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Michael H. and Marcia S. Klein Professorship in Rheumatic Diseases
Seven years ago, a diagnosis of both rheumatoid arthritis and lupus in the family of Michael and Marcy Klein led them to the University of Michigan and the work of W. Joseph McCune, MD.

As the Kleins learned about Dr. McCune’s research — and about the 3.6 million Americans affected by the pain, inflammation and debilitation of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus — they decided to establish a research fund in their names to advance the work being done at Michigan. The Klein Research Fund is also supporting a long-term study to determine the causes and treatment of premature heart disease in women with lupus.  As they saw an increased need for lupus and other rheumatic disease research, Mr. and Mrs. Klein decided to make a new, significant gift from their family foundation and transform the research fund into a professorship bears their name.

“Their significant philanthropic commitment by the Kleins is a testament to their resolve to make a strong impact on the diagnosis, treatment and eventual cures for rheumatic diseases, especially lupus.  Their gifts will make a difference for a great many patients not only in Michigan, but around the world.  Most of these patients will never know the names of Michael and Marcia Klein, but their suffering will be mitigated by the medical breakthroughs made possible by their generosity.”


Herbert and Carol Amster

 Twenty-six years ago Herb Amster was about to leave for New York City to raise money for a new company he was starting in Ann Arbor when he was diagnosed with lupus. “They told me not to read anything about it,” he recalls. The reason: there was no good news to be had at that time about lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect nearly all the body’s organ systems.

“In New York I was so weak I had to have someone carry my bag for me,” Herb says. “My cousin said I had to be seen at New York University and made me an appointment. The physician I met with told me that I did indeed have lupus, and that I should meet with a fine doctor in Ann Arbor named Joe McCune at the University of Michigan. I called Dr. McCune on that Friday and by Monday afternoon I was admitted to U-M Hospital.”

“The first time we saw him we were terribly frightened,” Carol says. “And Dr. McCune said, ‘Call me Joe. Here’s my phone number.’ We still knew nothing but felt we had someone who cared.” These many years later Carol says she has a theory about doctors who choose to treat chronic diseases. “It’s a long-term relationship,” she says. “A lot of trust has to be developed.”

Dealing with a difficult chronic disease did not prevent the Amsters from enjoying great family happiness and business success. And all along the way, they have been deeply grateful for the optimism and skill of Joe McCune and his determination to keep his patient as healthy as pos­sible. They supported some of Dr. McCune’s earliest research, and have con­tinued to, now along with their grown children, who are also deeply grateful for their father’s continued well being.

“Herb’s disease affects a host of organ systems,” Carol says. “There’s prob­ably no ‘-ologist’ he hasn’t seen. The hospital system in general gives us such a sense of safety. We feel very fortunate to be here; it’s one of the main reasons that we stay.”

Having been fortunate enough to reach the stage of life where estate planning is appropriate, and so grateful that they have, Herb and Carol Amster are leaving a bequest – a sizeable portion of their IRA funds – to fund Joe McCune’s research and the rheumatology division well into the future. “Joe always encouraged me to live my life fully,” Herb says. “It is easy when you’re sick to give up, but he always encouraged me to do everything I hoped to do.”

“I call him the captain of our ship,” Carol says.

In Memory of Our Hero: Herbert Amster

Herb Amster lived a long and happy life. His life was a testament to his spirit, his determination, the loving relationship he enjoyed with his wife, Carol, his family, his friends, his colleagues and his community.

Over the years, Herb also established a wonderful partnership with his physician, Dr. Joe McCune, whom he admired greatly and who helped him maintain the highest quality of life possible and to understand the value and promise of lupus research.

A conscientious man with great courage and tenacity, Herb applied his entrepreneurial vision first to his business, and then later, to helping fight lupus.

The Amster Lupus Butterfly Walk, which bears his name, is a living memorial to his zest for life and his unending desire to help others. We wish to dedicate the 10th anniversary of the walk to celebrate Herb's extraordinary life and legacy.

To make a special gift in memory of Herb, click here, call 866.860.0026, or mail a check payable to the University of Michigan referencing "In Memory of Herb" to: University of Michigan, Department of Internal Medicine Development Office, 1000 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

The Amster Lupus Butterfly Walk

The Amster Lupus Butterfly Walk is held in Woodhaven, Michigan, every August.  Since 2002, when the walk was first held, this community event has increased national awareness and raised more than $270,000 to support our research in lupus.  For more information about the Amster Lupus Butterfly Walk, including how to participate, volunteer and support the walk, please visit www.amsterlupus.org or contact Linda at (734) 671-2367 or email at butterflywalk@gmail.com


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