The following is a letter released today by the Concussion Legacy Foundation from Lisa McHale, entitled:
A Selfless Act Can Make All The Difference
This year we have made enormous strides in the fight against the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
In 2008, I lost my husband Tom to CTE. The Concussion Legacy Foundation reached out to me, and Tom became the 2nd former NFL player diagnosed with the disease by our researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank.
Since then, I’ve joined the team as our Director of Family Relations, where I coordinate the clinical research process and provide comfort and support for our now hundreds of Legacy Families who have made the same decision to donate the brain of their loved one.
Every day it becomes more apparent how desperately we need an effective treatment for this disease, and I’m proud to say in 2016 we have taken major steps toward this goal. Earlier this year, Dr. Ann McKee led the development of the first government criteria for the pathological diagnosis of CTE. Our brain bank allowed for a study that discovered how CTE spreads. Finally, we’ve made progress on how CTE can be detected in the living. These three advancements are crucial steps toward finding a treatment for this devastating disease.
Researchers affiliated with the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank — which has diagnosed CTE in 220 brains, accounting for over 70 percent of the world’s cases — published 11 articles in medical journals this year. In addition, over 40 research projects from around the world have used tissue shared from the Brain Bank. This includes researchers from leading institutions including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Mayo Clinic.
We never would have made this progress without the selfless contribution of our Legacy Donors (brain donors) and their families, who I have the honor of working with on a daily basis. Please take a moment and read the stories of those who make our research possible: