Parkwood gets spinal cord research boost

The foundation has raised $6.25 million in endowed funds and other donations.
CAROLYN WONG, Free Press Reporter 2003-06-19 03:51:10

London's Parkwood Hospital Foundation is trying to fill Canada's first scientific research chair in rehabilitation and geriatric care after 3 1/2 years of fundraising. Foundation volunteers announced yesterday at their annual community meeting they now have $6.25 million in endowed funds from individuals and corporate donors to pay for the typically-under-funded area of research.

About $2.5 million will fund the Beryl and Richard Ivey Research Chair in Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care, said Shannon Stirling, the foundation's development officer.

Recruiting for a chairperson for the research is now under way and the chair should be filled by the new year, Stirling said.

Four fellowships and three positions for graduate students will also be awarded next year for research in palliative care, care of the elderly, veteran care, spinal cord injuries, stroke rehabilitation and mobility and aging.

"Such research will result in treatments and models of care that will help the elderly remain independent and at home, and will help young people in rehab return to their communities faster," said Anne Toal, a volunteer.

RBC Financial Group helped with a $50,000 donation presented yesterday by Pat Tremblay, the company's sales and market manager for the London area.

"This is not just an investment in our communities but also in Canada's future," Tremblay said of the gift for spinal cord injury research.

"I think it's phenomenal," said David Willsie, a former Parkwood spinal cord injury patient.

Willsie, who broke his neck while playing hockey eight years ago, said the donation will further everything the hospital has already done.

"Parkwood prepares you for life after a spinal cord injury," said the Paralympic athlete, who never thought he'd be able to do what he does today.

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