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Nemours Children's Health receives $78 million for the research and treatment of blood disorders

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

Nemours Children’s Health receives a $78 million donation from the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation.

Those dollars will fund research programs and expand Nemours’ capacity to provide clinical care for children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other blood disorders.

Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation president William Martin says this is the biggest gift that the foundation has ever made - with $40 million going toward dedicating an entire floor of Nemours Children’s Hospital to treating children with cancer and other blood disorders. It will be called the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation Institute for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Nemours Children’s Health.

“As a result of this gift, Nemours hospital is going to fit out the 5th floor,” said Martin “And as I understand it, it's going to quadruple their capacity to treat kids with cancer and other blood diseases.”

It will add a total of 48 new beds, which will be used for in-patient treatment.

Another $25 million will be used to support medical research in cancer and blood diseases, with a focus on sickle cell disease, which Martin says is chronically underfunded.

Sickle cell disease affects 1 in every 365 Black children. It is a blood disorder that causes severe pain, debilitating failure of muscles and joints, multiple organ failure, and leads to early death.

And Nemours Children’s Health President and CEO Dr. Larry Moss calls it the most profound and unconscionable example of racial inequity in US healthcare.

“A good analogy is cystic fibrosis in white people causes many of the same disabilities and effects for roughly the same proportion of the population. But it gets about 20 times the dollars invested in it as does sickle cell disease,” Moss explained.

In the last 3 decades, the outcomes for patients with cystic fibrosis have dramatically improved. But the same cannot be said for sickle cell patients.

“It’s a great example of the positive impact we can have on a disease if we’re willing to put the time, the money, and the resources into doing something about it. And in sickle cell disease we have failed our African American population,” said Moss.

Martin says Nemours Children’s Health has shown a strong interest in finding a cure for sickle cell disease, and he and his foundation want to help them achieve that goal.

“We think that making a bet on the Nemours research team and the research they’re going to help others engage in, that hopefully there will be a cure found in the next 10 years,” said Martin.

The rest of the funding from the $78 million will go toward endowing 2 chairs: one for the institute, and one for specialists in sickle cell disease research. They will also host an international symposium focused on blood diseases every 2 years in order to encourage global collaboration on research and treatment.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.