Monday, Jan. 28, 2008 | 3:45 p.m.
A Las Vegas businessman on Wednesday is to announce a six-figure gift to help Nevada's universities and the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute fight diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
The donor, Bruce Layne, founder of a local insurance agency, suffers from Parkinson's. He serves on the board of of the UNLV Foundation, which will oversee his gift.
Speaking in 2006 about his disease, Layne told a UNLV Magazine staffer: "I know what's coming. I have a sense of humor about it, but Parkinson's is a nasty disease. It leaves you shriveled up in a wheelchair. I'm 60 now. I move more slowly than I used to. My hands have begun to tremble, and at times, yes, I drool. But I'm in pretty good shape."
Layne's contribution is the first major private donation Nevada System of Higher Education health sciences system staff helped secure, said Tessa Stewart, director of public affairs for the health sciences system. The health sciences system is an initiative to coordinate activities of health sciences programs at higher education institutions throughout Nevada.
Stewart offered few details on Monday about Layne's gift. According to a press release on the donation, the money "creates a consortium among UNLV, the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute."
Though the gift marks a milestone for the health sciences system, the initiative is still in its infancy. Staff members are still trying to land $38.7 million in private donations to match nearly $90 million the state gave for renovation and construction of buildings for health sciences programs.
Read more about Layne's experience with Parkinson's.