For the Waldeck’s, it is personal, and a little bit serendipitous.

In 2002, during a business meeting with a former Board Member, Mark Waldeck noticed a plaque commemorating the support of David T. Rubin, MD, the GI Research Foundation’s lead Scientific Advisor. For Mark, this was more than a coincidence. A few years earlier, Dr. Rubin, along with GIRF Board Member Russell Cohen, MD, treated him for Crohn’s disease. As a grateful UChicago Medicine patient, Mark seized the opportunity to give back to an organization with a mission so personal to him.

Mark, now Vice President of Marketing, finds volunteering on the Board rewarding, “Being around the doctors is very uplifting. They help keep me focused on the important things in life. Their dedication inspires me to be a better person.”

In 2017, Mark inspired his daughter, Katie Waldeck, to actively support GIRF. “My father has battled Crohn’s disease for as long as I can remember. GIRF and the University of Chicago Medicine have made a huge impact on my father and family’s quality of life. It was always important for my father and our family to give back to the organization that had helped us so much.”

Katie, who has celiac disease and is also a grateful UChicago Medicine patient, is Vice President of Fundraising for GIRF’s Associates Board. Each year, Katie looks forward to selecting Associates Board grant recipients. “It is so rewarding to finally put our hard work into action and follow our funded research’s progress!”

As Board Members, Mark and Katie utilize their professional experience in the insurance and financial sectors respectively to advance GIRF’s mission. Both animal lovers, they enjoy spending time on the family’s farm in Wisconsin and look forward to a more peaceful 2021.