October 5, 2002
Volunteers raise $22,500 to fund neuroscience research
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—At Methodist Rehabilitation Center research is serious business.
When scientists at the Jackson hospital’s Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery recently discovered polio-like symptoms in some patients infected with the West Nile virus, it meant faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment for the potentially deadly disease.
But medical breakthroughs don’t come without a cost.
That’s why volunteers at Methodist Rehab pitch in to help raise money to fund neuroscience research that will one day hopefully lead to cures for spinal cord and brain injuries, stroke and other neurological and orthopedic diseases and disorders.
During the last 12 months, the volunteer-run gift shop at Methodist Rehab has raised $22,500 that will be donated to the Wilson Research Foundation—an organization that helps fund research at the CNNR. In the seven years since the gift shop first opened in Methodist Rehab’s atrium mall, volunteers have raised $73,000 for research.
“We are always excited by this donation and very grateful for the hard work of the volunteers,” said Dr. Dobrivoje Stokic, CNNR director. “The work we do here could not be accomplished without donations like this. I think that it is even more significant that this donation comes from those who give freely of their time to help others.”
That gift shop customers know that the money made from their purchases will directly support research and improve patient’s lives is one reason the shop is so successful, said Teri McKie, the gift shop’s manager and its only paid employee.
“I think people want to shop here because they know how important research is and they want to help,” she said. “But it’s the volunteers who make it special. Some of them have been with me since the shop opened and they know that their work directly benefits patients. I think that‘s what keeps them coming back year after year.”
Since President George W. Bush challenged Americans to volunteer for worthwhile causes, the number of people wanting to volunteer at Methodist Rehab has risen, said Sandra Walker, director of volunteer services.
“We believe that volunteerism is one of the most important and rewarding things a person can do. And it only gets easier when the cause is an important one such as improving the lives of those with disabilities,” she said.
Earlier this year the volunteers at Methodist Rehab recieved the Daily Points of Light Award from the Washington DC based Points of Light Foundation.
The Wilson Research Foundation was established in 1989 after the H.F. McCarty Jr. Family Foundation and McCarty Farms donated $740,000 to honor the contributions that Earl and Martha Wilson have made to the physically disabled in Mississippi. For more information or to make a contribution, log on to www.wilsonresearchfoundation.org or call (601) 981-2611 or 1-800-223-6672.
Grace Houston of Madison put price tags on merchandise in the Methodist gift shop.