BELMONT — Ann Romney knows a lot about political campaigns. Win or lose, there’s one thing you gain for sure: a network of people with an awful lot of money.
They couldn’t put her husband, Mitt, in the White House, but she’s now hoping everyone will get behind her to launch the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her goal is to create a new model for research and funding, setting out to raise $50 million over the next year to help find treatments and cures for five conditions: multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS), Parkinson’s, and brain tumors.
The Romneys are seeding the center with what Ann calls a “substantial gift.” And I trust that it is big. Before Mitt’s two failed presidential bids and before he served as our governor, he made a fortune as founder of Bain Capital, the Boston buyout firm.
This is hardly a vanity project for Mrs. Romney. She has lived for 16 years with MS, a chronic disease of the immune system in which nerves deteriorate, causing symptoms as severe as paralysis. Her doctor, Howard Weiner, is at the Brigham and the idea for a new center came two years ago following a routine visit. Romney’s MS, initially treated with steroids, has been in remission for more than a decade and is now managed by a healthy diet and exercise.