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