Your Impact - Firefighters' Burn Fund

Firefighters' Burn Fund Donates $2 Million to the HSC Foundation

Cheque Presentation on December 5, 2018. L-R: Dr. Ed Buchel (Section Head, Section of Plastic Surgery, U of M and Surgery Site Director, HSC); John Hart (Burn Survior); Martin Johnson (Chair, Firefighters’ Burn Fund); Tina Jones (Board Chair, HSC Foundation); Jim Abram (First Vice Chair, Firefighters’ Burn Fund); Jonathon Lyon (President and CEO, HSC Foundation)

Burn survivors across Manitoba will heal quicker, scar less, and experience less pain thanks to a $2 million donation from the Firefighters’ Burn Fund.

The money, which will be endowed through the Health Sciences Centre Foundation, will allow HSC to purchase equipment, support education, and hire a new research chair dedicated to using stem cells to treat burn victims.

Researchers will isolate stem cells from a patient’s own body fat, grow them in a lab, and create a skin-graph that will go back onto the patient. Thanks to the Burn Fund, this research will save countless lives of patients suffering major burns, but it goes deeper than that. 

"It’s about improving both the functional and the aesthetic results of surgeries. If you burn your entire face, not only do you have functional issues, but it’s also hard for a person to deal with mentally. It shouldn’t have to be like this,” says Dr. Ed Buchel, Medical Director of Surgery and the Section Head of Plastic Surgery at HSC. 

Luis "This is innovative research. Not just across the province, but across the country and the whole world,” says Dr. Ed Buchel, Medical Director of Surgery and the Section Head of Plastic Surgery at HSC
Dr. Buchel says the funding announcement is exciting for HSC, and that he’s passionate about progressing research and outcomes for burn victims. 
 
"This is innovative research. Not just across the province, but across the country and the whole world. It’s exceedingly rare in Canada. I don’t know many other places in the country who are going to be able to do stem-cell research on an on-going basis. To move forward in this way with an endowed fund is quite significant,” says Dr. Buchel.

Martin Johnson, the Chair of the Burn Fund, presented the cheque to HSC Foundation on December 5, 2018. "We’re excited to see what the doctors at HSC will be able to learn next, and we hope that our gift will have a significant impact,” he said. "Today, patients can survive even if they have a 90% surface burn. That’s because of research.”

"Today, patients can survive even if they have a 90% surface burn. That’s because of research,” says Martin Johnson, Chair of the Firefighters’ Burn Fund
Johnson says the Burn Fund was planning on donating to HSC for a while, but Dr. Buchel’s proposal for stem-cell research inspired them to give directly to his cause. 

"This gift is transformational,” said Jonathon Lyon, President and CEO of the HSC Foundation, who accepted the cheque. "Manitoba’s firefighters care deeply about the well-being of burn survivors, and their contributions have changed people’s lives. With this endowed gift, the Burn Fund will make a difference for all time.”
 
During the announcement, guests heard from a special speaker, John Hart, who experienced severe burns from a major electrocution accident 24 years ago. Hart was treated at HSC. 

From day one, Hart said the Burn Fund personally supported him during his recovery. 

"They give so much to burn survivors across Manitoba. They’re an incredible resource for those who need it,” said Hart. "To be able to better the way HSC does things is always a good. The technology has come such a long way in 20 years. Everything can always improve. It’s great to see such progress continuing.”