Message from the President & CEO
June 30, 2020
Summer is here, the sun is shining for the most part, and we are reconnecting with the great outdoors. In this update, I am pleased to share with you many stories of inspiration and progress in research related to COVID-19.
We often receive gifts from unexpected places. This includes gifts from young people like Sophia, who donated $30, that she earned as chore allowance over six weeks. She wanted to help people with cancer. Her gift is supporting the Gene Goodreau Patient Assistance Fund. Sophia’s gift then inspired another gift from Brett Nicholson, Chair of Peace of Mind, one of our community events leaders who matched her gift with $300.
Then there is Emilie, a student from Sir Frederick Banting School, who along with friends held a bottle drive and raised $300 towards the COVID-19 Response Fund.
Another example of unexpected generosity comes from local restaurants donating food to support LHSC staff. At the end of May, LHSC updated its Food Donation policy and we have been accepting in-kind food donations from the community ever since. So far, we have distributed over 2025 meals for staff and will be delivering another 300 meals a week, for 4 weeks, to LHSC staff from each Mandarin location on the North and South end. These acts of kindness from the community have not gone unnoticed by staff. Many people have mentioned that it has helped lift their spirits and brought them great joy. Click here to see pictures from community donations. For more information about the criteria for making a food donation please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As many of you know, we have had to pivot our fundraising strategy and, in many cases, we held virtual events or stream-a-thons. The results are tremendous for all of our events, given the times, and recently Dash 4 Dad, a fundraiser that supports prostate cancer initiatives and research at LHSC, went virtual as well. The event had opening ceremonies on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, and has raised $55,000 to date. Click here for more details or should you wish to donate. Participants in the virtual event did a 5km walk or run within their own neighbourhood and then shared the photos for everyone to see. One special participant, Joan who is 101 years old, decided to walk within her retirement home for over an hour to raise money in support of her son-in-law who is a prostate cancer survivor. Joan has raised over $2,200 and is the top fundraiser outside of Dr. Joseph Chin. See Joan’s story below:
Many of our donors have the foresight to leave a gift as a legacy, through their estate planning, and for many years those gifts have translated into real action and results, and many are timely. Recently, you may have read or heard about research funds that are opening up possibilities for therapeutic treatment for COVID-19. This past week saw the publication of groundbreaking world-first COVID-19 research out of our hospital. Thanks to donors, LHSF was the lead funder for a globally acclaimed study (published in Critical Care Explorations) that is the first ever to profile the immune response to the COVID-19 virus. Through analyzing blood samples of critically ill patients with COVID-19, Dr. Douglas Fraser, a scientist with Lawson Health Research Institute and critical care physician, and his team identified six molecules that play a key role in certain patients’ dangerous immune response to the virus (known as a cytokine storm). He believes that these molecules could be targeted with therapies that could slow or block this fatal response to provide better outcomes and ultimately save lives.
“Our study takes away the guessing by identifying potential therapeutic targets for the first time,” Dr. Fraser says. “Our next step is to test drugs that block the harmful effects of several of these molecules while still allowing the immune system to fight the virus.”
This research has received widespread media attention since it was announced, including a feature on CBC’s The National and most recently in our local news outlets, including CTV. You, our donors, made this possible.
Thank you for your continuing support and encouragement. Please stay safe this summer, enjoy yourself and Happy Canada Day!
Together, we will get through this.
John MacFarlane, BBA, LL.B, MPA
President & CEO
London Health Sciences Foundation