Spring 2022 News RoundUp: Healthcare Nonprofits

Healthcare is one of the five focus areas for the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation. Our Foundation believes that a healthy society is a flourishing society. That is why Moez and Marissa deeply care about supporting some of Canada’s most innovative healthcare nonprofits which deeply impact the communities within which they operate. The Foundation supports organizations including Michael Garron Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, SickKids, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.

Several of these organizations have made important developments in recent months and we want to shine the light on some of these highlights: 

CANFAR Re-Launches Legacy 2.0 Chapter in Ottawa

CANFAR, or the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, relaunched its Ottawa chapter of Legacy 2.0 during the final days of 2021. 

The Legacy 2.0 chapter functions as a social and information network for at-risk youth aged 15 to 29. They offer encouragement to the community, information, initiatives, and fundraising that raises awareness about the prevention of HIV. Sponsored by ViiV Healthcare Canada, the group’s members are part of a national network of diverse professionals who feel strongly about creating a legacy of an AIDS-free generation and ending HIV in Canada for all. 

“This is something that has been incredibly important to me,” said Daniel Reyes Cocka, Co-Chair of the Ottawa Chapter of Legacy 2.0. “Alongside my husband, I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing team in Canadian cities as we bring chapters to life from coast to coast.”

All of CANFAR’s Legacy 2.0 Chapters also support the organization’s newest youth HIV resource: Sexfluent.ca, which aims to promote openness, acceptance, and sexual empowerment within youth. 

Sunnybrook Researchers Study Covid Transmission in Animals

In late 2021, a research team from Sunnybrook Research Institute working with collaborators detected SARS-CoV-2 infection among deer in Québec. 

Since then, researchers have discovered other deer that tested positive. The virus has been found among deer in the U.S. as well, with another study in late 2021 concluding that SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were found in 40 per cent of blood samples collected from deer in several states, including Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. 

It remains unclear how the virus was transmitted to deer, and the animals have not shown overt signs of illness, according to Sunnybrook. 

The work is part of a national research collaboration established in 2020 to detect and characterize SARS-CoV-2 activity in wildlife. 

To learn more about this fascinating research and why it’s important, read the full interview with Sunnybrook scientists Dr. Samira Mubareka, virologist and infectious diseases physician, and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Jonathon Kotwa. 

SickKids Foundation Offers Cameras for Babies in NICU

Always looking for new ways to make life easier for sick children and their families, the SickKids Foundation announced a new addition to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: live-streaming cameras installed at each baby’s bedside. 

The cameras make it possible for caregivers and family members to watch the baby in real-time wherever they are, “so that siblings have a visual understanding of where their new baby sister or brother is,” SickKids wrote on Instagram. “So that parents can bond with their babies and feel a sense of comfort, connection, and peace of mind.”

Babies in the NICU often need complex and long-term healthcare. They require an average 14-day stay and some babies need to stay for months, SickKids wrote. 

This innovation in family-centered care was made possible thanks to a generous donor family who experienced four months in the NICU with their daughter.

These organizations make Toronto — and Canada — a better place to live for all of us, and the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation feel proud to continue supporting them.