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Record Donation to Children’s Hospita

It’s a gift that brought tears to the receiver and to the giver//.

An outstanding donation of 30 million dollars was pledged to the staff at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children or Sick Kids.

The gift comes from a scion of a beer baron and well-established friend of the hospital.

Arthur Labatt, the founder of the Trimark Investment Management mutual fund company and his wife Sonia, have pledged this amount which follows a 10 million dollar gift given in 1997 to develop the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumor Research Center.

Out of this, 25 million dollars will go to Sick Kids to aid in the development of a heart center.

The heart center, which will open this spring, will provide state-of-the-art treatment to children with congenital heart disease, which the hospital says is the most common birth defect in children and the leading cause of birth-defect-related deaths worldwide.

The 20,000-square-foot cardiac unit, which will cost $34-million in total, will be unique in Canada, and will include two catheterization labs with the electronic equipment to allow doctors to navigate catheters to repair a heart without resorting to open-heart surgery.

Mr. Labatt noted that one of the reasons he and his family supported the establishment of the center, which will be staffed with 28 doctors, is that "we've got to make sure that we don't lose the [medical] talent we've got here."

The new Labatt Family Heart Center, established with the largest private donation ever given to a North American children's hospital, will be the largest pediatric heart clinic in Canada.

The remaining 5 million dollars is meant to expand infrastructure and research at the Labatt brain tumor center, which has made groundbreaking strides in the field of cancer stem cell research since it opened 10 years ago.

John Buckle, whose six-year old daughter, Brianna, was born without a pulmonary artery from he r heart to her lungs, was in tears as he thanked Mr. Labatt during a meeting, where the donation was announced.

More than 3,000 Canadian children a year are born with a heart defect, of which 1,000 are from Ontario. Sick Kids performs 80% of all children's heart transplants in Canada, with a 98% success rate.


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