Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Since the 1940s, members of Frederick H. Prince’s family have had a passion for philanthropy, directing funds to the local healthcare community for a variety of reasons -- to address specific issues, such as to boost the morale of a nursing staff, for instance, or more generally to support a hospital’s mission to provide the highest quality care for patients.
Recently, though, the family’s penchant for gift-giving has become personal.
“My husband has Parkinson’s disease,” admits Diana Prince. “Quite naturally, the role of neurological research in helping understand and treat this condition has become a high priority.”
In November 2010, the Princes made a one-time donation of $2.85 million to establish the Frederick Henry Prince Distinguished Professorship in Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The endowed professorship will support the efforts of Stephen Reich, MD, whose pioneering work in neurology has helped advance the understanding and development of new treatments for Parkinson’s disease.
Diana Prince says she has great admiration for Dr. Reich, who diagnosed her husband, Frederick Prince, with Parkinson’s approximately 3 years ago.
“Dr. Reich has made an immeasurable impact on my family,” she says. “He listened to us and, in doing so, he helped us to heal. Quite frankly, without him I don’t know what my husband and I would have done.”
Originally, their local neurologist would not concede that the changes Prince was noticing in her husband's personality and cognitive abilities were anything more serious than symptoms of old age. Unhappy with that result, the Princes did some research, which led them to the University of Maryland and Dr. Reich, who concluded immediately that Frederick had some dementia caused by Parkinson’s disease. Hearing that diagnosis was a tremendous relief to the couple, who have 2 children, a son who lives in Chicago, and a daughter who is married and divides her time between London and New York.
Prince says that, as a result of her husband’s illness and their experience with Dr. Reich and his staff, the family has developed a deeper appreciation for the mission of the School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, in particular.
“We were engaged by Dr. Reich and the faculty, by the work that they are doing, and by the potential to have a long-lasting impact,” says Prince, who added that she decided to give back to the School of Medicine as a way to reward Dr. Reich and do something for others at the same time. Dr. Reich was invested at a ceremony in September 2011.
“We consider this a gift to the future,” says Prince, “a way to advance the scientific knowledge about neurological impairments of all kinds and to relieve or prevent this condition for others.”
The Frederick Henry Prince Distinguished Professorship in Neurology will support the salary and clinical research expenses of the named professor who specializes in Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, and who devotes a majority of his or her professional time to movement disorder patient care activities and Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders clinical research.
A division of the Department of Neurology, the University of Maryland Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center is full-service diagnostic center that offers comprehensive and expert diagnostic, medical, surgical and rehabilitative services for patients with Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism. As a member of the Parkinson Study Group, a North American Consortium of Research Neurologists, our physicians conduct clinical research studies in Parkinson's disease and have developed specific multi-disciplinary outpatient and inpatient therapy programs for Parkinson's disease.