Thanks to the support of well over 1,000 individual donors, the Solve ME/CFS Initiative reached its milestone $1 million research goal ahead of schedule, enabling us to fuel the biggest nongovernmental CFS research initiative ever undertaken in the United States.
The Association launched The Campaign to Accelerate CFS Research with an unprecedented goal of raising $1 million by the end of 2008. Gifts came from virtually every quarter within the CFS community. The Board of Directors led the way with 100% participation. Gifts from other donors ranged from as humble an amount as $5 to a high of $100,000, from first-time donors to long-time supporters and from every part of the country (and as far away as Australia).
In all, 1,159 individual donations have been received so far, and the number keeps rising. The total raised to date is $1,073,293. Every penny is earmarked specifically for the Association’s expanded research program. None of these funds may be spent for any other purpose.
Infusing $1 million into research—while a dramatic spike for a single year—is not an endpoint by any means, but instead is a springboard to boost the Association’s comprehensive approach to the quest for finding cures.
With the first gifts raised in the current campaign, the Association created the position of Scientific Director and hired highly-respected microbiologist and CFS expert Suzanne Vernon, Ph.D., in November, 2007, to guide its scientific activities. (To learn more, see “Meet Suzanne Vernon.”)
At the top of our agenda is the intent to seed new laboratory and clinical studies. The Association’s aim is to advance the discovery of biomarkers and methods for early detection, objective diagnosis and effective treatment of CFS. As fundraising continued, Vernon restructured the Association’s grant application process and has made the competition for grants tighter and more robust (see “From the Desk of Kim McCleary.”).
An announcement of the new research projects the Association is funding can be expected next before the end of the year.
But that’s just the beginning.
Parallel to the grant-making process, the Association is doing much more to bring about meaningful progress in other ways. Under Vernon’s expert guidance, the Association has taken the lead in fostering new collaborations among investigators and other potential funding sources, recruiting new investigators to the field of CFS, and promoting regular, vigorous communication within the scientific community to maximize results.
In short, thanks to the generosity of its broad base of donors, the Association is “connecting the dots” in the field of CFS research worldwide and improving scientific citizenship to accelerate the search for answers. No other organization in the world is serving the CFS in this vital capacity.
To support the Solve ME/CFS Initiative’s programs for research, medical education, public awareness, governmental oversight/advocacy and patient support click here.October 1, 2008