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Ted Rogers’ family donates $130M to create heart research centre

Ted Rogers speaks to shareholders at the Rogers Communications Inc. annual general meeting in Toronto on April 29, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.

The family of Ted Rogers has donated $130 million — the largest-ever gift to Canadian health care — to create the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research based in Toronto.

Loretta Rogers, wife of the late telecommunications pioneer, announced the donation on Thursday and said it will be matched with an additional $139 million from SickKids Hospital, the University Health Network (UNH) and the University of Toronto for a total of $269 million.

“Our children … and I wanted to do something very meaningful in Ted’s memory,” she said.

“Heart failure took Ted from us when he was 75 years old … In the future, we want fewer Canadians to experience heart failure and to have those who do live much longer.”

Loretta said the family has been working on the project for three years.

“The size and scope of this contribution is unprecedented,” Ontario’s Health Minister Eric Hoskins said.

“Medical research of this kind asks us to imagine a better future. It is the bridge between life-threatening and life-changing treatments — or even a cure. In other words, it gives us hope.”

The centre, which will be based at the UHN and also have facilities at SickKids and U of T, will focus on genomes, stem cell research, bioengineering and cardiovascular care.

The goal is to reduce hospitalization for heart failure by 50 per cent over the next decade.

Ted Rogers died on Dec. 2, 2008.

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