MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Tracy Weimer, M.D., quietly battled breast cancer for 13 years while teaching West Virginia University students, residents, and fellows to provide high-quality, compassionate care for patients with epilepsy and other neurological issues. Now, the University community is honoring her outstanding courage and commitment with a crowdfunding tribute to benefit the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and the School of Medicine.
Dr. Weimer passed away July 5, after fighting metastatic disease for eight years. The $65,000 crowdfunding effort aims to build upon her legacy by raising $15,000 for renovation of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit workroom at WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital and $50,000 for a memorial scholarship endowment. The scholarship would aid medical students who have overcome significant adversity to proceed with their education.
“Dr. Weimer was an inspiration to me and everyone with whom she interacted,” David Watson, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurology, said. “Her quiet and unassuming manner, mixed with her excellence in clinical neurology, sometimes made me forget what she was dealing with. Our department, our school, and our state are better for having the opportunity to work with, learn from, and be cared for by Tracy.”
A native of Utah, Dr. Weimer earned her medical degree from Marshall University and completed residency and fellowship training at WVU. She joined the Department of Neurology as a faculty member in 2006. In her role as medical director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit for many years, Dr. Weimer was instrumental in maintaining WVU Medicine’s Level IV Epilepsy Center designation, which reflects RNI’s comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with epilepsy.
Despite the challenges of her cancer journey, Dr. Weimer remained a dedicated educator, clinician, mentor, and friend. She never complained and rarely gave any indication of the struggles associated with her medical treatment. She was one of the most clinically productive faculty members within the Department of Neurology, and she was always willing to offer advice to colleagues, who knew they could find her in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.
Laurie Gutmann, M.D., a longtime WVU faculty member who now chairs the Department of Neurology at Indiana University, described Weimer as a “practical, kind, smart neurologist” with a great sense of humor and a big heart. She recalled Weimer providing solace when Dr. Gutmann’s mother was battling metastatic cancer. Dr. Weimer cared deeply, Gutmann said, and it showed in her passion for teaching.
“She was such a great teacher,” Gutmann said. “She could teach in a way that was not intimidating. Every teaching moment was like a cool discovery. She just really enjoyed the teaching part.”
Her dedication to teaching was evident even after she exhausted her treatment options and made the decision to take leave from work. Dr. Watson said Dr. Weimer made the effort to attend and present at one final epilepsy surgery conference to provide the best possible care for her patient, and she ensured that any of her unspent education funds would be devoted to advancing education for residents.
Dr. Weimer’s family and colleagues are encouraging others to follow her example by supporting the Dr. Tracy Weimer Legacy Fund (2W1555) in her honor. Contributions can be made securely online at https://advancing.wvu.edu/WeimerLegacy. Checks can also be sent to the WVU Foundation, P.O. Box 1650, Morgantown, WV 26507. Please include the fund name and/or number.
All contributions to the Dr. Tracy Weimer Legacy Fund are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.