Multiple sclerosis research to get major boost from Waugh Family Foundation
$2M gift will build world-class research program in Winnipeg
Thanks to a transformational $2 million investment from the Waugh Family Foundation, the University of Manitoba and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada will build a world class multiple sclerosis (MS) research program in the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
In addition to funding ongoing research projects, the gift will support a new endowed research chair in MS, named for the Waugh family. The Chair, expected to be recruited in 2016, will lead a team of internationally recognized MS specialists and help advance our understanding and treatment of the disease. The University of Manitoba plans to grow the endowment for the Chair to $5 million, leveraging the Waugh Family Foundation’s investment to inspire other donors to take their place.
“My family and I are proud to stand with the University of Manitoba and the MS Society to help end MS. It is our hope that this gift will build on the University’s outstanding MS research program, and eventually lead to a cure,” says Rick Waugh, O.C., president of the Waugh Family Foundation.
MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is estimated to affect more than 3,400 Manitobans and 100,000 Canadians.
“MS is Canada’s disease – we have the highest rate in the world. The disease commonly affects young adults between the ages of 15 and 40, who live with the effects for their entire lives,” says Yves Savoie, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada. “It is imperative that we do whatever it takes to improve treatments and to find a cure, and I applaud the Waugh Family Foundation for choosing to make this very important investment.”
In the last several years, the University of Manitoba has transformed its MS clinical and research programs, obtaining more than $13 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other national and international organizations, including the MS Society. Strengthening our province’s research capacity through a research chair program is also a key part of the university’s Front and Centre campaign.
“The University of Manitoba is enhancing its expertise by attracting and retaining innovative researchers in areas in which we are poised to lead. MS research is one of these key strengths,” says David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manitoba. “This generous gift from the Waugh Family Foundation, and our resulting partnership with the MS Society of Canada, will help Manitoba researchers to make new discoveries that enhance our understanding of the causes of MS and have a positive impact on its treatment.”
As National Philanthropy Day is celebrated across Canada the University of Manitoba joins the MS Society in celebrating the generosity and vision of the Waugh family. The Waugh Family Foundation, and its founding Members Rick and Lynne Waugh, have made significant contributions to the betterment of Canadian society and our world through their philanthropic activity in social services, health and education.
The University is grateful to the other generous donors who have also taken their place to support the chair, including the University of Manitoba Department of Internal Medicine, Research Manitoba, Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors (MHHLS), and the Dr. Alfred E. Deacon Medical Research Foundation.