Foundations Merge to Do More for People With Lung Diseases

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by Mary Chapman |

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Montreal foundations

Two Montreal-based foundations are joining forces to boost research and care into complex and chronic respiratory disorders, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The merging of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation and the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) Foundation comes as the MUHC opens a $10 million respiratory fundraising campaign called Dream Big: Breathe Easier.

The MUHC Foundation raises funds to support patient care, research, and teaching at the McGill University Health Center, a top university hospital in Canada. The MCI Foundation supports the Montreal Chest Institute, which is integrated with the MUHC, and each year provides personalized care to more than 30,000 patients with lung conditions such as COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, interstitial lung disease, and respiratory sleep disorders.

“The MCI has a long and storied history of helping patients with complex respiratory conditions,” Pierre Gfeller, MD, president and executive director at McGill University Health Centre, said in a press release.

“This important merger between these two foundations of the MUHC will support our common goal of improving the quality of care for our patients and reinforcing our position as world leaders in research and innovation,” Gfeller added.

The number of people with respiratory conditions is increasing globally. More than 3 million people die every year from COPD, accounting for roughly 6% of all deaths worldwide. Meanwhile, about 235 people have asthma, and outdoor air pollution causes more than 4 million premature deaths annually.

“The Montreal Chest Institute has made an indelible impact on healthcare in Montreal and in Quebec,” said Jennifer Quenneville, president of the MUHC Foundation. “The launch of our Dream Big: Breathe Easier campaign will ensure that patients benefit from the very best care and have access to life-changing clinical trials.”

The Dream Big: Breathe Easier effort is part of a larger campaign MUHC launched last year, called Dream Big, which sought to transform the foundation into a leading international hub for innovative clinical research and excellence in care.

The $60 million Dream Big campaign is focused on solving some of the biggest medical puzzles in infectious diseases and cancer, as well as on cardiovascular care and research. It also aims to ensure that the MUHC has highly skilled medical teams with access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

Those priorities are to be joined by fundraising efforts for respiratory diseases, cannabis research, and support for new equipment and personnel recruitment.

One of those efforts is Dream Big: Breathe Easier, which seeks to raise $10 million to buy cutting-edge medical equipment, support the launch of innovative treatment programs and services, fund groundbreaking research and clinical trials, and fund innovative grants. One such grant is the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship, which is awarded annually to at least one respiratory research MCI trainee at the MUHC.

“My family knows firsthand about the wonderful patient care provided by the dedicated MCI team,” said Scott Jones, co-chair of the Dream Big: Breathe Easier campaign. “I am committed to helping the MUHC Foundation bring awareness to the challenges of respiratory conditions and raise much-needed funds to help as many people as possible.”