St. Louis Area Couple Gives More Than $5 Million to Support Cancer Research, Companion Animal Medicine
MU College of Veterinary Medicine estate gift will honor family veterinarians
February 11th, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Cottrell and Kay Fox, residents of Town and Country, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, have given an estate gift of more than $5 million to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. Through their generous gift, Cottrell and Kay want to recognize the work of their long-time family veterinarians James Schuessler and Fred Bendick from St. Louis, both alumni of the college.
“It gives us a great deal of pleasure to be able to give this gift to the university and the College of Veterinary Medicine as well as honor two great friends and veterinarians in James Schuessler and Fred Bendick,” Cottrell Fox said. “Our pets and our family have received great care and benefited a great deal from the important research being done at the university. Kay and I have been touched by cancer in many ways, through family and good friends, and our hope is that this gift will help stimulate more lifesaving research in the future.”
The Foxes’ gift will support an endowment in companion animal medicine in honor of their family veterinarians, Schuessler and Bendick. The gift also will fund studies in comparative oncology, which is research to develop therapies and cures for people and animals with naturally occurring cancer, as well as to enhance training for graduate students and veterinary oncology residents.
The Foxes’ interest in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine first began when their family dog was treated for cancer at the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital many years ago. As a part of that cancer treatment, MU veterinarians used a drug developed at MU called Samarium. Years later, Kay Fox’s father was treated for cancer using the same drug. Samarium was only made available for use on human patients because of the years of research by MU scientists in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Carolyn Henry, an MU professor of veterinary oncology, says this gift will be used to develop more effective methods of cancer diagnosis and treatment in both animals and humans.
“This gift will greatly enhance our comparative oncology research abilities,” Henry said. “This truly will have an impact on people. What we learn through our comparative oncology work can translate into improved options for cancer care in people. This gift shows the Foxes’ recognition of the power of having a ‘one health’ approach to medical and scientific discovery and will go a long way in moving our important research forward.”
Henry also is the facilitator of the One Health, One Medicine area of Mizzou Advantage. The goals of One Health, One Medicine are to create and strengthen faculty networks and propel Mizzou’s research, instruction and other activities related to comparative medicine to the next level.
The Foxes, concerned with what would happen to their beloved pets should their pets outlive them, reached an agreement with the College of Veterinary Medicine several years ago. The college agreed to ensure that their pets would be cared for for the duration of the pets’ lives. This idea helped stimulate the College of Veterinary Medicine “Perpetual Pet Care Program,” which provides comfortable homes for pets whose owners are temporarily incapacitated or who have passed away. This program can provide peace of mind for pet owners who want to ensure their pets will be cared for in homes after they are no longer able to care for their pets themselves. To place their pets in the program, donors can establish an endowment through the program.
“The Foxes have shown their dedication and love for their pets by giving us the wonderful idea for the Perpetual Pet Care Program,” Neil Olson, dean of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, said. “Also, by generously funding an endowment for companion animal care and comparative oncology research, Kay and Cottrell Fox are not only establishing a legacy that will allow us to provide the highest quality care for our animal clients, but they are also helping to ensure that we can continue our quest to find treatments and cures for people and animals with cancer.”
Cottrell Fox is a 1971 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.