Rick and Carol Short
“When I joined the hospital’s development board in 1997, I came at it with a blank slate. Having never had a child in the hospital, there wasn’t a specific program or service that Carol and I felt compelled to support. We just knew we wanted to help.”
Carol became an active member of Friends of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, eventually serving on its board. Rick moved from the development board to the hospital’s foundation board, acting as its resource allocation committee chair for nearly a decade. Service on the hospital’s board of trustees followed.
“Through those experiences, I gained confidence in the hospital’s ability to do what’s right by its donors,” Rick says.
The Shorts’ gift to the Care and Cures campaign to support the creation of the CDI in 2005 was one of many tangible demonstrations of that confidence. “By that time, we came to think of the hospital as a community treasure due to the passion demonstrated by the doctors, nurses and other staff. We felt compelled to support an effort to find cures for childhood diseases. It meant a lot to us.”
Choosing to support musculoskeletal disease research, the Shorts took a tour the lab of Matthew Dobbs, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery, shares with Christina Gurnett, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and the CDI’s first faculty scholar. In 2007, the two physician/sciences teamed up in search of genetic sources of musculoskeletal diseases. Their exploration led them to mutations in early limb developmental pathway genes that are responsible for human clubfoot.
“We have been impressed by the creativity that goes into pediatric research,” Rick says. “We’ve also been impressed with the vision the CDI board demonstrates through the kinds of research projects it chooses to fund. We remain confident that the CDI will make good use of the donor funds it attracts.”