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40 Years of Progress It all Started in a Basement


Forty years ago several people met in Marilyn and Al Finkelstein’s basement to discuss what they could do to stop these diseases from devastating their children’s lives. Today, when Marilyn and Dr. Fred Saibil look back at that fateful meeting, they tell us that each person in that room had something to give, or was connected to someone who did. That giving spirit continues to drive us all to treat and cure Crohn’s and colitis.


Crohn’s and Colitis Canada started with nothing – no office space or phones, and certainly no staff. But the network quickly expanded beyond parents and doctors. Hospitals donated space for meetings. Money began to flow, and doctors started a medical advisory committee to guide how research funds were invested.


Marilyn points to the many wonderful partners whose support at different times has helped us invest more than $88 million in research, education, advocacy and awareness, including: • Co-founder Don Lebovitz and his connections to the grocery industry that brought in $17 million over 25 years;


• Shirley Ogden, co-founder whose family has continued to be involved for multiple generations;


• M&M Meat Shops co-founder Mac Voisin who supported a partnership that raised





more than $25 million for research over the past 26 years; and,


• Calgary businessman Sydney Kahanoff, whose $6 million donation in 1985 made it possible to establish a research chair in inflammatory bowel disease.


For 40 years, a Bold Vision During the last four decades our impact has


been profound – We have helped to improve the lives of Canadians living with Crohn’s and colitis, and offered them real hope for cures by:


• Investing in research that has led to new and improved treatments and lower rates of surgery


• Funding researchers like Dr. Aleixo Muise (The Hospital for Sick Children), who used bone marrow transplant to successfully treat inflammatory bowel disease in a young girl


• Educating healthcare professionals and patients on treatment options


• Establishing Canadian research institutions as worldwide centres of excellence in Crohn’s and colitis research


• Funding microbial and genetic discoveries that have opened the door to promising new pathways of research including personalized medicine


There were no answers, then – only questions. We needed to make sure these precious dollars were spent properly, and the experts were our partners.


” ANNUAL REPORT 2014 | 18 – Co-founder Marilyn Finkelstein


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