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Donor Spotlight: Research Support Fund Renamed to Honor Grandson

Steve Yoder’s grandson, Henry “Hank” Hollis, was born three weeks early in February 2017. A few weeks after he was taken home from the hospital, Hank wouldn’t wake up. His head had begun to swell, and it was obvious that something serious was happening, says Yoder, associate provost at UAB, an assistant professor at UAB’s Collat School of Business, and a member of the boards of directors for both the Callahan Eye Hospital Health Care Authority and the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama.

It took some time to diagnose Hank, but doctors at Children’s of Alabama eventually discovered the problem. Hank had toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic infection that can be transmitted to the child during pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis also can affect vision.

Hank was in intensive care for several weeks. His brain swelled again while recovering, and he underwent emergency neurosurgery to relieve it. At the time, the family was told that if he went six months without anymore swelling, then the surgery would be considered a success; Hank passed this milestone in late 2017. He remains under the care of multiple specialists, including an infectious disease physician, endocrinologist, and neurologist. UAB ophthalmologists Martin Cogen, MD, and Martin Thomley, MD, are helping ensure that Hank’s vision is protected and preserved as best as possible.

“You can tell he isn’t quite seeing normally, but he’s a happy baby,” Yoder says. “He enjoys watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’ because of all the colors on the wheel. This gives us hope because we know he’s seeing something. It might not be perfect vision, but he can see something.”

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

The family is aware that Hank’s vision in at least one eye will be limited but remains hopeful that the other eye will function normally. As he passes his first birthday, much is still undetermined regarding Hank’s health and course of treatment. One thing is certain for Yoder and his family, though: They are grateful for the care Hank received and optimistic about his future.

Several years prior to Hank’s birth, Yoder and his wife, Louise, created a research fund called the Stephen and Louise Yoder Fund in Ophthalmology. Yoder says it was important to his family that the fund be renamed the Henry M. Hollis Support Fund in Ophthalmology, with the objective of funding pediatric eye research.

“Research is vital. It makes for better patient care, and we want other families to have the same hopeful, positive results we are praying for,” Yoder says. “We sometimes take it for granted that physicians know all they need to know about medicine, but this isn’t the case. Accomplishments and achievements in science can only be made through research, and this is why we give. Research provides hope when the doctors don’t have all of the answers. We feel that helping fund research is a gift of hope for the future.”

To learn more about supporting the Henry M. Hollis Support Fund in Ophthalmology, please contact Morgan Quarles at nmrobinson@uabmc.edu or 205-325-8112.