London, Ont. - Many times, donors can make a more significant contribution through a planned or estate gifts than they could have during their lifetime. May is "Leave a Legacy Month", a perfect time to illustrate the power these thoughtful gifts have to make a difference.
When psychiatrist Dr. Marion Chapman passed away from Multiple Sclerosis at a young age in 1986, it was a devastating loss to her colleagues at London Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital and to her family, especially her sister Eleanor. As the only two sisters growing up in a tight-knit family and as dear friends into adulthood, Marion and Eleanor were incredibly close but their bond was broken by a disease that is all too common in Canada.
According to studies from the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, Canada has the highest prevalence of MS (an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system) in the world. So, when Marion passed away, leaving her entire estate to Eleanor, it was clear to Eleanor that when the time came, she wanted her estate to impact MS research and care in Canada.
Eleanor didn't have to look past her sister's former employer to find a place where her estate would make a huge difference to MS research. London Health Sciences Centre is home to Ontario's oldest MS Clinic - also one of the largest in the world. With nearly 7,000 registered patients and close to 3,000 patient visits per year, LHSC's MS Clinic serves patients and their families, trains physicians and researchers, and conducts research that positions it amongst the best-known in the country and worldwide.
Currently celebrating 40 years of patient care, the MS Clinic is poised to further its leadership role in research with the creation of the Chapman Chair in Clinical MS Research - named in honour of Marion and Eleanor Chapman and in recognition of Eleanor's $500,000 planned gift. Clinic director Dr. Marcelo Kremenchutzky will fill the role of the Chapman Chair, using the funds to help pay for research costs including data entry and the work of doctorate students.
"The Chapman Chair in Clinical MS Research will enable us to accelerate translational and clinical research to impact the health of people living with MS and their families in a meaningful way," says Dr. Kremenchutzky.
Eleanor's generous planned gift not only inspired the creation of the Chapman Chair, it also inspired a corporate partner, as well as medical staff at LHSC, to make donations themselves - turning her $500,000 gift into the full $1.1 million needed to fully fund the Chapman Chair for 10 years.
The Chapman Chair in Clinical MS Research will positively impact patients and families in London as well as across the country and around the world as Dr. Kremenchutzky and his team share their discoveries - and stands as a testament to the lives of Marion and Eleanor and the power of the legacy left as a result of their foresight.
If you want to know more about planned giving, please visit www.lhsf.ca/ways-to-give/legacy-giving.