The Indiana University School of Medicine has received a $2 million gift from the children of Indianapolis philanthropists Sidney and Lois Eskenazi. The gift will be used to recruit a researcher who will work to find new ways to treat, diagnose and prevent cancer.
The gift was made by David Eskenazi, Sandra Eskenazi and Dori Eskenazi Meyers as a way to honor their parents. David Eskenazi said the gift was inspired by their mother’s lung cancer diagnosis several years ago. She was treated by IU oncologist Lawrence Einhorn.
"At the initial diagnosis, the results weren’t good, but we were very lucky and it was operable, so it’s been a success story for us," said David Eskenazi. "I understand that’s not the case for everybody. But it’s always getting better because of people like Dr. Einhorn, the individuals he works with at the IU School of Medicine, and the research they do. Year after year they’re making cancer more treatable and curable. My sisters and I are honored to be able to do something to recognize that."
Einhorn, a professor of oncology at the IU School of Medicine, will lead the search for a researcher to fill the position, which will be known as the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Professor of Hematology-Oncology. The person selected will join the team at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.
"This gift will help us find new ways to treat and cure cancer," said Jay Hess, dean of the IU School of Medicine. "We have an excellent group of cancer researchers at Indiana University, and we want to add to that expertise. We are particularly interested in precision medicine, or learning how to customize care for each individual patient. An endowed chair gives us the opportunity to recruit someone to Indiana who is at the forefront of his or her field."
The Eskenazi family have made several philanthropic donations throughout the state in recent years. In May, Sidney and Lois Eskenazi made a gift of $15 million for renovations to the IU Art Museum. In 2011, gave $40 million toward the new hospital that replaced Wishard Hospital in downtown Indianapolis.
Last October, Sandra Eskenazi made a $5 million leadership gift to Eskenazi Health for what was named the Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation.