For two years, Jeff Raich saw specialists all over the United States for a mysterious and frightening lung condition. One specialist told Raich — who is in his forties and married with two young children — that he did not know what was wrong with him but that he probably had only six months to live and should put his affairs in order.
A Different Diagnosis
Instead, Raich put his fate in the hands of Dr. John Belperio in UCLA Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Belperio solved the mystery of Raich’s condition, correctly diagnosing him and treating him for a rare disease called pulmonary sarcoidosis. The cause of sarcoidosis, which produces inflammation of the lungs, is unknown, but, diagnosed correctly, it is quite manageable.
“Ending the uncertainty was the greatest gift my wife, Robin, and I could have gotten,” says Raich, co-president and co-founder of the global independent investment bank Moelis & Company. “We really wanted to give back to UCLA to show our gratitude to Dr. Belperio by supporting his research.”
A Gift of Gratitude
And give they have, with a gift of more than $1 million in unrestricted, current-use funds to be used for research under Belperio’s direction. He is using the funds to investigate the molecular mechanism of organ rejection in lung transplantation, with the goal of prolonging patient survival.
Says Robin Raich, “We owe our future to Dr. Belperio. We gave him the gift to support the research he wants to do, which happens to be to improve survival rates for lung transplant recipients. We know the funds are in the right hands.”
Published June 2016