Coldwell Banker CARES Foundation Presents Check to Crohn’s and Colitis Clinic

In order to help improve care and raise awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate CARES Foundation recently made a generous donation to the Elaine and Sydney Sussman Family Crohn’s and Colitis Clinic at UHealth, University of Miami Health System. Representatives from the foundation visited the clinic June 12 to present a ceremonial check for $25,000 to Director Maria T. Abreu, M.D.

The gift is being used to name one of the clinic’s four state-of-the-art infusion suites, and is one of the foundation’s largest single gifts of the year. Leading the effort to support the clinic was Coldwell Banker senior vice president and general counsel Mitchell Cook. His son, Brandon, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1999.

“Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are illnesses that don’t get a lot of attention, so to be able to contribute to it in this way is very gratifying,” said Cook.
Cook is an avid fundraiser and advocate for Crohn’s disease research and treatment. His family is heavily involved in the Keymorada Fishing Tournament that benefits the clinic and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

His colleagues at Coldwell Banker have also long supported his fundraising efforts, and Cook says they decided to help even further when the clinic opened in April 2013. Brandon is a longtime patient of Dr. Abreu.

“The foundation recognized the importance of the clinic and Dr. Abreu’s expertise and vision and how important it is to the community,” Cook said.

The donation is in support of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami and was presented to Abreu in front of the plaque in the infusion suite that now bears the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate CARES name.

Clark Toole, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Florida, said the gift supports their mission of giving back to the communities in which their members live and work. He says knowing families that deal with Crohn’s disease on a daily basis provides extra meaning to the donation.

“Crohn’s disease touches more people than probably the general population is aware of,” Toole said. “So this is a great cause, and certainly a great facility.”
The Elaine and Sydney Sussman Family Crohn’s and Colitis Clinic is the only one of its kind in the southeastern United States. The cutting-edge facility provides the highest level of interdisciplinary clinical care for patients with chronic digestive disorders in one dedicated location, while also supporting laboratory research that could lead to a cure. Crohn’s and colitis, also known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD, affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans.

Located on the first floor of the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, the clinic offers a reception area, four examination and treatment rooms, a diagnostic endoscopy center and four infusion areas.

Abreu says her team is centered on the goal of providing comprehensive treatment, in an environment where patients and their families feel comfortable. A part of the innovative care is offering amenities for patients who are receiving medicine infusions, which often takes several hours.

“We have taken the extra step of offering nice things, including the fact that each patient, while they are getting infused, has privacy if they want, as well as heat and massage in the chair, and their own television. They are things that we couldn’t afford without gifts like this from Coldwell Banker,” said Abreu, professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, the Martin H. Kalser Chair in Gastroenterology, and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate CARES Foundation is the charitable arm of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. Since its inception in 2001, the foundation has raised millions of dollars for local not-for-profit charities and programs throughout Florida.

“I think it is so important because we have employees and associates in more than 90 offices in Florida who support the foundation, which makes it possible to support local charities and gifts like this,” said Duff Rubin, regional senior vice president, Southeast Florida, for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

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