approved by the FDA, which means if I had this 10 years ago, the remedies would have been much less effective.”
John is working out daily and wants to go back to work full time. “I want to be able to collaborate with other professionals … and make an impact … as long as I can,” John added. “We’re really grateful for the care I’ve received and feel very comfortable that we’re working with the best in the world. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but today is pretty awesome. And that’s our focus every single day. We feel very, very fortunate.”
Cleveland Clinic Florida Hosts Annual Ball
Cleveland Clinic Florida supporters will come together to toast the multi-specialty academic medical center on February 25, 2023, when the annual Cleveland Clinic Florida Ball takes place at The Breakers in Palm Beach. Chairing the annual black-tie benefit are longtime Cleveland Clinic supporters Kathryn and Leo Vecellio, Annie and Michael Falk, and Simone and Kerry Vickar. The Honorary Chairmen are Nancy and Bill Rollnick and Milly and Patrick Park.
“Cleveland Clinic’s annual Florida Ball raises funds for the expansion of medical services and programs for Cleveland Clinic patients in South Florida and beyond,” says Kathryn Vecellio. “Every year, we celebrate pursuing excellence in healthcare as a community, which ensures access to world-class care, the latest technology, the recruitment of prominent physicians and prestigious caregiver training programs. Cleveland Clinic holds a special place in my heart as I have been a grateful patient for 49 years. Leo and I continue to support the Clinic because we’ve seen first-hand why the Clinic’s heart program has been rated #1 in the nation for the last 28 years. I am able to be here today to advocate for this superior, global healthcare system because of the lifesaving care I have received.”
The celebration begins with cocktails during the elegant welcome reception, followed by a lavish dinner with dancing and entertainment from The Sultans.
“Since 1921, the mission of Cleveland Clinic has never wavered,” says Annie Falk. “By caring for life, researching for health, and educating those who serve, Cleveland Clinic continues to transform healthcare today and for the future.”
Long-time Cleveland Clinic supporters, the Lang Family, will receive the 2023 Sydell L. Miller Award, which was established in 2011 to honor those who have committed themselves to supporting Cleveland Clinic Florida’s mission of bringing world-class care to its patients.
“I am proud to stand alongside Kathryn and Leo Vecellio, Annie and Michael Falk and my husband Kerry in support of Cleveland Clinic Florida,” says Simone Vickar. “Please join us on February 25 for a wonderful evening, decadent cuisine and fabulous entertainment, all for the most important cause!”
For more information and to purchase tickets, please contact the Philanthropy Department at 954.659.6720 or visit the website.
Feel the Power of Love
The next 25 years of fundraising to benefit Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health will kick off on Saturday, February 18, 2023, at the 26th annual Power of Love® gala at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The highly anticipated evening of friendship and philanthropy will showcase performances from a list of notable artists, as well as live and silent auctions featuring an array of truly priceless products and experiences that guests have come to expect at the Power of Love gala. Celebrity Chefs Wolfgang Puck and Tal Ronnen will provide a culinary journey with distinctive dishes made especially for the Power of Love gala.
Keep Memory Alive will present its 2023 Community Leadership Award to John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Tequila. DeJoria’s involvement with the Power of Love gala is legendary, as he was the first one to hand a check to Larry Ruvo with a request “do something about Alzheimer’s disease in Lou’s honor." The gala this year takes place on the day that Lou Ruvo, Larry’s father, passed away in 1994.
Built on the power of one family’s promise and community philanthropy, with support from Keep Memory Alive, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health aims to find, fund, and facilitate the most effective and innovative research and caregiver programming for patients and their families. Since opening in 2009, the mission is to care for patients with brain disorders, support their families, and develop treatments and cures for diseases affecting the brain.
The Power of Love gala is a sell-out event so make plans soon to buy a seat, table or program ad. Bid on auction items. Every investment, no matter the size, makes a big impact. John Paul DeJoria’s original check was for $5,000 – and it paved the way for the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s crucial work.
For more information about the event and ticket purchases, visit the website or call 702.263.9797.
Florida Hospital Optimizes Care With Robotic Technology
Robotic-assisted surgery is an increasingly popular and successful option for minimally invasive treatments in healthcare, especially since open procedures have higher risks of infection and require longer hospital stays for recovery.
At Cleveland Clinic, robotic-assisted surgery is utilized to improve outcomes in complex procedures across a variety of specialty areas. The procedure uses small cuts (less than or equal to 1 centimeter long), tiny surgical instruments, fewer stitches and a laparoscope (a telescope) which is a thin tube with a light and a camera lens. It increases visibility in very narrow spaces and allows surgeons to perform precise, controlled movements, since the robotic arms have a wider range of motion than the human hand. This technology is versatile and improves patient outcomes, decreases complications, and reduces the length of stay for patients.
With philanthropic support from the community, Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital recently secured a robotic surgical system. Indian River physicians are using this technology across multiple service lines, including digestive disease, urology, colorectal surgery, and lung & thoracic surgery.
Over 30% of residents in the tri-county area surrounding Indian River Hospital are over the age of 65, the age group with the highest risk of complications during and after surgeries. The robot-assisted, minimally invasive procedure lowers risks involved in treating older patient populations.
“We can now achieve more complex minimally invasive lung resections, that in the past we would have converted from VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) to open surgery,” says Luis Marcelo Argote-Greene, MD, FCCP, Regional Director of Thoracic and Esophageal Surgery, of the addition of this new technology. “This is due to better visualization, dexterity, with greater range of motion than the human hand.”
Cure rates for some cancers and other diseases have increased, thanks to innovative robotic treatments. For example, new robotic segment surgery for lung cancer now yields a 90% cure rate and allows some patients to leave the day after their surgery.
The need for this special technology is growing, as patient demand increases and Indian River Hospital continues to recruit accomplished physicians that bring new service lines to the hospital. Acquiring an additional robotic surgical system will increase availability and allow us to better meet the needs of our patient community now and in the future.
How You Can Help
Your support is vital to our pursuit of excellence in patient-centered care. Please make a gift today to help us acquire high-priority technology and provide the best outcomes for patients across the Florida region and beyond.