Today he’s a first baseman for the Washington Nationals, selected as a first-round draft pick in 2005. At UVA he was an All-American third baseman. Now, with his support through the ziMS Foundation to UVA’s Department of Neurology, Ryan Zimmerman is knocking multiple sclerosis out of the park.
In 1995, when Zimmerman was just 11 years old, his mother Cheryl was diagnosed with this debilitating disease of the central nervous system. He and younger brother Shawn grew up witnessing the devastating toll of MS as their mother gradually lost the ability to walk, to perform fine motor tasks, and to carry out daily activities such as eating and showering. Zimmerman decided that someday he would help others dealing with MS.
He established the ziMS Foundation in 2006 to support MS research and education programs. Since 2008, the foundation has contributed more than $1 million to UVA’s Department of Neurology to fund research, clinical services, and fellowships for the James Q. Miller Multiple Sclerosis Clinic. UVA has been the foundation’s top beneficiary.
Since 2008, the foundation has contributed more than $1 million to UVA’s Department of Neurology to fund research, clinical services, and fellowships.
“My family gave me the support to fulfill my dreams, and the Washington Nationals gave me the opportunity to play the game I love at the highest level in our nation’s Capital,” said Zimmerman, a member of UVA’s Class of 2006 and president of the ziMS Foundation. “I am thrilled to have launched a foundation that can make a real impact in the life of my family, as well as many others afflicted by MS.”
The ziMS Foundation hosts a number of fundraising efforts each year. In November it will host a gala celebration as well as Strike Down MS, an annual bowling event in Charlottesville that supports UVA’s MS program. As UVA strives to attain national prominence in MS care and clinical research, the ziMS Foundation partnership has proved extremely valuable.
“The ziMS Foundation support has been critical as we continue to build a program that includes exceptional providers, diverse research opportunities, and successful partnerships with our patients,” said Myla Goldman, M.D., director of UVA’s multiple sclerosis clinic.
In addition to establishing the ziMS Foundation, Zimmerman has been a generous supporter of UVA athletics. He recently made a $1 million commitment to the Virginia Athletics Foundation to support the Cavalier baseball program.