L-R: Mary Ackenhusen, President & CEO, VCH; Dr. Mark Fitzgerald, Director, Centre for Heart and Lung Health, VCHRI; Barbara Grantham, President & CEO, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation; Noordin Nanji, Chair, Board of Directors, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

Thanks to an unprecedented gift to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma will have a better chance of recovery in BC.

An anonymous donor has given $29 million for research and treatment of COPD and asthma. This is the largest estate gift ever given to the Foundation.

“This is an opportunity to create real change for those with COPD and asthma,” says Barbara Grantham, President and CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “This gift will create a hub of respiratory care and health research excellence in Western Canada.”

The funds will go towards three key areas that will help move research from lab to bedside in the most effective and impactful way: effective infrastructure, leading experts and clinical researchers as well as innovative equipment and resources. This gift will not only save lives, it will also improve the quality of life for people living with lung diseases

“It’s a phenomenal opportunity to address this problem,” says Dr. Mark FitzGerald, a respirologist at Vancouver Coastal Health. “It’s an opportunity to further enhance the current research in the area. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to look at helping the many people with these respiratory problems. It will give us a chance to recruit and retain world-class investigators of COPD and asthma. This is also an opportunity to reach out to our partners at other hospitals, foundations and others for an even bigger impact.”

“COPD is very common,” adds Dr. Mark FitzGerald. “It’s the number one cause of hospitalization in Canada for medical reasons apart from pregnancies. This donation will enable us to take the research and provide better care and treatments.”

COPD is the third largest cause of death in Canada. Asthma has increased two-and-a-half times in the past 30 years – it affects more than seven per cent of British Columbians. Health care for COPD currently costs $1.5 billion a year.