Carolinas HealthCare System has announced a $2 million commitment from the Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation in support of academic and research efforts at the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. The funds will be designated to establish an endowed chair in their name: The Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders.
Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD
“The Vickar family’s dedication to advancing the efforts of our clinical and translational research teams is truly remarkable,” said Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD, President of Levine Cancer Institute. “Their support will make seminal contributions to the welfare of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and related blood disorders.”
Dr. Raghavan emphasized the importance of endowed chairs in leveraging the Levine Cancer Institute’s ability to attract and retain the brightest minds in medical research. “With private philanthropic support, these researchers are given the academic and scientific freedom to pursue ideas that can move medical science forward and lead to novel therapies.”
Cornerstones of Philanthropy
Forward momentum is one of the cornerstones of the Vickar family’s philanthropy. “We are focused on maximizing impact,” said Kerry Vickar, “and Levine Cancer Institute’s network has a vast reach. The research led by the endowed chair can truly transform lives throughout the Carolinas—a region where our family is committed to giving back.”
Mr. Vickar is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of May Heavy Equipment, a full-service heavy equipment dealer. He is the cofounder of VSTH Group, LLC, an investment banking and private equity firm, and is the founder of the family office, The Vickar Group.
Other gifts given by the Vickars have supported art programs in Aspen, West Palm Beach, and Los Angeles; created a community center in Mr. Vickar’s hometown of Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada; and provided significant funds to advance medical research through various organizations, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, and now the Levine Cancer Institute.
“We are proud to support an organization that is devoted to providing the finest care to patients from all walks of life,” said Simone Vickar.
First Endowed Chair
Edward Copelan, MD, FACP
Leading the research and treatment team as the first Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Endowed Chair is Edward Copelan, MD, FACP, who joined the Levine Cancer Institute in 2012 from his prior role as Head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the Cleveland Clinic. Under his direction, a new, state-of-the-art blood and marrow transplant unit opened in 2014 at the Carolinas Medical Center.
“I am deeply grateful for Kerry and Simone Vickar’s generosity and dedication to improving the lives of cancer patients in our region,” said Dr. Copelan. “Their commitment will prove instrumental in advancing our translational research efforts; improving the effectiveness of blood and marrow transplantation; and launching clinical trials designed to enhance treatment and diagnosis of blood cancers.” ■