On the Fast Track to Tackle COVID-19

On the Fast Track to Tackle COVID-19

Mina Chung, MD
Mina Chung, MD

When COVID-19 turned the world upside down, researchers across the globe hastened to learn as much they could about the virus and how it attacks the body.

One of those researchers is Mina K. Chung, MD, who specializes in cardiac pacing and electrophysiology at Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute.

Using information scientists already learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak, Dr. Chung and other researchers are digging deeper to find out why this novel coronavirus not only impacts the pulmonary system, but the heart and brain as well.

Time is of the essence, and with COVID-19 continuing to sideline communities and stretch healthcare systems, the need for significant, usable information is critical.

So in June, Cleveland Clinic joined 15 institutions across the U.S. to coordinate fast-tracked studies into the effects of COVID-19 on the body’s cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems.

The studies, made possible by $1.2 million in grants from the American Heart Association, are part of the association’s COVID-19 rapid response research initiative, which received more than 750 applications to study the heart/brain and COVID-19 connection.

Cleveland Clinic was selected to serve as the initiative’s COVID-19 Coordinating Center, led by Dr. Chung. “We are certainly excited to be able to help coordinate this important American Heart Association initiative to spearhead research into the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular implications of COVID-19,” she says. “This research program will hopefully jumpstart research that will not only help the current pandemic, but also future outbreaks and the long-term consequences of infection on patients.”

Several of the studies are aimed at disparity and underserved populations as well as patients with preexisting conditions.

The projects are expected to produce findings as quickly as six to nine months after inception. Several researchers anticipate actionable results prior to an expected new wave of COVID-19 cases in the winter.

Still, says Dr. Chung, more funding is critically needed. “We have many shovel-ready projects and needs for equipment, infrastructure and personnel to tackle the SARS-CoV-2 virus. When researchers have the ability to pivot and focus on COVID-19 right now — without having to wait months for governmental grant funding to come through — the impact of our research can help people sooner, rather than later.”

How you can help:

Your support of high-priority research like Dr. Chung’s will help combat not only the coronavirus, but also our response to infectious threats the world may face in the future. Make a gift here.

‘A Very Positive Energy for Pediatrics’

‘A Very Positive Energy for Pediatrics’

Karen Murray, MD, Chair, Cleveland Clinic Children's
Karen Murray, MD, Chair of Cleveland Clinic Children's

“I’m very proud, and the members of our pediatric team are so excited,” says Karen Murray, MD, Chair of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, about U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospital” rankings, which were released earlier in June. “This reflects the work that we’re all doing. These rankings evaluate patient volume, outcomes, national reputation and diversity of programs. All of those aspects are being developed, grown and improved at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.”

Cleveland Clinic Children’s is the only pediatric hospital in Northeast Ohio to be nationally ranked in all 10 specialties in U.S. News’ 2020-2021 guide to Best Children’s Hospitals. The pediatric institute of Cleveland Clinic, one of the top hospitals in the country, earned national recognition in cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. With seven of those specialties ranked as best in Northeast Ohio (cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, and urology), no children's hospital in Northeast Ohio ranked in more specialties than Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Murray, who took the helm of Cleveland Clinic Children’s in July 2019, says she’s not surprised by the high scores from the annual guide. “This is what I hoped for when I chose to come here – and what has been realized – how spectacular the quality, expertise and camaraderie really is. There’s a very positive energy in and for pediatrics.”

She’s noticed it at an enterprise level as well, and says it’s inspiring. “The other thing that’s been validated is the huge potential for increasing our national reputation. Our pediatrics team is so strong, and the programs are fundamentally very good. I just want to support them.”

Children, the Pandemic and Disparities in Healthcare

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold, Cleveland Clinic Children’s was prepared. “COVID is an infection, a virus that predominately infects the elderly,” Dr. Murray says. “So even though children and young adults may become infected, they’re less likely to become ill or have uncommon outcomes such as death. We were preparing to help the adult hospitals, rather than expecting an influx of pediatric patients.”

Dr. Murray says children are resilient and most will bounce back from the psychological impact of living through a pandemic and the limits imposed on everyday life. But, she cautions, the pandemic has created a lot of fear. “When adults have fear and children observe this, they themselves become anxious,” she says. “I think that fear and anxiety may affect some children more significantly and in a more sustained fashion, particularly those who have adults in their lives who were infected or a family member who may have died. Because of fear, all of us have been more anxious about seeking healthcare but it’s important to understand that it’s safe to visit the doctor, in person or using virtual visits.”

