Paying It Forward
Mary Olive Pierson Supports Department of Ophthalmology
Stephen Breaud and Mary Olive Pierson
In honor of her mother, Mary D.Olds, Mary Olive Pierson has created an endowed support fund in the Department of Ophthalmology in the School of Medicine at UAB. Pierson’s mother is being treated for macular degeneration by Stephen M. Breaud, M.D., of Baton Rouge, a distinguished alumnus of the department.
“We are most grateful for Ms. Pierson’s philanthropic support,” says Lanning Kline, M.D., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. “The resources she is providing hopefully will have real impact in our understanding of macular degeneration.”
This endowment will support research related to diseases of the retina and vitreous with particular emphasis on age-related macular degeneration. In addition to the gift to support the establishment of this endowment, Pierson also made arrangements through her estate for the provision of additional funds to the Department of Ophthalmology. Pierson hopes this endowment will eventually lead to an endowed professorship, once sufficient funding is on hand.
“I’m thrilled to partner with the UAB Department of Ophthalmology in support of retinal research,” Pierson says. “I was introduced to the work of UAB Ophthalmology and Dr. Doug Witherspoon by Dr. Breaud. Dr. Witherspoon’s expertise and passion for creating better treatments and potential cures for patients dealing with retinal disease is magnificently contagious. I personally understand the traumatic effect retinal disease has on patients and their families. My hope is that this gift will further advance breakthrough research into age-related macular degeneration and other diseases of the retina to pioneer toward prevention and cures to end these blinding diseases.”
Through Pierson’s efforts to oversee the best possible care for her mother, she learned from Dr. Breaud the effects of macular degeneration and the macular degeneration research efforts taking place at the UAB Department of Ophthalmology, which hold promise for the discovery of better treatments and therapies and ultimately a cure for the disease. Though her mother is now 94 years old and may not stand to benefit from the ultimate effects of future research, Pierson maintains a strong belief in the potential of these research efforts and the eventual benefit they will bring to many others who suffer from the disease.
Maintaining the Momentum / Summer 2011