CMA awards Medal of Honour to David Patchell-Evans

    OTTAWA, Aug. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
will present the 2007 CMA Medal of Honour to David Patchell-Evans, founder of
GoodLife Fitness Clubs.
    "The CMA Medal of Honour recognizes personal contributions to advancing
medical research and education," said CMA President Dr. Colin McMillan.
"David Patchell-Evans' dedication to, and efforts on behalf of, helping
scientists find a cause and cure for autism is nothing short of inspirational.
He is a very worthy recipient of this award."
    "I am incredibly humbled to be given this award. I believe that the
medical profession is the most under-appreciated, underpaid profession in this
country. At the same time, it is the profession that has the highest
expectations and the highest level of trust placed on them," said
Mr. Patchell-Evans. I will continue on this course as best I can, with the
hope that I can continue to fulfill your expectations of me and to be
deserving of this great honour."
    When his daughter, Kilee, was diagnosed with autism, David Patchell-Evans
set into motion a unique research project that promises to have enormous
ramifications for autism science and medicine. After meeting neuroscientist
Dr. Derrick MacFabe and hearing his thoughts on a possible causal factor in
autism, Mr. Patchell-Evans committed more than $1.5 million of his personal
resources to fund autism research.
    As a result, in 2004 the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group was
established at the University of Western Ontario, housed primarily in the
Department of Psychology (Neuroscience). A multidisciplinary research team of
clinical and basic neuroscientists was assembled along with graduate students,
postdoctoral fellows and research technologists. Their study of
autism-associated impairments in brain development, memory, and repetitive and
addictive behaviour draws on their expertise in neurotransmitter systems,
environmental toxins, sex hormones, dietary and bacterial factors.
    In October 2006 the team released intriguing findings that pointed to
propionic acid in the digestive system as a possible causal factor. After
publication in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioural Brain Research, their
paper, "Neurobiological effects of intraventricular propionic acid in rats:
Possible role of short chain fatty acids on the pathogenesis and
characteristics of autism spectrum disorders," sparked interest around the
    The UWO team now is collaborating with researchers at several major
American institutions, as well as with the Canadian-American Autism Research
Consortium and was recently awarded the Top 50 Scientific Discoveries in
Canada by NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada).
    This has all come about because of the vision and generosity of
Mr. Patchell-Evans, who has proven that one person from outside the medical
profession, can make a meaningful and significant contribution to the
advancement of science and medicine.
    Canada's most successful fitness entrepreneur, who likes to be called
"Patch", discovered his passion for disciplined physical fitness at age 19
while working out to recover from a motorcycle accident. His interest was
further fueled while training for Canada's national rowing team and pursuing a
university degree in physical education. In 1979, Patch dropped out of a
masters program in physical education to purchase his first health club with
money he made from his snowplowing business. A decade later, he had a chain of
12 fitness centres. He continued to develop GoodLife by opening clubs for
women only and developing a range of weight -loss and personal training
services. GoodLife Fitness now serves over 350,000 members in 141 locations
across Canada.
    GoodLife is known for its charitable endeavors, one of which is an
initiative to combat childhood obesity. Not only does the company make
thousands of charitable gifts in more than 60 communities across Canada and
support more than 170 community events, GoodLife staff members volunteer
thousands of hours for charitable causes. Mr. Patchell-Evans has offered his
own time for the Arthritis Society, the Easter Seals Camp Woodeden, and for
athletic events staged to raise funds for foundations for ovarian cancer,
spinal cord injury, and children with disabilities.
    A respected international speaker, Mr. Patchell-Evans recently became
president of the Autism Canada Foundation. In this role he will initiate
fundraising for scientific research and public education about autism spectrum
disorder, and spearhead public dissemination of the progress and results of
scientific research.
    David Patchell-Evans is the 24th recipient of the CMA Medal of Honour,
the highest award bestowed upon a person who is not a member of the medical
profession. He will receive this award at a special ceremony at the Westin
Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, BC on Aug. 22nd as part of the CMA's 140th annual
    (Visit the CMA website at for full biographical notes on
David Patchell-Evans.)

For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Manager, Media Relations, (613)
731-8610, 1-800-663-7336 ext. 1266, Mobile: (613) 447-0866

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