More MS news articles for April 2001

Ruans donate $2 million to hospital

The gift will help Mercy's efforts against multiple sclerosis.

Register Staff Writer

Businessman John Ruan and his wife, Betty, gave $2 million Monday toward Mercy Medical Center's efforts to improve treatment for multiple sclerosis.

The brain disease has debilitated Betty Ruan and killed their daughter, Jayne Ruan Fletcher.

Their check is the latest in a history of gifts the family has given to Mercy's Ruan Neurology Clinic.

"This relationship has improved the lives of hundreds of people," said David Vellinga, the hospital's chief executive officer. Many of those patients wouldn't be alive without the improvements the Ruans have bankrolled, he said.

Dr. Michael Jacoby, the clinic's medical director, said Mercy sees more multiple-sclerosis patients than any other Iowa hospital.

He said the hospital eventually hopes to build a separate building to centralize its neurological services. "Our principal goal is to provide Iowans with the best clinical neurology anywhere."

Jacoby said researchers have made great strides in treatment. The disease attacks the coating of nerve fibers, reducing their ability to transmit signals. This can lead to problems with mobility.

Several drugs introduced over the past decade help slow the disease and ease its symptoms, Jacoby said.

"We're a ways from a cure, but there's a lot more we can do to improve people's lifestyle."

Copyright © 2001, The Des Moines Register.