Dr. Murray Feingold: Health care relies more on charitable donations

Dr. Murray Feingold More Content Now

I am sitting in the dugout of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. As I type this article on my laptop computer, I await the arrival of Hall of Fame legend, Carl Yastrzemski.

What does this have to do with health you may ask?

The reason why Yastrzemski is coming to Fenway Park is because he is participating in a charity event that both of us have been involved with for over 25 years - the Genesis Foundation for Children.

Today, the health-care system is relying more on charitable dollars than ever before. In the past, more of the money spent on health care, especially for research, came from the federal government. The National Institutes of Health is a good example.

However, in recent years funding by the NIH has decreased substantially. Concomitantly, there has been a significant growth of charities that have helped relieve the loss of federal funding.

Most diseases now have charities to help fund research to conquer them.

Professional fund-raisers act as executive directors of these charities with the mission to raise as much money as possible. They have to come up with innovative ways to accomplish this, with the latest novel approach being people dumping ice water on their heads (called “The Ice Bucket Challenge,” it has been very successful).

Many times, not only do specific diseases have charities, but now many celebrities have their own charitable foundations. Large and small corporations have substantially increased the amount of money they give to charities. And the number of people who participate in charitable events has significantly increased. And that’s a good thing.

I have been associated with many retired athletes who attend these charitable events. And what do they usually talk about? Their health.

Because of all of the years they have participated in sports, their various joints have taken a beating. Many of them have had hip or knee replacements. They are frequently in pain.

But when asked if they would do it all over again and still pursue being an athlete, they all responded that they would, despite their present health maladies. But thank goodness for former athletes such as Carl Yastrzemski and others who use their celebrity status to raise money to help others who are in need.

The health care system now relies on such charitable income.


Massachusetts-based Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.