Due to the generosity of our many strong supporters, the Lupus Program is able to continue its efforts to learn more about what causes lupus and discover new treatment options.
Michael H. and Marcia S. Klein Professorship in Rheumatic Diseases
Seven years ago, a diagnosis of both rheumatoid arthritis and lupus in the family of Michael and Marcy Klein led them to the University of Michigan and the work of W. Joseph McCune, MD. As the Kleins learned about Dr. McCune’s research - and about the 3.6 million Americans affected by the pain, inflammation, and debilitation of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus - they decided to establish a research fund in their names to advance the work being done at Michigan. The Klein Research Fund is also supporting a long-term study to determine the causes and treatment of premature heart disease in women with lupus. As they saw an increased need for lupus and other rheumatic disease research, Mr. and Mrs. Klein decided to make a new, significant gift from their family foundation and transform the research fund into a professorship that bears their name.
“Their significant philanthropic commitment by the Kleins is a testament to their resolve to make a strong impact on the diagnosis, treatment, and eventual cures for rheumatic diseases, especially lupus. Their gifts will make a difference for a great many patients not only in Michigan, but around the world. Most of these patients will never know the names of Michael and Marcia Klein, but their suffering will be mitigated by the medical breakthroughs made possible by their generosity.”
To make a gift, please visit the Michael and Marcia Klein Professorship in Rheumatic Diseases online giving page.
Herbert and Carol Amster
Twenty-six years ago, Herb Amster was about to leave for New York City to raise money for a new company he was starting in Ann Arbor when he was diagnosed with lupus. “They told me not to read anything about it,” he recalls. The reason: there was no good news to be had at that time about lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect nearly all the body’s organ systems.
“In New York I was so weak I had to have someone carry my bag for me,” Herb says. “My cousin said I had to be seen at New York University and made me an appointment. The physician I met with told me that I did indeed have lupus, and that I should meet with a fine doctor in Ann Arbor named Joe McCune at the University of Michigan. I called Dr. McCune on that Friday and by Monday afternoon I was admitted to U-M Hospital.”
“The first time we saw him we were terribly frightened,” Carol says. “And Dr. McCune said, ‘Call me Joe. Here’s my phone number.’ We still knew nothing but felt we had someone who cared.” These many years later Carol says she has a theory about doctors who choose to treat chronic diseases. “It’s a long-term relationship,” she says. “A lot of trust has to be developed.”
Dealing with a difficult chronic disease did not prevent the Amsters from enjoying great family happiness and business success. And all along the way, they have been deeply grateful for the optimism and skill of Dr. Joe McCune and his determination to keep his patient as healthy as possible. They supported some of Dr. McCune’s earliest research, and have continued to, now along with their grown children, who are also deeply grateful for their father’s continued well being.
“Herb’s disease affects a host of organ systems,” Carol says. “There’s probably no ‘-ologist’ he hasn’t seen. The hospital system in general gives us such a sense of safety. We feel very fortunate to be here; it’s one of the main reasons that we stay.”
Having been fortunate enough to reach the stage of life where estate planning is appropriate, and so grateful that they have, Herb and Carol Amster are leaving a bequest – a sizable portion of their IRA funds – to fund Dr. Joe McCune’s research and the rheumatology division well into the future. “Joe always encouraged me to live my life fully,” Herb says. “It is easy when you’re sick to give up, but he always encouraged me to do everything I hoped to do.”
“I call him the captain of our ship,” Carol says.
In Memory of Our Hero: Herbert Amster
Herb Amster lived a long and happy life. His life was a testament to his spirit, his determination, the loving relationship he enjoyed with his wife, Carol, his family, his friends, his colleagues and his community.
Over the years, Herb also established a wonderful partnership with his physician, Dr. Joe McCune, whom he admired greatly and who helped him maintain the highest quality of life possible and to understand the value and promise of lupus research.
A conscientious man with great courage and tenacity, Herb applied his entrepreneurial vision first to his business, and then later, to helping fight lupus.
To make a special gift in memory of Herb, please visit the Herbert S. and Carol L. Amster Lupus Research Fund online giving page.
Support Our Work
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Lupus Program. If you're considering making a donation to our program, we would like to thank you. To make a gift, please visit the Division of Rheumatology Lupus Research online giving page.