By Anita Kar
A $2-million donation by the Reed Family / The Tenaquip Foundation towards ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) research and patient care at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, promises to significantly advance understanding of this devastating disease and facilitate the development of treatments and therapies.
The largest gift toward ALS research in Quebec history will enable The Neuro to establish the new Reed Family Motor Neuron Disease Research Unit. The Unit will be equipped with cutting-edge laboratories, resources and equipment to propel multidisciplinary research into motor neuron disease by top-tier scientists. The Reed Family’s support will also improve ALS clinical facilities at The Neuro, as well as services, treatment and care of ALS patients and their families.
“Supporting health research is a core priority for The Tenaquip Foundation,” said Shirley Reed, the Foundation’s president, during the Oct. 6 announcement at The Neuro. “We are proud to collaborate with the tremendous clinical and research expertise of The Neuro. The hope is that this will lead to new therapies and renewed hope for the thousands of Canadians affected by ALS.
“We have experienced how difficult ALS is for patients and their families,” said Reed. “My husband Ken Reed, founder of Tenaquip Limited, passed away from ALS a few years ago. He had always wanted to set up a charitable foundation to assist organizations to meet their objectives, so this partnership with The Neuro is extremely important to us as a family and as a foundation.”
ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a deadly neurodegenerative disease, affecting approximately 3,000 Canadians. The majority of patients die within two to five years of their diagnosis. The main symptom is muscle weakness that progressively reaches the point of paralysis and prevents a person from breathing. ALS is a result of the death of motor neurons – nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
“We are deeply appreciative of the vision and exceptional philanthropy of the Reed Family and The Tenaquip Foundation,” said Dr. Philip Barker, Interim Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute. “ALS is one of the most tragic neurological diseases. This donation has enabled us to assemble a top-notch multidisciplinary team to investigate the disease from novel angles and perspectives and will allow us to make important strides in understanding and eventually treating ALS and other diseases. One new research avenue will be examining mitochondria – the main energy producers of the body – and the role that their dysfunction plays in motor neuron diseases.”
“Providing the most advanced and compassionate care to our patients, and conducting state-of-the art research are principal missions of The Neuro,” added Martine Alfonso, Interim Director of the Montreal Neurological Hospital, “and private funding that supports these objectives, such as the generous gift from the Reed Family and Tenaquip Foundation, is critical for us to achieve our goals.“