Why Sean Parker Gave $24 Million To Build A Stanford Allergy Research Center

December 17, 2014 3:11 PM

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A few years back, Sean Parker was eating at a Thai restaurant when his face swelled, his chest tightened and his throat began to close. He was in the throes of an anaphylactic allergic reaction. “There must have been a nut one of the dishes,” says Parker, 35, who has severe peanut, tree nut and shellfish allergies. He rushed to the emergency room where doctors injected him with epinephrine and steroids to get his immune system to calm down. Says Parker: “The emergency room doctor told me on a scale of one to ten–where one is fine and 10 is dead–you’re a 9.5.” Scary–but nothing new. “According to my wife, allergies have sent me to the emergency room 14 times since I’ve known her.”

His struggle with allergies has inspired Parker–who founded Napster, Plaxo and later became a billionaire after serving as Facebook’s first president–to pledge $24 million to Stanford University School of Medicine to create a new research center. Dubbed the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research...

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