The Judith and Jean Pape Adams Charitable Foundation, named in memory of a Tulsa daughter and mother, has given the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation $100,000 for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Adams Foundation, which was established in 2004, provides contributions to Tulsa-area charities and to national organizations that conduct research on ALS. The deadly neurodegenerative disease claimed the life of Judith in September 1996, just four months after her initial diagnosis.
The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association estimates that as many as 30,000 Americans—most between the ages of 40 and 70—suffer from ALS, which is known for striking legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig. The disease attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in the gradual loss of motor function. It always is fatal.
“ALS attacks its victims in the prime of their lives, robbing of them of their mobility, autonomy and, finally, their lives,” said Penny Voss, OMRF’s vice president of development. “Thanks to the generosity of the Adams Foundation, our scientists will have more weapons to continue to fight this devastating disease.”
One-third of the Adams Foundation’s annual income is distributed to ALS research. Its gift to OMRF will support the work of scientists such as Kenneth Hensley, Ph.D., who is looking at novel approaches to treat the disease.
For example, Hensley now is studying whether acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, could slow the progression of ALS. He also is examining whether the drug thalidomide might help extend the lives of patients with ALS. Last year, Hensley co-authored a study in the Journal of Neuroscience indicating that thalidomide (which was withdrawn from the market for decades due to its link to birth defects) might slow the progression of the disease.
“We are delighted to support the important work being done at OMRF,” said Marcia Manhart, the Adams Foundation’s executive director and trustee. “I think anyone who is doing research and trying to find a cure for the disease is notable, and we make every attempt to follow through with our donors’ wishes.”
Jean Pape Adams was born in Ohio and later moved to Tulsa with her parents, Maude and Clyde Pape, where her father was treasurer of Shelby Oil Company. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with a degree in history and had one daughter, Judith. Jean pursued intellectual interests, traveled the world and loved the performing and visual arts. She donated her art collection, which ranged from folk art to Renaissance paintings, to the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa. She also established scholarships in her parents’ honor at the University of Tulsa. She died in 2003.
Judith Adams was passionate about her dogs and was a painter, potter, avid gardener and master cook. When ALS took her life in 1996, she, like her mother, left her personal art collection to the Philbrook Museum.
About the Adams Foundation:
The Judith and Jean Pape Adams Charitable Foundation was established in 2004 to support research in finding a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and enriching the lives of those in the Tulsa area.
Chartered in 1946, OMRF (www.omrf.org) is one of the nation’s oldest, most respected biomedical research institutes. Dedicated to understanding and curing human disease, the nonprofit institute focuses on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. It is home to Oklahoma’s only member of the National Academy of Sciences.