Jim Plews-Ogan is a recently retired pediatrician in Charlottesville, Virginia who spent the majority of his career at the private practice he started in 2002, offering highly personalized care (including house calls!) for adolescents and children. He is a father of two children, Erin and William, who were raised in Charlottesville and now live in Boston and New York. Jim is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Virginia, where his wife, Peggy, is also a Professor of Medicine. Jim has published articles on the care of children with medical complexity and disability. Jim’s blog, Offering Kindness, started as a way to give voice to families facing medical complexity and disability. Now, the blog reflects Jim’s journey with ALS.
Jim was diagnosed with ALS at UVa Neurology in November of 2021. Over the preceding months, Jim had noticed subtle weakness in his left hand. A proud lefty, Jim had found that writing and giving shots to patients had become more challenging. ALS is a diagnosis of exclusion—specialists must first rule out other neurologic conditions. After a number of tests and clinical observations, the diagnosis at UVa was conclusive—Jim had ALS.
In the months that followed, Jim and his family gathered to share love and to process the difficult news, laying plans almost immediately to take action to help defeat the disease. The Hummingbird Fund was born in April 2022, with a kickoff event in Charlottesville including Jim’s family, friends, patients, neurologists at UVa, a local live band, and of course, an ice bucket dousing. The event was an astounding success: The Hummingbird Fund raised nearly $150,000 straightaway and the focus for Jim’s retirement came into being—ALS advocacy.
Behind the Name
To see a hummingbird is to be surprised by joy—a reminder that no matter what our circumstance, there is joy and beauty all around us.
Hummingbirds are also seen as messengers of hope and inspiration, representing joy, tenacity and endurance. They are often portrayed in legends as a healer, or as a spirit who helps people in need—many times playing an important mythological role of fire-bringer. These tiny, agile birds, can do amazing things!
Our Advisory Committee
Champions: Family & Friends
The Hummingbird Fund would not exist without the dedication of a close circle of family and friends who stepped up early to help create a positive response to Jim’s diagnosis of ALS. This circle has been joined by hundreds of former patients, colleagues, and friends whom we now call the Hummingbird Champions.
Advisory Committee Members