Dr. Murray acknowledges that the pandemic has brought the reality of healthcare disparities to the forefront. “It’s highlighting some very important issues: Are we reaching all populations the way we should to deliver care and educate on various aspects of healthcare? Are we taking into account the full determinates that may be affecting someone’s health? Do the healthcare workers reflect appropriately the population they’re serving?” she asks.

“I think a lot about diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace at all levels,” Dr. Murray continues. “I believe we have opportunity to better diversify our workforce, and when a family comes in to receive care, they see themselves reflected.”

Dr. Murray, who holds the DeBartolo Family Endowed Chair for Cleveland Clinic Children’s, says philanthropic support plays an enormous role in helping to address some of these needs. “Philanthropy has allowed us to develop our clinical programs, enhance our physical layout, use the appropriate equipment – even employ Kid, our facility's therapy dog,” she says. “We are completely reliant on philanthropy for our educational programs as well as many of our clinical and research programs.

“We really would be hard pressed to advance the care that we provide to patients without the support of our donors. Particularly over the past few months, the generosity from our supporters has helped us, as caregivers, remain focused on safely providing the best care and therapeutics for our patients.”

How You Can Help

Your support of Cleveland Clinic Children’s helps further the programs and services made possible by philanthropic donations, impacting the lives of our littlest patients and their families. Make a gift today.

Get Involved with Cleveland Clinic Florida and Virtual VeloSano

Get Involved with Cleveland Clinic Florida and Virtual VeloSano

Kevin Stadtlander, MD, at VeloSano's Bike to Cure weekend in 2018
Kevin Stadtlander, MD, shown here in 2018, is a co-leader of Team Cleveland Clinic Weston.

VeloSano, Latin for swift cure,” is a year-round fundraising initiative to support life-saving cancer research at Cleveland Clinic. Since its inception in 2014, more than $21 million has been raised, with 1OO% of those funds hard at work against cancer.

This year, Bike to Cure,” VeloSanos annual cycling event weekend in Northeast Ohio, has transitioned to a virtual fundraising experience to help ensure the safety of all participants while providing a shared purpose for cancer patients and their families, doctors, researchers and the community to raise money to end cancer.

VeloSanos Bike to Cure” virtual format will allow anyone, anywhere in the world, to get involved. And theres no shortage of ways to participate this year: Any activity, not just cycling, can help raise funds. From dog walking to embroidery to yoga to rollerblading, VeloSano participants are finding creative ways to get involved – and uniting in their passion to help cancer patients.

A Bigger Impact from Cleveland Clinic Florida

Cleveland Clinic Florida continues its support of VeloSano in an even bigger way this year. Across the Florida region, the presidents of Indian River, Martin and Weston hospitals will each lead a VeloSano team to encourage participation in the community and make the biggest impact on the critical need to raise funds for cancer research.

The pandemic is not going to slow down our fight against cancer,” said Joseph Iannotti, MD, Cleveland Clinic Florida Interim CEO and President. Virtual VeloSano is an opportunity to raise money for cancer research in a creative, accessible and meaningful way. Anyone, anywhere, can get involved with this important mission, and thats the amazing benefit of transitioning VeloSano to a virtual fundraising experience.”

Support VeloSano and the fight against cancer by joining one of the Florida teams:

 Virtual VeloSano Weekend Celebration

A virtual kick-off party featuring live-streamed interviews with teams and participants, cancer survivors, researchers, physicians and sponsors will take place Friday, July 17, at 6 p.m. EDT. The Live Stream Kickoff Party will be viewed online at velosano.org.

Virtual VeloSano Day” on Saturday, July 18, will feature a simulated starting line to kick off the day. Participants around the globe working toward their activity goals can engage and unite by using #VirtualVeloSano on social media to share their stories.

In addition to providing unique and meaningful ways for everyone to get involved virtually, VeloSano has removed the obligation in 2020 to meet fundraising minimums. Participants can start or join an existing team and register as either Rider” or Virtual Fundraiser.

If registering as Rider,” participants will select a distance, similar to how they would register for the traditional ride. If registering as “Virtual Fundraiser,” participants can choose their own activity other than biking (for example, running a 5K or walking a certain number of miles a week with their family) and set their own activity and fundraising goal to show their involvement in VeloSano.

While Virtual VeloSano Day” is just three weeks away, there is still plenty of time to get involved! All participants have until October 1 to complete their activity and fundraising. Virtual Volunteer opportunities are also available.

