Hamdan award winner donates prize money
Dubai - Kaplan began a pioneering second career in FOP research, work that led to the discovery of the FOP gene.
Frederick S. Kaplan, a renowned surgeon who was awarded Dh250,000 for his research work on fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) by the Grand Hamdan International Award, has donated the money as a gift in memory of his parents.
In a letter sent to Khaleej Times, Kaplan said: "The award, which is intended to recognise dedication to alleviating human suffering through research and standard services, comes with a substantial monetary prize that I would like to donate to the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association (IFOPA) as a gift in memory of my beloved parents, Harold and Elaine Kaplan."
In 1989, Kaplan, an orthopaedic surgeon, met a child with FOP, a rare and disabling disorder in which the body forms a second skeleton of heterotopic bone.
Motivated to know and do more, Kaplan began a pioneering second career in FOP research, work that led to the discovery of the FOP gene, the seminal target for all therapeutic efforts for this condition.
In his letter, Kaplan said: "My parents made it possible for me to attend medical school and to obtain the education that ultimately led me to a scientific, medical and emotional journey dedicated to the FOP community over the last 30 years.
That journey - which has truly been a collaborative effort with so many amazing researchers, clinicians, patients and families around the world - has changed my life and has led to the breakthroughs that were honoured by the Grand Hamdan International Award in Medicine. And that, in my most heartfelt dreams, will lead in the not-too-distant future to the advances in therapy that we all so desperately desire. "Research always looks to the future. It is essential in making a transformative long-term difference, but we must not forget the present - the moment we are living in - the now. My parents understood that well, and they instilled a deep value for appreciating the quality of the day through their actions ," he said.
"My mother suffered from the ravages of multiple sclerosis for over 50 years. My father dedicated his life to making her more independent and comfortable and helping her live each day to the fullest. I hope that a gift like this will symbolise how grateful I am to both of them for showing me the importance of the quality of life."