Mike L Jezdimir Transverse Myelitis Foundation - This foundation is to help raise money and awareness for Transverse Myelitis for Spinal cord research at U.A.B.
Our Board of Directors
All Volunteering their time

Mike L. Jezdimir (Chairman)
Was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis on July 9, 1967. I moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1970 where I went to school to learn Tool and Die design and met my wife. We were married in 1971 and we started our family. We have two sons and four grand-kids that I’m very proud of.I graduated from Western Michigan University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. I worked for 33 years in engineering before I was forced to retire in 2004 due to this horrible disease.  In 2013 we started our foundation and now my passion is to work hard to raise money for research to help find a cure for Transverse Myelitis.

Jamie Purvis (Vice Chairman)
Jamie was born and raised in Hoover, Alabama. He and his wife, Rebecca, have resided in Alabaster for the past 10 years.
He graduated from W.A. Berry High School where he was a member of the drum line. He attended Auburn University, and remains a die-hard Auburn fan. 
After a stint as a rock star, he still enjoys jamming with his friends and remains very passionate about music.
Jamie is currently the Purchasing Manager for A.C. Legg located in Calera.  He has been with the company in some capacity for almost 20 years. Aside from drumming Jamie shares his passion for fitness with his wife and they regularly workout at Crossfit Alabaster 4-5 mornings a week.

Jamie and Rebecca are the parents of two precious rescue pups, Papi and Jigsaw.  

Amie B. (previously Jackson) McLain, M.D. is a board-certified physiatrist who has been involved in research and clinical care activities involving individuals with spinal cord injury or disorder since 1988. She is currently a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, and serves as Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is also director of the UAB PM&R Residency Program.  Her academic accomplishments encompass clinical practice, research and teaching. She is the Founder and Director of the nation's first Women's Clinic for the Disabled at the Spain Rehabilitation Center and has served on the NIH Committee for Health of Women with Disabilities. A grant by the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities allowed Dr. McLain to collaborate with the Children’s Hospital Network of Alabama to develop a Transition Clinic for women with Spina Bifida.  This was later expanded to a larger initiative for a multidiscipline clinic that serves all individuals with spina bifida who are of an older age (18-21 years old) and have need of transitioning out of pediatric and into adult health care. Dr McLain has served on the Physician Advisory Council for the Spina Bifida Association of America (SBAA).  She has published several research articles in peer-reviewed journals concerning health of women with disability, secondary complications following SCI, and outcome measures for clinical trials.  She has participated as Principle Investigator (PI), co-PI or investigator for grants funded by National Institute of Health (NIH), National Institute of Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Center for the Disease Control (CDC) and Industry.  Dr. McLain is currently Project Director for the Regional Model UAB Spinal Cord Injury Care System grant, funded (10/01/95-present) by NIDRR, and is responsible for establishing all system and all medical care policies governing the management of patients with SCI. Dr McLain is proud to be Chair of the UAB Department of PM&R, as well as part of all of the diverse faculty who contribute to the department’s notable reputation and substantial growth for research, clinical care and teaching.

Kerri Bell Pate 
Was born and raised in Alabama.  She and her husband reside in Alabaster, Alabama in south Shelby County. They have 3 children and their eldest child is a junior studying secondary education at the University of South Alabama.  Kerri's passions include watching her children play sports and working for non-profits.  Kerri is an avid long distance runner and will soon be running in her 15th and 16th 26.2 mile contest.  She is employed at American Village Citizenship Trust as the Visitor Center Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.  She became involved in the Mike Jezdimir TM Foundation in its beginning stages.  Mike touched her life with his will to get answers for those that fight this horrific disease and his tenacity for life.  She dreams of a day that she can devote her full days to working for a cure.

Debbie Santiago (Secretary)
Born in Manhattan, New York, Debbie grew up in Miami, Florida and later moved to Fort Lauderdale where she attended Cooper City High School and cheered for the Cooper City Cowboys. Moving to Alabama in 1984, Hoover is now her home as well as home to her daughter, son and three granddaughters. 

Debbie attended UAB and is now an Executive Assistant for a Birmingham real estate investment firm.  She enjoys all aspects of interior design, redesigning spaces and refurbishing furniture; but, her first passion will always be “her girls.” She also enjoys volunteering at her church, “tickling the ivories” once in a while and working with the Mike L. Jezdimir TM Foundation. Debbie has also tried her hand at writing, co-authoring Mike’s biography "I Will Not Sell Pencils".

Steve Crainich  (Member at Large)

Dr. Patrick Pritchard Neurosurgery Sub - Specialty Spine 

Elise Reed the newest member of our board of directors.  Elise is a graduate from Auburn University, a friend, and neighbor.  She and her family have supported our foundation from the beginning. You may have seen her volunteer at some of our fundraising events


Dr. Tara DeSilva (Scientific Adviser)
Dr. DeSilva is an Associate Staff in the Department of Neurosciences at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic 

Dr. DeSilva received her Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania and her postdoctoral fellowship from Harvard Medical School. 

Research Interests
Myelin in the central nervous system forms the insulation around axons which is necessary for the proper conductance of nerve impulses in the brain. Perturbations in the myelin sheath are involved in several neurological disorders including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury. Myelin is composed of cells called oligodendrocytes (OLs) which develop in distinct stages identified with specific markers i.e., precursor OLs (O4 sulfatide), immature OLs (O1 sulfatide), and mature OLs (MBP, myelin basic protein); the latter form the myelin sheath around axons. The factors that promote oligodendrocyte maturation to form myelin are not known. Our lab has demonstrated that when proteins that regulate glutamate are disrupted, there is a distinct decrease in the amount of myelin insulating the nerves. The goal of our laboratory is to understand how glutamatergic signaling between axons and oligodendrocytes promotes myelination. In vitro cell culture systems and in vivo animal models are being used to elucidate these signaling cascades. Understanding the cell biology of glutamate, the major neurotransmitter in the brain, and its role in myelination is important for the process of remyelination and how to activate this process as a potential therapy for cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury.

Legal Adviser
Gina Harris McDonald of Gina H. McDonald, LLC  and Associates

The Mike L Jezdimir Transverse Myelitis Foundation is a 501(C) (3) nonprofit charitable organization. 

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