Nemours Children’s Health, Delaware Valley announced today a $6.75 million donation from Elizabeth W. Snyder, who recently retired from her role as a Director of W. L. Gore & Associates, endowing the positions of two nationally recognized orthopedic surgeons in Wilmington, Delaware. Along with the two endowed chairs, additional funds will go to developing enhanced programming for patients with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and skeletal dysplasia, among other conditions. The programs funded by this gift align with Mrs. Snyder’s interests and experience at W. L. Gore & Associates, which is dedicated to applying material science expertise, technical capabilities, collaboration and innovation to solve complex challenges that improve the lives of millions of people.
“The history of Nemours Children’s Hospital is rooted in orthopedics and Nemours Children’s orthopedic services are recognized worldwide,” said Elizabeth W. Snyder. “I have personally visited with families from hundreds of miles away from Delaware who came to Nemours Children’s as their only option for care. Through this donation, I am pleased to help Nemours Children’s further build upon its legacy by continuing to conduct research and developing new treatments to provide hope for these children.”
In a ceremony at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware, Jeanne Franzone, MD, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, was installed as the Elizabeth W. Snyder Endowed Chair in Osteogenesis Imperfecta and W.G. Stuart Mackenzie, MD, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, was installed as the Elizabeth W. Snyder Endowed Chair in Skeletal Dysplasia.
Dr. Franzone is the Surgical Director of Nemours’ multidisciplinary Osteogenesis Imperfecta Program providing comprehensive care for patients with OI from the prenatal period through age 35, addressing concerns from brittle bone fractures and spine problems to complex upper and lower extremity deformities. In addition, the OI program participates in a multicenter, national research consortium focused on the brittle bone disorder providing clinical trials and treatments that are not widely available. Dr. Franzone is a graduate of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons and completed her orthopedic surgery residency at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She completed fellowships in pediatric orthopedic surgery at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware and in pediatric limb deformity at the International Center for Limb Lengthening.
Dan McCarty, a Nemours’ patient with osteogenesis imperfecta and in attendance at the ceremony, shared how important Dr. Franzone has been in his life. “My family is just like everyone else’s in this room. We all sit around the dinner table and debate the MVP’s… LeBron, Curry, Tiger Woods… except in my house Dr. Franzone is on that list,” said Dan McCarty.
Dr. Mackenzie is the Surgical Director of Nemours’ multidisciplinary Skeletal Dysplasia Program. His medical expertise is focused on all forms of orthopedic treatment including the spine, hip and lower extremity deformity. Nemours is a nationally renowned destination with a comprehensive team of experts for patients with various forms of dwarfism, known as skeletal dysplasia. Nemours’ program provides the latest surgical and non-surgical treatments, as well as genetic testing to patients from birth to age 35. Dr. Mackenzie is a graduate of New York Medical College and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He completed his fellowship in pediatric orthopedic surgery at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware.
Natalie Corbett attended the endowed chair installation ceremony. Her 13-year-old son Isaac was diagnosed five days prior to his first birthday with a condition that causes skeletal problems and interferes with organ development. He was given a lifespan of approximately 5 years. The family, who lived in Virginia at the time, traveled to six different hospitals in five other states searching for answers before being referred to Dr. Mackenzie.
“Never had we seen the orthopedics, neurosurgery, and genetics teams in the same room, let alone on the same day, looking at the same films to determine how to care for Isaac. We knew then that we were in the right place,” Natalie recalled.
“Nemours Children’s is grateful to Mrs. Snyder for her generous donation and for using these funds to improve the health and well-being of children living with OI and skeletal dysplasia,” said Katherine Deans, MD, MHSc., Surgeon-in-Chief, Nemours Children ‘s Health, Delaware Valley. “Drs. Franzone and Mackenzie embody W. L. Gore & Associates’ passion for solving complex problems through their thoughtful and intentional approaches to improving the lives of some of our most vulnerable patients.”
Along with the creation of two endowed chair positions, the gift will also create an endowment that will be used to provide extracurricular programming for skeletal dysplasia and OI patients and their families from across the country. This programming will include life skills training and provide families with the opportunity to hear from Nemours experts and learn from other families who have navigated similar journeys and can share valuable insight.
“These two endowed chair positions along with the creation of extracurricular programming will be critical to advancing our work in OI and skeletal dysplasia and continue to be at the forefront of treatment of complex orthopedic conditions in children,” Suken A. Shah, MD, Chair of the Department of Orthopedics and Shands/MacEwen Endowed Chair of Orthopedic Surgery. “Nemours and the Department of Orthopedics are honored that Mrs. Snyder decided to invest in our work and further our vision of creating the healthiest generations of children.”
To learn more about Nemours’ pediatric orthopedic services, please visit: https://www.nemours.org/services/pediatric-orthopedics.html
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