St. Joseph’s Health Care gets $1.8M to improve veteran care

A generous donation from a local couple will allow St. Joseph’s Health Care London to enhance the treatment and care it provides military personnel and veterans.

The hospital announced the $1.8 million gift from Kyle MacDonald and John Franklin during its 15th annual Breakfast of Champions at RBC Place London on Tuesday.

The bulk of the money, roughly $1.5 million, will be spent over the next five years on research to identify new treatments for military personnel and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other service related operational stress injuries. The remainder of the donation will be put toward providing care for veterans living at Parkwood Institute.

This is the second major donation to come from the couple. In 2017, MacDonald and Franklin gave $1 million to create the Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Research Centre at Parkwood Institute, which bears their name. The facility has since been internationally recognized for its research in military and veteran mental health.

“We are grateful to Kyle and John for their continued support of this important research,” said St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation President and CEO Michelle Campbell. “Without their personal interest and generous support, these programs and advances in research simply wouldn’t be possible.”

MacDonald and Franklin both come from military families. MacDonald’s father served in the Korean War, while Franklin’s dad served in World War I and World War II.

“John and I witnessed first-hand the challenges our military personnel face after serving,” MacDonald said. “We are pleased to continue our support of specialized research based on the progress we have seen since our initial donation in 2017. Because of our military upbringing, we want to make sure our veterans have the best treatment options and all innovative solutions are explored.”

More than 1,100 people were in attendance at Tuesday’s charity breakfast, which is held in partnership with CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services. In addition to the donation announcement, they heard from retired Lieutenant Colonel Stéphane Grenier who discussed his vision for improved workplace mental wellness. Grenier suffered from PTSD following his military service in Rwanda during the 1994 civil war and genocide. He coined the term “operational stress injury” which is used to describe any persistent psychological difficulties stemming from military service.

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