RIC Donor Stories
RIC donors are a network of generous investors who all share the same spirit of discovery, commitment to excellence, and most importantly, hope for what is possible. Meet some of our donors who were eager to share why they support RIC.
Co-Chair, RIC Foundation Board
As a longtime volunteer, board member, and donor of RIC, Connie Coolidge reflects on why she continues to support RIC's mission:
"RIC is very important to me and my involvement with the hospital spans over 35 years. This happened because of the mission of RIC was - and is - so compelling. RIC is a place of hope and joy for me; I have seen people overcoming tremendous odds and seemingly insurmountable barriers. It has been an inspiration to me. I am honored to be a part of this dynamic institution.
I chose to support the Advance Human Ability Campaign because RIC is the best in the world for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. We have outgrown our current building. I believe in the mission, the staff, the doctors, researchers and patients. They all deserve a world class building in which to advance human ability."
RIC Foundation Board Member
As a young boy he fell out of atree and injured his arm. Because his family had limited means, his medical treatment was inadequate and he ultimately lost his left arm to serious infection. That limitation did not hold him back, however, as evidenced by his rigorous work in school, which earned him a scholarship to the University of Illinois.“Morrie,” as he is known to friends and colleagues,believes that it is “…very good for our nation to help people attain independence and the ability to contribute to society.”
He began working for women’s clothier MJ Petrie during summers in high school and college and ended up spending 21 years with the firm, rising to corporate vice president. Morrie moved on to start his own successful and diversified business enterprise, which has included real estate development, restaurants,currency exchange, factoring and a detective agency.
Morrie and his partner, Lori Komisar, originally became engaged with RIC some five years ago and recently decided to make a commitment to support the construction of the new Ability Institute of RIC. Elaborating on his thinking Morrie states, “RIC gives people life and hope and possibility. The new research hospital will go above and beyond in every respect and, because of it, people with limiting conditions will not be left behind …they will have improved opportunities to participate in life and work and to play meaningful roles in their communities.”
“He knew, if he could get here, he would receive world-class therapy,” Walter, the clinical operations manager of the Prosthetics Orthotics Clinical Center, said of his brother. “As he completed his inpatient work at another hospital, we would say, ‘You’ll get to RIC and it will be great.’”As Walter Afable’s brother battled an illness that eventually resulted in a bilateral lung transplant, the two had one goal in mind—get to RIC to get better.
Unfortunately, Walter’s brother passed away in 2008 before reaching RIC, but Walter says the memory of his brother is what prompted him to return to Chicago and what drives him to support RIC as an employee and a donor. Walter said he was lucky to find RIC, where he could continue to build his career in prosthetics and orthotics while working in an exploratory, innovative environment.
“I love being here because it’s a beacon of hope for others and because RIC believes in investing in new technology,” he noted. “It’s great that RIC believes so strongly in driving ability and research. We know there’s something better out there, and everyone here is committed to making it happen.”
He noted that the collaborative nature of The AbilityLab will be groundbreaking for total patient care and support. “When we’re all in the room together—therapists, researchers, clinicians, and more—we can make great things happen quickly.”
Walter’s gift was made in memory and celebration of his brother. “I wouldn’t be here if not for him,” he remarked. “I give in his memory and for people like him who look to RIC as their chance for recovery. RIC is a source of inspiration for so many people. People look to us early in their recovery and think, ‘RIC is
going to help me.’ I want to keep that hope alive.”