The Mike L. Jezdimir Transverse Myelitis Foundation has given $3,200 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham for research on transverse myelitis, a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord with varying degrees of weakness, sensory alterations and disruptions in the nervous system. Donations from the foundation to UAB total more than $10,000 to date.
The foundation was created by Mike Jezdimir, who contracted TM in 1967. TM has a conservatively estimated incidence of between one and eight new cases per million per year, or approximately 1,400 new cases in the United States each year. Although this disease affects people of all ages, with a range of 6 months to 88 years, there are bimodal peaks between the ages of 10 to 19 years and 30 to 39 years. Approximately 25 percent of cases occur in children.
“This money will help support the important research into inflammatory diseases that affect the central nervous system such as transverse myelitis and multiple sclerosis being done here at UAB,” Jezdimir said. “We are hopeful that someday they will unlock the secret and find a cure, which is why our foundation will continue to support this important research.”
The foundation’s gift will be administered by Amie Jackson McLain, M.D., chair of the UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Tara DeSilva, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department.
The donation includes proceeds from the foundation’s Shine for the Spine 5K glow-in-the-dark run, as well as book and T-shirt sales. Upcoming events include Dine to Donate at Izzy’s Deli in Hoover and the foundation’s flagship event, Run 4 Mike, on April 4, 2014.
For more information on the Transverse Myelitis Foundation, or to donate, go to www.mikestransversemyelitis.com/default.html.