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SickKids receives donation of $30 million

TORONTO – A transformational gift of $30 million, believed to be the single largest private gift to a paediatric cancer centre in North America, was announced earlier this month by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). The gift will establish the Garron Family Cancer Centre and allow SickKids to help more children survive their cancer diagnosis.

“We are privileged to support one of the most respected children’s hospitals in the world,” said donors Myron and Berna Garron (pictured). “Our son was treated for cancer at SickKids for many years and we will never forget the dedication and level of care he received. We are confident this gift will help create more positive outcomes for cancer patients and their families.”

The Garron Family’s $30 million gift will support four new Senior Research Chairs and two Clinician-scientist positions; fund various priority programs – including one of the first Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) suites and scanners at a Canadian paediatric hospital. It will also support the Innovative Therapies Fund, which invests in new clinical treatments for children with cancer.

A total of $7 million of the donation will be allocated to the new SickKids Research & Learning Tower and the Cancer, Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Neighbourhood, which will become the future hub for cancer-based research.

“The Garron family has had a 40-year relationship with SickKids,” said Ted Garrard, President and CEO of SickKids Foundation. “Their past support and this magnificent new donation demonstrate the family’s deep commitment to philanthropy and to making a real difference in paediatric cancer care and research.”

In 1975, the Garron’s son Michael passed away at the age of 13 from synovial sarcoma, a rare, soft tissue cancer. Michael received treatment at SickKids. In addition to this donation, the Garron family, through the Michael Albert Garron Foundation, has donated more than $1.3 million to SickKids in support of vital equipment to support cancer diagnoses and research projects to find new treatments for cancer patients.

“The impact of donations, such as the one from the Garron family, is immeasurable,” said Dr. James Whitlock, Chief of Haematology/Oncology at SickKids. “This gift helps SickKids stay at the forefront of paediatric cancer care and research and will ultimately help children with cancer to live longer, more fulfilling lives.”

“On behalf of everyone at SickKids, I want to extend our deepest gratitude to the Garron Family,” said Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of SickKids. “Their confidence in our work and their investment in the future health of children both here and around the world is truly inspiring.”

Garron, who has two other sons, Mark and Anthony, explained that he and his wife are able to make the gift to SickKids because he left his banking job in 1969 to join a custom plastic injection moulder and auto parts manufacturer which was very successful and he sold the company in 2000.

Garron said he and his family were grateful for the excellent treatment that Michael had from SickKids and believes that the family’s gift will be spent in a way that will “help children immediately” and also advance research in how to treat the disease. SickKids treats about 25 per cent of the average 1,400 Canadian children who are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Posted November 4, 2010