PEORIA — The OSF HealthCare Foundation has received a $1 million gift from Ed and Ann Rapp.

The gift will be used to support neuroscience innovation focused on assistive technologies, improving access to care and aiding in earlier diagnosis to benefit patients with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and other complex neurological conditions.

Ed Rapp retired as Caterpillar group president in 2016 after being diagnosed with ALS. Since then, he has made it a personal challenge to support efforts to find more effective treatment options and, ultimately, a cure. While the Rapps have relocated to Cary, N.C., they remain committed to their philanthropic support of the Peoria area they once called home.

“We have focused our efforts on supporting those in search of a cure, those bringing better assistive technologies to those suffering from the disease, and supporting ALS efforts in our hometowns of Peoria and Raleigh,” said Rapp. “The endowment not only supports innovation in the area of assistive technologies but also supports our hometown of Peoria.”

The Rapps created an endowment at OSF HealthCare in 2017 to support neuroscience excellence with a focus on driving innovation and collaboration between OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute, Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, and engineers from the University of Illinois. The Ed and Ann Rapp Family Endowment will attract and inspire teams of clinicians and engineers to work together to rethink what is possible and revolutionize neurological care.

In addition to their personal contribution, the Rapps have inspired more than $1.3 million in additional and matching gifts to the endowment.

“We see this collaboration leading to innovative solutions ranging from tools leading to early diagnosis to allowing remote patient monitoring, lessening the burden on both patients and caregivers,” said Chris Zallek, a neuromuscular disorders specialist with OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute. “Early diagnosis will be increasingly important as new medications and treatments are developed to slow disease progression.”

Technology developed in the collaborative research effort is being introduced to medical students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria this fall, with plans to expand to medical students and other health care providers at institutions across the country.

“Gifts to the Ed and Ann Rapp Family Endowment will positively impact the way we diagnose neurologic diseases and provide care for patients and families affected by them,” said Zallek.