(L-R) Jane-Ashley, Saana, Peter, Max, and Jay on opening
Peter chose the Foundation as the beneficiary, and his family – wife Jane-Ashley and their children Saana Miklová, Max Skinner, and Jay Everett – supported his decision. In Peter’s words, “This came from my heart. I thought this was a meaningful way to help.”
When the family discovered that Jay had a bleeding hemangioma on his cerebellum, they sought advice from Dr. John Jane, Sr., who served as co-chair of the Dept. of Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia Health System before his retirement in 2006. Fellow Neurosurgery co-chair and founding chairman of the Foundation, Neal F. Kassell, MD, also helped advise the family.
“Neal was kind enough to hold our hand through various options. We were a few years away from focused ultrasound being able to help us specifically. But it’s people like Neal who call you back at 3 o’clock in the morning,” said Peter. “And, it is organizations like the Focused Ultrasound Foundation that take us away from the petty antics of politics today and remind us of what is important and what is an essential and vital component to being human.”
Dr. Jane ultimately guided the family to the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, where Dr. Robert Spetzler performed successful surgery on Jay’s hemangioma in September of 2016. Peter recalled, “It was a frightening and humbling glimpse into the realities of surgery as it relates to the brain and, most especially, to someone you love. Add that to the whole dysfunctionality of the medical insurance system across the country, and it just woke us up. What Neal Kassell is trying to do and what the Foundation represents is a more affordable and less invasive solution.”
Peter thought about how to make a meaningful contribution to the Foundation. He decided to donate proceeds from the sale of artwork that he had spent years on – paintings that represent different periods and places to him and his family. “I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on these paintings – in some cases 5 to 10 years. It's rewarding to contribute to the mission of the Foundation with your heart.”
Kassell said, “Peter is a great friend to me personally and to the Foundation. For him to make a contribution like this – selling work that is cherished and meaningful to him and his family – that says it all. We are profoundly grateful.”
Jay has fully recovered from his surgery and is doing great. Said Peter, “There’s nothing I need at this point in my life except healthy children. That’s every parent’s wish.”