Dear Members and Friends,
Pause with me, will you, in the light of the holiday season, and let’s reflect on your mission and work.
Sharing gifts, as tokens of love and friendship and as acts of charitable commitment to the common good is a hallmark of the holidays. So, it’s hard not to acknowledge the extraordinary gift of $50 Million made by the Fralin family to Virginia Tech to accelerate the recruitment and retention of world leading researchers to undertake breakthrough basic and translational biomedical research. These resources for the newly and aptly named Fralin Biomedical Research Institute will complement the recent investment by the state and Virginia Tech in new facilities – facilities under construction which will double the size and technical capabilities of that prodigious young institution. And days later Virginia Tech Foundation and Carilion Clinic announced creation of a new $7 million VTC Seed Fund to provide the smaller investments at an earlier and riskier stage than the existing VTC Innovation Fund and other available sources of capital, which are needed for the commercialization ecosystem to thrive.
The twinkling of stars and wonders of the winter sky create more holiday ambiance. Last week you helped put one more star in the sky. NASA announced the successful launch of a rocket carrying supplies and scientific experiments to the Space Station. One experiment was created by the young Virginia company, Tympanogen. Hearing the news, memories of some of the transcendent moments of early flights to space came to mind - earthlings experiencing the first sight of an “Earthrise” over the moon’s horizon, astronauts so moved by their celestial point of view they recited “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” one Christmas flight.
Just as sure as there will be love and kindness and wonder this Holiday Season, there will be illness and pain. Contagion takes no holiday. New medicines and devices help us gain ground, but lack of access to care vexes us still. And just as sure, many of you will skimp on your vacation, sneak into the lab, answer emails before the kids get up, set up appointments for JPM during TV timeouts, track legislation while shopping at the mall, and drive the order your customer desperately need to the shipper yourself to make sure it goes out. Because you’ve seen the Earthrise. Because you know people are hurting and you know people are waiting for the breakthroughs you hope to make. What you all do in your work, taking the mysteries of life science and the challenges and wonders of the human body, of animals and plants, and finding new ways to keep us healthy, heal our illnesses, feed us and help provide our energy and environmental needs – these are your daily gifts to your families and ours, and families across the world, and to future generations. You take wonders beyond our ken and work and work and work them toward reality, sometimes against obstacles few can really appreciate. Sometimes you succeed; frequently you fail and learn and go back in the next morning and begin again. You lasso the moon for us.
So, whether you are celebrating the winter holidays with joy and mirth or celebrating the holy days of your faith, we wish you and your loved ones respite, renewal and refreshment for your journey.
We feel so fortunate to know each of you, and to have a chance to help you.
Best wishes from Caron, Cassandra, Sherri and Jeff
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