CHICAGO (CBS) — Some treatment rooms are getting a new name–and thousands of patients are getting some new hope–as the University of Illinois dedicates a research and care center to the late Comedian Bernie Mac.

Mac learned he had Sarcoidosis in 1983, but continued as a comedy headliner for years.

He finally succumbed to the immune disease in 2008

His widow Ronda McCullough cut the ribbon on the U. of I. clinic.

“The best I can really hope for is that there is a cure for the disease,” she said. In the meantime, she wants patients to get the medical treatment they need.

With the support and naming of the Bernie Mac clinic, his widow Ronda is essentially underwriting the rheumatology research of Dr. Nadera Sweiss, who investigated chronic conditions like Sarcoidosis that cause inflammation.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports</strong>