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

December 5, 2018

Endowed gift will support stem cell research

The Firefighters’ Burn Fund announced today that it has endowed a $2 million gift to the Health Sciences Centre Foundation. Income earned by this endowment will fund applied research into the use of stem cells in treating burn patients in Manitoba.

“This gift is transformational,” said Jonathon Lyon, President and CEO of the HSC Foundation. “The Burn Fund has been a long-time supporter of the hospital and the Foundation. 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.”

The Firefighters’ Burn Fund was established in 1978 to help burn survivors, purchase equipment, provide educational opportunities to health care professionals, and to support research.

Jonathon Lyon accepting a cheque from the Fire Fighters' Burn Fund

“When we first started, patients with a 50% body surface burn were not given much of a chance at survival. Today, patients can survive even if they have a 90% surface burn. That’s because of research,” said Martin Johnson, Chair of the Burn Fund. “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. We are proud to show our support.”

Thanks to the Burn Fund gift, HSC will hire a dedicated researcher, and acquire supplies and specialized equipment to enable the purification of a patient’s own stem cells from their own fat. These stem cells will be grown in HSC’s labs. The cells’ interactions with skin grafts, scars, and wound healing open vast opportunities for dramatic improvements in burn care. Skin grafts that heal faster and with less scarring, less pain, better aesthetics, and improved function are on the horizon. Never before have a patient’s own stem cells been studied to improve burn care in Manitoba.

“With the support of the Burn Fund over many years we have achieved an excellent standard of burn care at HSC,” said Dr. Ed Buchel, HSC’s Medical Director of Surgery and the Section Head of Plastic Surgery. “With this gift, we will be able to set a new standard of care and bring Manitobans the latest technologies and treatments.”

About the Health Sciences Centre Foundation

Health Sciences Centre is Manitoba’s flagship hospital with specialized support for trauma, neurosurgery, burns, transplants, and psychiatric health. Your donation to the HSC Foundation enables HSC to improve care in these and other areas through important research initiatives, training opportunities for health care staff, the acquisition of cutting-edge medical equipment, and the development of new state-of-the-art facilities.

About the Firefighters’ Burn Fund

Established in 1978, the Firefighters’ Burn Fund is a volunteer-led registered charity supported by firefighters and communities throughout Manitoba. The Burn Fund supports educational opportunities for health care professionals, programs and services for burn survivors, research into the enhancement of burn care, and fire and burn prevention initiatives throughout Manitoba. Members of the Burn Fund are inspired and driven by the heroism of burn survivors.