Charles Juravinski celebrates 91st birthday with $3M donation to fight coronavirus

Philanthropists Charles and Margaret Juravinski have donated an additional $3 million to help combat the coronavirus. JD Howell / McMaster University

Hamilton businessman and philanthropist Charles Juravinski has decided to celebrate his 91st birthday by giving back once again to the local healthcare system in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Juravinski, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, and his wife Margaret, have announced a donation of $3 million to health care projects, including a saliva-based COVID-19 test for use in groups like seniors in retirement homes.

The research is going on at McMaster University‘s Department of Health Sciences and will support three projects:

  • Assessing the success, impact and practicality of saliva-based COVID-19 testing for large asymptomatic populations, such as seniors in retirement homes. Amica Senior Lifestyles is co-funding the study.
  • Assessing the risk of outbreak and infection in retirement homes and creating tools to help public health units and retirement home operators assess risk and target preventative and contingency interventions
  • Examining the use of virtual care to help vulnerable seniors with socialization, exercise, nutrition and medication support during the COVID-19 pandemic
Click to play video: 'Severity of next COVID-19 wave depends on public'
Severity of next COVID-19 wave depends on public

The donation has been made through the Juravinski Research Institute, a partnership between Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

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“This has been an unprecedented year in so many ways,” Juravinski said. “The dedication and commitment we have seen by the research community and clinical teams has motivated and inspired Margaret and me to make another gift. When we made our gift in the spring, our goal was to inspire hope. We’d like this new gift to continue to inspire hope, collaboration and action. Margaret and I don’t really need anything for our birthdays. Instead, what would give us the most joy, is to see our donations making a difference right now, by supporting the bright, talented research community that calls Hamilton home.”

Read more: 2 health-care workers at Hamilton’s Juravinski Cancer Centre test positive for COVID-19

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The new gift will fund new important health research projects through the Juravinski Research Institute, which was established through the couple’s transformative $100-million legacy estate gift in May 2019.

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Just last spring, the couple donated $3.3 million to help fight COVID-19 and fund brain health research.

Read more: Juravinskis give $3.3M to COVID-19 and mental health research

Read next: WHO to decide if COVID remains an emergency. What will this mean for Canada?

“We know Charles and Margaret want to encourage others by their actions and build on the success of the phenomenal health research they have already helped foster here in Hamilton,” said Dr. Julian Dobranowski of the Juravinski Research Institute steering committee. “The impact of these investments will continue to benefit people everywhere, for generations to come. We are so thankful for their trust in our researchers, their belief in the work we all do and their tremendous generosity.”

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Beginning Monday, Nov. 2, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are inviting the #HamOnt community to share on Twitter why they are thankful for the Juravinskis.

The goal is to reach #91Reasons to honour Charles’ 91st birthday.

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