Entries in Donation (4)


David Geffen Donates $100 Million for UCLA Medical School Tuition

PRNewsFoto/The Recording Academy(LOS ANGELES) -- A lucky group of medical students at the University of California, Los Angeles will get a free ride, thanks to a $100 million donation by the billionaire entertainment executive and philanthropist David Geffen.

The money will be used to create a scholarship fund for aspiring doctors at UCLA’s medical school, which was renamed The David Geffen School of Medicine after its benefactor made an unrestricted gift of $200 million 10 years ago.

“The cost of a world-class medical education should not deter our future innovators, doctors and scientists from the path they hope to pursue,” Geffen said in a statement. “We need the students at this world-class institution to be driven by determination and the desire to do their best work and not by the fear of crushing debt. I hope in doing this that others will be inspired to do the same.”

Medical school debt load continues to grow, with 86 percent of med students racking up $170,000 or more in loans to get their degrees, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.  Tuition at UCLA is approximately $38,000 per year --  $67,000 when all other expenses are counted, according to the faculty.

As tuition and the cost of living continue to rise, the total cost for medical students beginning their studies in 2013 could be more than $300,000 over four years.

Geffen’s donation, the school said, will cover tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and other expenses for up to 33 students each year -- a fifth of the 163 med-school openings at UCLA. The scholarships will be merit-based and not consider financial need.

Admission to the medical school is already highly competitive, with over 7,500 applying each year for those 163 spots. This new scholarship program could increase the number of applications and entice accepted applicants to choose the school over others.

“With this game-changing gift, Mr. Geffen has invested in the medical education and training of some of the world’s brightest and most talented young people, influencing medical research and patient care for generations to come,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.

Graduating medical students face career choices, and right now the highest-paying fields of medicine, such as radiology, are the most popular and competitive.  It may be partly because educational debt pushes young doctors to enter more lucrative fields.  Experts think this could be contributing to the lack of primary care physicians in the U.S.

Other notable donations to medical schools include Kennith Langone’s $100 million gift to the NYU Langone Medical Center in 2008, and Carl Ichan’s gift  of $200 million to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  Geffen’s UCLA scholarship-specific fund is described by school officials as “unprecedented.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Illinois Boy Wins $1,000, Donates Money to Neighbor Fighting Leukemia

Courtesy Trisha Kielty(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) -- Forget toys and video games. When Wyatt Erber won $1,000, the Illinois third-grader knew exactly what he wanted to do with the money.

The 8-year-old gave his winnings to the family of his young neighbor, 2-year-old Cara Kielty, who is battling leukemia.

"He was really aware of what cancer is," said Wyatt's mom, Noelle Erber. "When he found out Cara had cancer, his heart sank."

One week after Cara Kielty was diagnosed, Noelle Erber asked her son if he'd like to enter a scavenger hunt sponsored by a local bank. The grand prize was $1,000.

"Wyatt immediately said, 'Let's do it, and if I win the $1,000, I want to give it to Cara,'" Erber said. "The idea of being able to give a thousand dollars wowed him."

Winning seemed like a long shot, but Wyatt was determined to win the money for Cara, Erber said.

Together they visited businesses in their hometown of Edwardsville, gradually collecting the 20 clues needed to complete the scavenger hunt.

When they found out they had been the first team to turn in all the clues, Wyatt called Cara's mother, Trisha Kielty.

"I knew he was wanting to do it for Cara, which is the sweetest thing ever," she said. "But an 8-year-old giving adults money? I tried to protest to his mom. Then she told me he asked how much chemo this would buy Cara. He gets it."

The Kieltys, who have been close friends of the Erbers since they moved to their street five years ago, decided to accept the money and "focus on the fact Wyatt is such a gracious kid," Trisha Kielty said.

Cara has always taken a shine to Wyatt, who is frequently over playing with her 8-year-old brother, Connor.

"She grins ear-to-ear whenever Wyatt walks through the door," Kielty said.

The third-grader's act of generosity did not go unnoticed. A local charity matched his gift to the Kieltys. A man in Canada heard about the story and sent a letter praising Wyatt, along with $100 to give to the Kieltys for Cara's treatment.

Wyatt's mother said she couldn't be more proud of her son.

"He's always been a very sweet boy," she said. "I'm very lucky to call him my son."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cancer Survivor Suspended from School for Growing Hair for Charity

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(FLINT, Mich.) -- Seventeen-year-old J.T. Gaskins woke up early Monday morning and got ready for school like all of his classmates, but instead of going to his Michigan high school, he settled in for what will be his second week of spending the school day working from home.

Gaskins was suspended from Madison Academy for having hair that did not comply with the school's rules for how long boys can grow their hair.  But Gaskins is sporting the shaggy hairdo for a very specific reason: As a leukemia survivor, he is determined to donate his hair to Locks of Love.

"I really never thought we would be here," his mother Christa Plante told ABC News.  She was "dumbfounded" when her son's school board upheld a decision to keep him out of school and says she is "very much" concerned about him missing part of his senior year of high school.

The school board did not respond to a request for comment.

Gaskins was diagnosed with Infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a high-risk form of leukemia in children, when he was 8 weeks old.  He underwent nearly five years of chemotherapy and his family celebrated him being cancer-free in December 2003.

Over the holidays, Gaskins was touched by a family friend who was battling cancer and decided he wanted to give back by donating his hair.  But when his hair grew over his ears and started getting in his eyes, his school demanded he cut it.

Gaskins refused and was suspended.

"He's done his research.  He knows what he wants and why.  I'm very proud of him," Plante told ABC News.  "He's fought for all these years and I think he deserves a little exception."

Plante said her son wants to donate hair now since he will be turning 18 and graduating soon and this will be his last year of pediatric cancer check-ups, which he has gone through every year of his life.

"He's celebrating his life and now he wants to give back so that other kids can have an opportunity to celebrate theirs too," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Severe Weather Leads to Record-Low January Blood Supply

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto | American Red Cross(WASHINGTON) -- The American Red Cross is calling on all eligible blood donors to replenish its blood supply after the cancellation of more than 14,000 blood and platelet donations due to the severe winter weather hitting the eastern half of the United States.  The Red Cross says it has not seen such a dramatic drop in its supply in more than a decade.

"Maintaining sufficient blood to meet patient needs is a delicate balance between supply and demand," said Richard Benjamin, American Red Cross' chief medical officer.  "When severe weather disrupts that balance, the Red Cross puts out a call to potential blood donors across the country to give blood as soon as possible and make up the deficit."

The American Red Cross asks that all eligible donors make an appointment to give blood or platelets by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by visiting the Red Cross website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio