Government of Ontario partners with Rick Hansen Foundation to support national spinal cord research initiative

    TORONTO, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - Rick Hansen was joined by Ontario Premier Dalton
McGuinty today to announce the Government of Ontario's $10 million commitment
to supporting Ontario's involvement in a national Spinal Cord Injury
Translational Research Network (SCI-TRN), to benefit those living with spinal
cord injury (SCI) in the Province.
    "Ontario is a national leader in acute care and spinal cord research and
we're thankful to Premier McGuinty and his government for taking the
initiative to support this vital program that will improve health and quality
of life for people living with a spinal cord injury and maximized recovery for
those who are newly injured each year," said Rick Hansen, President and CEO of
the Rick Hansen Foundation.
    Twenty years ago, Hansen inspired a nation to believe that anything is
possible. The 20th Anniversary of the Man In Motion World Tour renewed hope,
inspiration and significant investment in research excellence and improved
quality of life for people with spinal cord injury. In 2007, Spinal Cord
Injury Translational Research Network, established by the Rick Hansen
foundation, was started with a $30M contribution from the federal government,
led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
    As the first program of its type in Canada, the SCI-TRN will bring
experts in the field of SCI together to work towards the common goal of
maximizing ability and community participation and minimizing disability for
people living with SCI.
    "Together, we can make life easier for Ontarians living with a spinal
cord injury by bringing exciting discoveries from the lab to the clinic
faster," said Premier Dalton McGuinty.
    "This investment will allow us to connect a network of researchers and
clinicians in Ontario who will be linked with other experts nationally and
internationally to translate advancements in research and clinical care into
best practices. It is my hope that this initiative is adopted by all provinces
across this country so we can collaborate and showcase to the world that
Canada is leading the way in spinal cord research," said Hansen.
    Ontario's investment will remain entirely in the Province and will
support and enhance Ontario's capacity for spinal cord research excellence.
The Rick Hansen Foundation will work closely with the Ontario Neurotrauma
Foundation (ONF) and other research and clinical partners to establish the
SCI-TRN within the province and to create strategic, national linkages across
    Investment in SCI-TRN to help find better ways to treat SCI is in
Canada's economic interest. An estimated 42,000 Canadians are currently living
with SCI at a cost to the health care system of between $1.25 million and
$25 million during the lifetime of each injured person. By way of improving
treatment and facilitating knowledge transfer, conservative estimates indicate
that the SCI-TRN has the potential to save $304 million over the next five
years in health care costs and $4.2 billion over the next 30 years.

    About the SCI-TRN:
    The SCI TRN's mission is to reduce disability and improve the quality of
life for people living with SCI by identifying best practices and research
breakthroughs for translation into practice and for inspiration towards
implementation across Canada. As the first program of its type in Canada,
SCI-TRN will bring experts together to work towards the common goals of
maximizing ability and community participation, and minimizing disability for
people living with SCI.

    About the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
    The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, with funding from the Ministry of
Health and Long Term Care, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary supporting
research and its corresponding mobilization and impact in Ontario. ONF's
research program has a focus on reducing the incidence and prevalence of
Acquired Brain and Spinal Cord Injury in the province of Ontario and improving
the quality of life for those living with a neurotrauma.
    ONF utilizes its role as a knowledge broker to bring researchers,
practitioners and consumers together to develop research initiatives,
implement research activities and engages all stakeholders to mobilize the new
knowledge and sustain its impact. ONF maintains a strong emphasis on
partnerships and capacity building as key enablers in achieving the mission
and goals of the organization.

    About the Rick Hansen Foundation:
    Established in 1988, the Rick Hansen Foundation is a registered
charitable organization that works to create more accessible and inclusive
communities for people with a spinal cord injury, and supports the search for
a cure. The Foundation achieves its goals by connecting the people and
resources that make innovation possible.
    For more information, please visit:

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Lorraine Wilson, Rick Hansen Foundation, (604)
709-6346, (604) 351-9205 (cell),

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