Children’s Hospital receives $5M donation for paediatric cancer treatment

The donation from Dieter and Lyse Jahnke (pictured, middle right) is the largest in Children's Hospital history. Children's Hospital (Supplied Photo)

A $5 million donation to Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is being touted as a “transformative” investment into paediatric oncology.

Announced Monday morning, it’s the largest donation the hospital has ever received and will go to establishing the Jahnke Family Paediatric Oncology Centre of Excellence, named for the London couple who donated the funds.

“We have a desire to give and a reason to live — we want to help others,” said Dieter and Lyse Jahnke in a statement.

“There is nothing more meaningful than writing the last chapter of your life and dedicating an everlasting gift for children that will impact many generations.”

Officials with the Children’s Hospital said the funds will go to critical equipment, help reimagine care spaces, and spur advancements in patient care.

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“These types of investments are transformative,” said Children’s Hospital president Nash Syed.

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“Making new investments in capacity, changing what the care team will look like, adding resources where we haven’t been able to add resources in the past, and really pushing the research and educational component of care.”

Syed tells 980 that in the immediate term, the donation will buy three new ultrasounds for the hospital.

“This centre of excellence will … allow us to transform how we’re going deliver care in the future.”

Dr. Alexandra Zorzi, head of paediatric haematology oncology, spoke through tears as she thanked the family for their donation.

“It is with immense gratitude that I thank the Jahnke family today for investing in hope not only for the children and families we serve today, but for those we have yet to meet,” said Zorzi.

“This gift fuels our commitment to ensure a future where all children’s journeys end in survivorship.”

The parents of a child who had undergone successful treatment at Children’s Hospital shared how the hospital made their child feel like a “cherished little girl.”

“Cancer is a very, very heavy load to bear. It’s frightening, it’s traumatic, and treatment is grueling,” said Melanie Ottaway, whose daughter battled leukemia at a young age.

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“But we know that this generous gift is going to ease some of that burden for families.”

This donation is the latest in a large string of donations to London hospitals, the largest of which was a $20-million donation to cancer care at LHSC from trucking magnate Archie Verspeeten shortly after his passing.

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