The Carol and James Herscot Center for Children and Adults with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex was made possible through the singular generosity of Mr. and Mrs. James Herscot.
Nearly 40 years ago, Carol and Jim Herscot found themselves in a terrifying situation. Their son, Brad, began having seizures, followed by other symptoms that the Herscots now know are typical of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). "At the time, no one knew about this disease," Mrs. Herscot recalls. "We were so alone and so frightened. No one could answer our questions, despite our going to one specialist after another for advice and guidance."
Despite the isolation they felt, the Herscots never allowed themselves to be defeated by the unpredictable and potentially devastating TSC, nor did they waver in their dedication to their son, who today lives semi-independently. Indeed, the Herscots' commitment to improving the lives of individuals with TSC and their families remains boundless, as evidenced by their extraordinary commitment that establishes Carol and James Herscot Center for Children and Adults with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex at the hospital.
The Herscot Center is a unique resource for children and adults with TSC and their families, featuring state-of-the-art clinical services in the hospital's Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care. The center also offers the full complement of medical specialists in various disciplines needed to provide timely diagnosis of TSC, as well as the comprehensive care that many people require.
Mrs. Herscot worked closely with Elizabeth Thiele, MD, PhD, the pediatric neurologist who directs the center and is one of the nation's foremost TSC experts, to plan the new facility. As a result, the Herscot Center is a haven for individuals affected by TSC and a hub for research and education about the disease.
The TSC clinic at the MGH is one of the few at any hospital to treat both children and adults. Treatment for adults with TSC reflects one of the Herscots' primary concerns. Recognizing that adults with the disease can, with proper support, live fulfilling lives, they have worked tirelessly with the national Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance to raise awareness of TSC and to convey to families that TSC is a lifelong disorder requiring careful and ongoing planning. The Herscot Center at MGH maintains a close collaboration with the TS Alliance.
Dr. Thiele is immensely grateful to the Herscots for their support, and she is particularly struck by their generosity of spirit. "The amazing thing about Jim and Carol Herscot is that their son, Brad, is all set; he has grown up, has a job and is managing with a strong support network," Dr. Thiele says. "Yet they are doing everything possible to see that other families don't have to experience the struggle that they went through."
The Herscot Center at the MGH demonstrates the impact that philanthropy can have. Many individuals with TSC and their families now have hope thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Carol and James Herscot.