The Establishment of the Japan Leukemia Research Fund

In May 1983, Mr. Takashi Ogimura passed away at the age of 32 after a long and severe battle against chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML). Takashi went to study in the USA after he graduated from a university in Japan. He returned to Japan after completion of his studies, took over his family business and got married. However, just when his life was about to blossom, he developed CML and was laid to rest soon after. Mr. Hajime and Mrs. Kazuyo Ogimura, the parents who had lost their beloved son to this disease, spent 5 years lost in grief. They then began to think, “Leukemia, which took away our beloved son's life, must be eradicated so that nobody else will have to suffer from such sorrow any more. For the sake of our son, who passed away just when he was about to start contributing to society, we would like to make a social contribution in his name.” With this mindset, Mr. and Mrs. Ogimura decided to donate 50 million Japanese yen as a fund.

Mr. Takashi Ogimura

Meanwhile, Dr. Shuki Mizutani, at the time a pediatrician from The University of Tokyo Hospital, had been passionately dedicated to taking care of children with leukemia. Having sought a specialized research opportunity, Dr. Mizutani went to study in the United Kingdom from 1984 to 1986 under the supervision of Dr. Mel Greaves, a prestigious leukemia researcher. After he returned to Japan, Dr. Mizutani learned that the Dr. Greaves’ research institution was managed by the UK’s Leukemia Foundation, which was run solely by donations from ordinary citizens. Dr. Mizutani was impressed with the fact that the institution gave him the research opportunity even though he was not a British citizen but Japanese. Having returned to Japan, Dr. Mizutani initiated a campaign to establish the Japan Leukemia Research Fund to solicit and obtain private donations that could provide funding to areas not covered by government grants, and to support leukemia research conducted by enthusiastic and excellent doctors. The 50 million Japanese yen that was generously donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ogimura provided the seed funding for the establishment of the JLRF.