Where the Money Goes

Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center unites clinicians and researchers in the Taussig Cancer Institute and in Cleveland Clinic’s 26 other clinical and surgical institutes, as well as cancer specialists at regional hospitals, health centers and at Cleveland Clinic Florida. Ranked No. 1 in Ohio and No. 6 in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report, Cleveland Clinic's Cancer Center provides a range of services to patients, including clinical trials and internationally recognized cancer research efforts, ensuring patients have access to the latest advances in cancer treatment.

VeloSano is unique in that 1OO% of the dollars raised supports Cleveland Clinic's cancer research. Every activity that participants pursue, and every dollar from our supporters, helps Cleveland Clinic pursue research that will make a difference in patientslives.

While VeloSano now has many new ways to participate, one thing hasn’t changed: the critical need to raise funds for cancer research. How will you Virtual VeloSano?

Learn how you can be part of VeloSanos important mission to end cancer and be 1OO% for the cure.

  

Peacock Project Forged Through Creative Connection

Peacock Project Forged Through Creative Connection

Randi Senderowitz (L) and Deirdre Kline with Executive Director of Philanthropy Guy McClurkan.
Randi Senderowitz (l) and Deirdre Kline with Guy McClurkan, Executive Director of Philanthropy.

Friends Deirdre Kline and Randi Senderowitz came up with a creative idea to support their community during the COVID-19 pandemic—and it involves peacock feathers.

Deirdre, an artist and marketing professional, and Randi, an actress with a background in advertising and marketing, met two years ago at Hunters Run Country Club in Palm Beach County. After realizing that neither played golf, they made an immediate creative connection.

The women soon learned they both admired peacocks for their natural beauty, beautiful plumage and as symbols of optimism, protection, kindness and compassion. Regarding such attributes as inspirational during these uncertain times, they created a giving initiative called the Peacock Project.

“Though we have not personally been affected by COVID-19, we felt compelled to respond to the devastation affecting on our community, our country and the world,” Randi says. “Like so many other people, we felt helpless and wanted to do something that could have a positive effect on those most in need.”

The mission of the Peacock Project is two-fold: to raise funds for two local charities significantly affected by the COVID-19 virus and to create a platform that allows donors to honor friends and encourage them to pay the kindness and generosity forward. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Cleveland Clinic Caregiver Hardship Fund and the Nancy Dershaw Grant for Holocaust Survivors.

The Caregiver Hardship Fund provides grants to eligible caregivers facing unexpected financial hardships such as eviction notices, food insecurity, utility shutoffs, funeral expenses and more.

The Nancy Dershaw Grant provides funds to assist Holocaust survivors in South Florida with food, medicine and healthcare bills through the nonprofit organization, Next Generations.

“We chose Cleveland Clinic and Next Generations as recipients of our efforts because they serve two sectors representing those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic: the elderly and isolated, as well as the frontline responders. Also, both organizations’ missions of giving 100% of funds to those in need are in sync with those of the Peacock Project,” Deirdre says.

What started as a fundraiser for the Hunters Run community of 1,600 residences has quickly expanded. The Peacock Project received its first donation May 14 and its first corporate donation from The Elana Sessler Team at RE/MAX Direct soon after.

Donors can make a gift to the Peacock Project on behalf of a family member or friend and for a variety of occasions. For a minimum $10 donation, an individual receives a beautiful peacock feather delivered to their doorstep with a card detailing the project’s mission. For an additional $10, a feather and customized card is hand-delivered to anyone designated by the donor within the Hunters Run community. The project is so popular that Dierdre and Randi will soon offer the option of delivering outside Hunters Run.

At the end of May, with beautiful peacock feathers in hand, Deirdre and Randi visited Cleveland Clinic to present the first check for the Caregiver Hardship Fund, “We simply want to help those in need,” Deirdre says. “We would also like to convey the message that we are truly ‘all in this together’and need to depend on each other. This is the basis of our pay-it-forward plan, which is what we believe makes the Peacock Project unique and so successful thus far.”

To make a donation to the Peacock Project, contact Randi Senderowitz or Deirdre Kline. You also can support Cleveland Clinic’s Caregiver Hardship Fund here.

2020 Trike & Bike: A Virtual Way to Help Out and Feel Good!

2020 Trike & Bike: A Virtual Way to Help Out and Feel Good!

Family celebrates following a Trike and Bike ride in 2019
Trike and Bike riders raised over $175,000 for pediatric cancer research at Cleveland Clinic Children’s in 2019.

Looking for a fun, yet meaningful activity to do with kids this summer? Trike & Bike benefiting VeloSano is a great way to help children learn about fundraising, fitness and philanthropy.

