Representatives of steel recycler Gerdau’s Knoxville mill recently donated $6,000 to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for medical research in memory of Arlan Piepho, former Gerdau Knoxville vice president and general manager.
The funds, raised through two golf tournaments held in 2017, were donated to research seeking to find better treatments for primary amyloidosis, a rare and devastating disease that took Piepho’s life at age 63. Amyloidosis occurs when abnormal proteins known as amyloids build up in organs such as the heart and kidney, which can lead to life-threatening organ failure.
The donation supports the work of a research team led by Dr. Jonathan Wall, director of UT Medical Center’s Amyloidosis and Cancer Theranostics Program.
“Support from companies like Gerdau allows us to make a difference in the lives of amyloidosis patients,” Wall said. “These funds are critical to the success of our research and to help support new clinical trials.”
The donation comes at an important time for the research program, which submitted to the Food and Drug Administration in March information on its amyloid imaging agent, the first of its kind in the country. Wall anticipates that the drug should enter a Phase I clinical trial at UT Medical Center within a few months.
Held at Egwani Farms, the tournaments were successful in drawing a large number of participants and raising important research funds.
“As always, these golf tournaments were a fun time for a worthy cause,” Gerdau Vice President and General Manager Johnny Miller said. “We are honored to remember Arlan by supporting research that will benefit amyloidosis patients.”
Since Piepho’s death in 2011, Gerdau employees have raised nearly $14,000 to support amyloidosis research at UT Medical Center.
Gerdau (pronounced “Grr-DOW”) is a leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special steel in the world. Each year, Gerdau recycles millions of tons of scrap metals into steel products, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable development in the regions where it operates. Gerdau’s North American long steel division manufactures products for the construction, automotive, agricultural and energy markets. Learn more about Gerdau in North America by visiting http://www.gerdau.com/northamerica.
In 2016, Gerdau won the Knoxville Chamber Impact Award in recognition of its broad community support of its Lonsdale neighbors.