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December 26, 2003 - Image 64

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-26

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Join us
New Year's Eve
at Detroit

• Special New Year'S Menu
• Music & Dancin4
• Call for Reservations

Out Of Tragedy

Dorfman family funds professorship at
U-M children's hospital.


Special to the Jewish News

Ann Arbor


t the heart of healing, at the
core of medical research and
clinical care, are relationships
between people. It is these
relationships — the bond between
patient and physician, the collaboration
among scientists, and the love among
family members — that can intersect in
powerful ways to fight disease.
The $2 million Henry and
Mala Dorfinan Family
Professorship in Pediatric
Hematology/Oncology at the
University of Michigan was
established in September to fur-
ther research, clinical rare and
education in pediatric cancer,
which has profoundly touched
the Dorfman family.
In the mid-1980s, Henry and
Mala Dorfman's daughter, Gayle Weiss,
gave birth to her second child, Brandon.
Soon after birth, the baby was diagnosed
with congenital thrombocytopenia —
an extremely rare blood disorder. On the
advice of physicians, the family brought
Brandon to C.S. Mott Children's
Hospital at the University of Michigan.
They met Dr. Larry Boxer, a pediatric
oncologist who worked tirelessly to help
the child.
Mala Dorfman recalls that terrible
time: "You go through hell. You live

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from one minute to the next. We spent
months and months in the hospital,"
she said.
But the scientific understanding of
this devastating disease was in its earliest
stages. Despite every best effort,
Brandon died when he was 3.
There was no reason to suspect that
this was anything but a tragic fluke.
Gayle's third child, Devin, was born in
1990, and showed no sign of the disease.
But two years later, Logan was born.
Gayle's brother Joel recalls, "Logan
had an unusual skin color at
birth and we became frightened
immediately. When we called
Dr. Boxer, he couldn't believe
his ears. But fortunately, thera-
pies had advanced in the nine
years since Brandon's birth. It
was now possible to consider a
bone marrow transplant that
would be performed at the
University of Minnesota.
And Dr. Boxer was again involved
every step of the way, as if this battle for
life were for his very own son.
Today, Logan's blood is perfectly nor-
Henry Dorfman died in December
2001, but not before the seeds of the U-
M professorship were planted. The chair
was created to honor the relationship
between the Dorfman family and Dr.
Boxer and will fund research for many
years to come. Fl

Since 1948



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Below: Dr. Allen Lichten dean of the U-M Medical School, with Carol and Joel
Dorfman of Bloomfield Hills, Mala Dorfman of Franklin and Gayle Weiss of
Bloomfield Hills.

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