Lyme Research Alliance Receives Gift from IBM in Honor of Richard Gerstner

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Lyme Research Alliance Receives Gift from IBM in Memory of ex-IBM Executive Richard ("Dick") Gerstner Whose Early Retirement Was Triggered By Lyme disease

Stan Litow (left), VP at IBM, presents gift to David Gerstner and Debbie Siciliano, LRA

Stanley Litow (IBM VP), David Gerstner and Debbie Siciliano (LRA Co-Founder)

“We are extremely grateful that we had Dick Gerstner in our lives.As we continue our work funding research and serving as an advocate for Lyme disease sufferers, we will keep him in our hearts.” Debbie Siciliano, Co-President, Lyme Research Alliance.

Lyme Research Alliance (formerly Time for Lyme), whose mission is to fund research into more reliable diagnostic testing and treatments of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, has received a donation from IBM in the memory of Dick Gerstner, a long-time IBM executive and a dedicated supporter of LRA. This donation complements a major gift in Dick’s memory from the Gerstner Family Foundation, to Columbia University Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Center, the institution founded in 2007 with primary funding from LRA (then named Time for Lyme). Dick Gerstner had been a major supporter of LRA’s efforts to establish the Columbia Center.

Dick Gerstner, who died last month retired from IBM early because of an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease. A Stamford resident, Gerstner worked closely with LRA for many years and was honored for his activism by the organization at its Gala in 2011. Gerstner raised money for Lyme disease research and played a key role in founding the first research center for the study of persistent Lyme at Columbia University in 2007.

“We are extremely grateful that we had Dick Gerstner in our lives,” said Debbie Siciliano, co-president of Lyme Research Alliance. “As we continue our work funding research and serving as an advocate for Lyme disease sufferers, we will keep him in our hearts.”

Many are helping to educate about Lyme’s disease. Later this week, Senator Richard Blumenthal’s (D-CT) field hearing on the federal response to Lyme disease is scheduled for Thursday at the University of Connecticut in Stamford. Senator Blumenthal has introduced the bipartisan Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act (S.1381) which would increase awareness about Lyme disease and provide more resources to study the illness. The hearing will explore what next steps the federal government must take to combat Lyme.

“We’re pleased that the Senate is holding this hearing on Lyme,” said Siciliano.

“The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease will be contracted in the U.S. We need a thorough understanding of the issues to enable the government to develop an effective and comprehensive plan on Lyme.”

Over the years, LRA has worked tirelessly to build partnerships with a significant range of scientists, researchers and other groups focused on combating Lyme and tick-borne disease. LRA formally affiliated with the Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA), and has built strong working relationships with organizations including LymeDisease.org (formerly CALDA) and regional organizations. Significant partnerships have also been forged with the academic community to support scientific research that can ultimately alleviate the threat of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Lyme Research Alliance, Inc., formerly Time for Lyme, is a Connecticut-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to fund cutting-edge research into Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Lyme Research Alliance has raised over $5 million since its founding in 1998 to fund research at accredited institutions across the U.S., including the endowment of the Columbia University Medical Center’s Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Research Center in New York City.

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Peter Wild

Rona Cherry
Rona Cherry Associates
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