Anonymous donor gives Royal Ottawa largest gift in hospital's history

    OTTAWA, March 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental
Health has received $2.5 million from an anonymous donor, the largest single
gift in the 100-year history of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, and one of
the largest received anywhere in Canada in support of mental health. The
donation was received with the following statement:

    "This gift is given to help some of the most courageous people in the
world, those living with a mental illness. May this gesture of support bring
progress in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, and in the same way
that the new facilities represent hope and investment, may this gift be a
symbol to all that mental illness will no longer be the orphan of the Canadian
health care system."

    The donation represents a major step forward in the Foundation's      
$15 million campaign to raise funds for the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre
and the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research. The campaign
has now raised $9.1 million with strong support from the community,
corporations and charitable foundations.
    "Never before has generosity been able to transform services, generate
hope through research, and shift how we as a community look at mental health,"
said David Coffey, Chair of the Board of the Foundation. "This incredible gift
of $2.5 million is tremendous affirmation of the important work being done by
clinicians and scientists at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and the
University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research."
    Funds raised go directly to the construction costs of the new facility
that opened its doors in November of 2006. The new mental health centre and
research institute has 188 beds, ample training and education rooms for future
clinicians, as well as state-of-the-art laboratories to conduct neuroscience
and behavioural research. Construction continues until next fall with the
completion of the Youth Psychiatry wing, which is the last component of the
Foundation's fundraising campaign.
    To reflect the next phase of the campaign, the anonymous gift was
announced by a group of youth from Nepean High School, known as BOHO that
stands for "Branching Out to Help Out". The enterprising students who
volunteer in shelters, immigration centers and at events that help the
community become a better place to live, mimicked popular game show "Deal-No
Deal" by revealing the $2.5 million sum in aluminum suitcases.
    "It was important to have this dynamic and motivated group of young
people announce the gift, and by being with us, lend their support to the next
phase of the campaign which will help provide troubled teens with timely and
accessible specialized psychiatric care," said Tim Kluke, President of the
Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.
    The Foundation also took the opportunity to officially open the new
Associates in Psychiatry Auditorium, named in honour of each physician at the
Royal Ottawa who donated a total of $1 million to the campaign.
    "As physicians, we see on a daily basis how effective treatment is if
people in need come for help," said Dr. Varan Kunjukrishnan, President of the
Associates in Psychiatry. "Every physician at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health
Centre contributed to the campaign as testament to our commitment to improving
the lives of those we care for."

For further information:

For further information: Kathryn Hendrick, (613) 722-6521 ext. 6349,
(416) 277-6281; Joanna Filion, (613) 722-6521 ext. 6767, (613) 867-6521

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