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VOL. 126 | NO. 236 | Monday, December 5, 2011

Eric Trump Foundation Donates $1M to St. Jude

By Aisling Maki

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Eric Trump, the son of business magnate Donald Trump and executive vice president of Development and Acquisitions at The Trump Organization, traveled to Memphis Friday to present a $1 million check from his nonprofit Eric Trump Foundation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Eric Trump, right, presents a $1 million check to Dr. James Downing, left, scientific director of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Richard Shadyac Jr., center, ALSAC CEO, from the Eric Trump Foundation. The funds will be used to help support research of acute megakaryocytic leukemia. Eric, his brother Donald Jr., Donald’s wife Vanessa, and Trump foundation executives and supporters were on hand for the donation. (Photo: Lance Murphey)

The Eric Trump Foundation, which works to improve the lives of children battling life-threatening or debilitating medical conditions, has been raising money for St. Jude through various events for several years.

“We started five years ago and our first check was in the $200,000 range, and we grew that steadily over time,” Trump said. “Five years later, going through the worst economy imaginable, we’re at the $1 million mark, which is a really special number, and we continue to grow that year after year.”

Outside the Danny Thomas Pavilion, Trump presented the check to Dr. James Downing, St. Jude scientific director, and Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, St. Jude’s fundraising arm.

“Eric and the entire foundation have been incredible ambassadors for St. Jude,” Shadyac said. “Eric is now running the single largest golf tournament that we have in the United States, and he just presented St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a check for $1 million, which represents the proceeds of what he raised for St. Jude this year. We’re so lucky to have Eric and the entire Eric Trump Foundation.”

Shadyac said Trump’s support goes beyond raising money and includes garnering support in the fight against childhood cancer from some powerful allies.

“You should know that not only does he give a million dollars to St. Jude this year, but he opens up his rolodex to St. Jude,” Shadyac said. “Literally, I can sit in his office in New York and he will make phone calls to CEOs of other corporations and urge them to get engaged with St. Jude, and he has done that regularly. He also does that with celebrity cultivation, as well, and has turned on multiple celebrities to St. Jude … .”

Trump was joined by his brother Donald Jr., Donald’s wife Vanessa, and key executives and supporters of the New York-based Eric Trump Foundation. The donation will help support research of acute megakaryocytic leukemia, a rare form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which accounts for about 10 percent of all AML cases and has an overall survival rate of about 25 percent.

“It’s a highly aggressive form of childhood leukemia, and as part of the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, we made a new discovery on the mutation that’s driving this type of leukemia,” Downing said. “The funds that Eric has provided are allowing us to take that initial discovery and to actually move forward on that discovery and see if it will help us to better diagnose those patients who have this kind of leukemia, and if we can -- by using the information we’ve gained up to this point -- get new information that will help us better treat these children.”

A plaque outside the laboratory recognizing the Eric Trump Foundation’s commitment to St. Jude was unveiled Friday, as well.

Trump, who describes himself as “very competitive,” said his goal is for the Eric Trump Foundation to be “the most successful charity that St. Jude has, and we’re going to fund them for many years to come. They do incredible work; they really are miracle workers. The research really translates into tangible results and that’s what’s important.

“When you go around the hospital, you see these sick children suffering from things that we can’t even imagine simply because they were dealt an unlucky straw. You want to support people who can make tangible steps to find cures for these kids. So we’re going to do that for many years to come.”

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