By Drew Morin
Nearly every week or two there is a medical breakthrough from the research labs of the University of Calgary. A new Alberta-wide fundraising initiative aims to keep it that way by raising $300 million for Calgary medical research labs. Reach!, the largest fundraising initiative in Alberta’s history, will target individuals and corporations over the next two to three years as philanthropic sources for charitable donations.
“Calgary has a great situation of having the two teaching hospitals [Foothills Medical Centre and the new children’s hospital],” said Reach! Co-Chair Bill Sembo. He noted Calgary health has evolved to such a point that continued fundraising is a necessity. Sembo and the Reach! team are looking to progress Calgary by building healthy communities, enhancing the patient experience, attracting the best and brightest doctors and researchers and having leading edge technology to work with in our hospitals.
“It is a case of the glass being half full and being filled more and more all the time,” said Sembo, who was optimistic of achieving the $300 million mark, pointing out they’ve already raised $100 million. “By raising the bar in Alberta we raise the bar in the rest of the world.”
Reach!’s long-term goal is to stimulate innovative medical technology to attract other leading professionals from around the world. Those imports would then develop more technology and continue the cycle.
Reach! members hope to raise awareness and funds to help innovate new technologies in eight key areas: bone and joint, brain, cancer, cardiovascular, child and maternal health, community health and wellness, frontiers of medicine, and infection, immunity, and inflammation.
Sembo stressed the opportunities for interfaculty cooperation and collaboration, adding that U of C students in the faculties of Kinesiology, Biological Sciences, Medicine and Nursing can expect to see more unique opportunities for their university experience down the road.