Hunt for a Cure Foundation Provides Lead Gift of $500,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Research at Helen DeVos Childrens Hospital

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 13, 2018 – Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is pleased to announce the creation of a research partnership between Spectrum Health, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Hunt for a Cure Foundation that will help find a cure for cystic fibrosis patients. Today, the Hunt for a Cure Foundation announced a $500,000 lead gift for Cystic Fibrosis research at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. This multidisciplinary approach launched earlier this year, and is made possible by Hunt for A Cure Foundation’s founder, Pete Odland.

“I can’t emphasize enough how moving it is to see Hunt for a Cure Foundation invest in this translational and clinical research program,” said Chris Chambers, MD, PhD, vice president, research, Spectrum Health. “What Pete Odland has done is above and beyond what most people in similar circumstances can accomplish. We are motivated by his dedication and commitment and look forward to working with our partners Michigan State University College of Human Medicine to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

Hunt for a Cure Foundation, founded in 2006 and supported by other passionate parents of children with cystic fibrosis, has been funding research in hopes of finding a cure.

Pete’s son, Dylan, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes the body to produce abnormally thick mucus leading to life-threatening lung infections. In 1996, Dylan was one of the first patients to be seen in the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Care Center by John Schuen, MD, division chief pediatric pulmonary medicine and sleep clinic.

“The body of work at the cystic fibrosis care center has been a labor of love,” said Dr. Schuen. “The lives of our young people with cystic fibrosis, like Dylan, have tremendously improved.”

The research program will take advantage of the large annual clinical base of hundreds of patients through the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Care Center to facilitate gene-specific therapies and accelerate advances in the care of cystic fibrosis as well as other advanced lung disease. More importantly, the program will facilitate and create new opportunities for collaboration between MSU scientists and Spectrum Health, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital clinicians.

“MSU joins Spectrum Health in gratitude to Pete Odland and Hunt for a Cure Foundation for their generous support of this vital research initiative with Dr. Schuen and our partners at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital,” said Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., MD, MHS, dean, MSU College of Human Medicine.

“Our comprehensive, accredited cystic fibrosis care center provides multidisciplinary care for people with cystic fibrosis from birth and into adulthood,” said Dr. Schuen. “This requires a team approach and talented clinicians, researchers, leaders, and administrators who have come together for a single purpose: to control and ultimately cure cystic fibrosis.”

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,500 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan that served 996,000 members in fiscal year 2017. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees. The organization provided $372 million in community benefit during its 2017 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—in 2017 by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM. This was the sixth time the organization received this recognition.

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