Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 12:48 p.m.
The future of Las Vegas as an incredible medical Mecca for the world has been changed with the dynamic Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health that officially opened with two days of gala celebrations downtown at Symphony Park.
Keep Memory Alive founder Larry Ruvo, who worked tirelessly over 14 years to see his dream come true, said: “This house will produce miracles.”
One thousand memory-filled helium balloons were launched Day 1 to celebrate the clinic welcoming its doctors and accepting patients. Larry admits that he capitalized on the celebrity status of world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, who designed the art masterpiece.
“This would never have happened without Frank,” Larry said.” He over delivered, and it was all made possible on a handshake deal with a promise by Mayor Oscar Goodman to provide the land for the building.”
It all began 14 years ago with a small group of businessmen who met in an upstairs room at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago here and wanted to honor Larry’s father Lou Ruvo, who lost his battle against Alzheimer’s. Each year, the annual Keep Memory Alive meeting grew in size and scope, and I had the privilege and joy of joining the efforts shortly after I arrived here a decade ago.
Strip stars and Hollywood celebrities all contributed over the years, and our annual Keep Memory Alive gala and auction has boosted the fundraising efforts -- this year $27 million! Everybody from President Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Anka, Danny DeVito, Brad Garrett, Angie Dickenson, Michael Buble, Siegfried & Roy and this year Chazz Palminteri and Barry Manilow have played a significant role. The beautiful Phyllis Maguire and her sister Chris from the Maguire Sisters attended the opening ceremonies.
The biggest breakthrough in the search for a cure and the treatment of patients for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s came when the prestigious Cleveland Clinic joined forces to manage the brain institute. The Cleveland Clinic has now embarked on studies to expand its high-profile medical services here with additional facilities.
Cleveland Clinic President Toby Cosgrove said: “We will have a long-term relationship with Las Vegas in dealing with diseases around the world. This building will have innovations in discovery and research and treatment for these awful diseases. The determination, dedication and love that made this building happen will do the same for our medical work and partnership.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.