St. Michael’s work in multiple sclerosis is legendary. Since we began in 1981, we have built the top MS research centre in Canada and we are among the top five MS centres globally. We are the busiest clinic in North America, treating 7,000 patients every year. And our renowned neurologists have informed medical interventions around the world.
Now we have the chance to do what was once unimaginable: Catapult MS to a whole new sphere of progress and break the back of a disease that has proven intractable. That’s thanks to two families – the Barfords and the Loves – who committed an incredible $20 million to build a centre that will be a world pioneer in research, treatment and care.
At the helm is Dr. Xavier Montalban, one of the world’s preeminent MS neurologists. He came to us from Spain where he headed the MS Centre of Catalonia. Deeply interested in multiple sclerosis, the Barfords and Loves travelled to Spain to see his work up close.
The centre’s groundbreaking research and holistic care had a transformational impact. “We saw what an MS centre could look like,” recalls John Barford, chair of St. Michael’s Foundation’s Board of Directors.
“In Canada, we have the highest incidence of the disease in the world. I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have this here at home.”
Now we will. The Barlo MS Centre will be no ordinary place. When all said and done, it will occupy two floors and 25,000 sq. ft. in St. Michael’s flagship Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower. It will offer one-stop care, meaning patients will be diagnosed, treated and given the chance to take part in research – all in a single location. Neurologists, nurses, social workers, neuropsychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and other professionals will provide integrated care for the patient’s body, mind and life. The plan is to battle multiple sclerosis on all fronts.
To support our efforts, we have launched an aggressive campaign to raise an additional $20 million that will fund research and treatment innovations like a state-of-the art living laboratory, an infusion clinic, and a specialized gym to prevent symptoms before they begin.
Our mandate is early diagnosis and early treatment so we can stop MS in its tracks. For good.