To keep kids, families and neighborhoods safe and healthy, the 2020 Trike & Bike season is now virtual, with lots of new and exciting ways for riders 3 through 12 to help raise much-needed funds for pediatric cancer research at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Thanks to our presenting sponsor, Cedar Point, and local sponsors, participants will have fun while learning that it feels good to help others. Best of all, 100% of every dollar raised supports the cause.

Kids and teams can sign up now, leaving lots of time to share their fundraising goals with neighbors, friends and family, near and far. Each child who registers will receive a Junior Rider Starter Kit in the mail. The kit contains a fundraising guide, bike decorating materials, an activity tracker, a special T-shirt, games and more, all designed to help kids make the most out their experience.

Sign up today to take part in the Trike & Bike virtual rides in the following communities:

On the morning of each ride, participants and their families will come together virtually to celebrate their fundraising by logging into a special online program, just for Trike & Bike. In addition, local partners for each Trike & Bike ride will provide a morning full of interactive online entertainment and activities, before a countdown to a 30- to 45-minute bike ride that each child will take for pediatric cancer research.

We invite you to join the more than 1,000 participants from Greater Cleveland communities and neighborhoods who collectively raised over $175,000 for pediatric cancer research at Cleveland Clinic Children’s in 2019. No matter the amount, every gift is important and helps make a difference in the lives of children with cancer.

Learn more about Trike & Bike here.

No Bike? No Problem – VeloSano Gets Virtually Creative to Benefit Cancer Research

No Bike? No Problem – VeloSano Gets Virtually Creative to Benefit Cancer Research

virtual VeloSano rollerblader
No bike? No problem! A virtual VeloSano participant is rollerblading to raise funds for cancer research.

VeloSano, Cleveland Clinic’s cancer research fundraising initiative, is celebrating its seventh year by providing a shared purpose for cancer patients and their families, doctors, researchers and the community to raise money to fight cancer. To be safe and healthy, the annual “Bike to Cure” weekend has gone virtual – allowing anyone, anywhere around the world, to get involved in the critical mission to raise funds for cancer research.

Since its inception in 2014, VeloSano has raised more than $21 million, with 100% benefiting cancer research at Cleveland Clinic.

“Cancer doesn’t slow down for a pandemic and neither does VeloSano,” said Stewart Kohl, Co-CEO, The Riverside Company, and Founder, VeloSano. “A big benefit to going virtual is that VeloSano instantly became more inclusive and accessible. We’re excited to share that anyone can unite around the common goal of ending cancer in fun and meaningful ways. Any activity, not just cycling, can be part of the cancer-fighting machine that is VeloSano, so we hope people get creative and use the #VirtualVeloSano hashtag.”

And there’s no shortage of unique ways to take part in the fundraiser this year. From embroidery to yoga to rollerblading, VeloSano participants are counting stitches, holding poses and skating as creative ways to be involved. Even dogs and potbellied pigs are committed to helping raise funds for VeloSano with their human families.

Some riders have set personal goals for themselves this year. John M. Saada, Jr., Partner, Jones Day, and Co-Chair VeloSano, has promised to ride 700 miles in seven weeks for VeloSano 7. “There are many meanings for ‘Triple 7,’” he says, “but for me, it’s my challenge to raise as much money for VeloSano as I can again this year.”

Virtual VeloSano Weekend Celebration

A virtual kick-off party - featuring live-streamed interviews with teams and participants, cancer survivors, researchers, physicians and sponsors - will take place the evening of Friday, July 17, 6 p.m. EDT. The Live Stream Kickoff Party can be viewed online at velosano.org.

Virtual VeloSano “Day” on Saturday, July 18, will feature a simulated starting line to kick off the day. Participants around the globe working toward their activity goals can engage and unite by using #VirtualVeloSano on social media to share their stories.

In addition to providing a unique and meaningful virtual experience for everyone, for 2020, VeloSano has removed the obligation to meet fundraising minimums. Participants can start or join an existing team and register as either a “Rider” or a Virtual Fundraiser.

If registering as a “Rider,” participants will select a distance, similar to how they would register for the traditional ride. If registering as a Virtual Fundraiser, participants can choose their own activity other than biking (for example, running a 5K or walking a certain number of miles a week with their family) and set their own activity and fundraising goal to show their involvement. All participants have until October 1, 2020 to complete their activity and fundraising. Virtual Volunteer opportunities are also available.

While Virtual VeloSano has many new ways to participate, one thing hasn’t changed: the critical need to raise funds for cancer research. How will you Virtual VeloSano?

Learn how you can be part of VeloSano’s important mission to end cancer and be 100% for the cure.