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Upstate Foundation establishes $1.5 million endowed professorship with proceeds from Paige’s Butterfly Run

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the first Paige’s Butterfly Run, a $1.5 million endowed professorship was established at the Upstate Foundation primarily with event proceeds, and Melanie Comito, MD, was appointed the Paige Yeomans Arnold Endowed Professor in Pediatric Oncology. The announcement was made by Gregory Conners, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Upstate Medical University, and Upstate vice president for development Eileen Pezzi.

“We couldn’t be more excited, humbled and grateful to have helped steward the generous gifts made by Paige’s Butterfly Run through the years,” Pezzi said. “With this new professorship, Paige’s parents, Chris Arnold and Ellen Yeomans, and all of the participants in this beloved annual event have made a permanent, self-sustaining and especially impactful contribution to the fight against pediatric cancer here in our region.” 

“It’s a pleasure to bestow Dr. Comito with this honor,” Conners added. “It’s testimony to her dedication and leadership in pediatric hematology oncology.”   

A professor of pediatrics, Comito is division chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, and director of the William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate Medical University. 

Paige’s Butterfly Run has raised $3.7 million since its inception in 1997 to support cancer research and patient care at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The event is an enduring tribute to Paige Yeomans Arnold, who succumbed to leukemia at the age of 8. It is planned and implemented by her parents, Chris Arnold and Ellen Yeomans, with the assistance of the Upstate Foundation, particularly Toni Gary, Pezzi noted.

“The endowed professorship was a long-term goal for the event,” Pezzi explained. “There were always many short-term priorities including unmet patient and family needs, nursing education, and other cancer related programs and services. Because the Foundation valued the endowment, we offered matching gift money from time to time, and contributed more than $200,000 toward its establishment.”

“An endowed professorship is a significant contribution to Upstate and, quite honestly, the Central New York community as a whole,” said Conners. “On behalf of everyone who will be positively impacted by this lasting gift – clinical care staff, researchers, students, and most of all the children and families we serve in their fight against cancer – I offer heartfelt thanks to Paige’s Butterfly Run and the Upstate Foundation for their vision, hard work and unwavering support.”

Comito received her medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, and completed her internship and residency at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia. Her fellowship in pediatric hematology oncology was conducted at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

Comito is a member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and the Society for Neuro-Oncology.

Caption: Melanie Comito, MD, is a professor of pediatrics, division chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, and director of the William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate Medical University. She was named the Paige Yeomans Arnold Endowed Professor in Pediatric Oncology.

 

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