“My donation is my gratitude for what Canada has done for me and my family”
By Siva Sivapragasam
Peter Munk and his family fled Hungary in 1944 to escape the brutalities of the Nazis and later settled down in Canada to start life from scratch. He made enough wealth but was also convinced that the “wealth should flow back to society one day”. He made this a realty by donating an unprecedented amount of one hundred million dollars last month to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre run by the University Health Centre at the Toronto General Hospital.
The University Health Network acknowledged that this historic gift “represents the largest commitment to a Canadian hospital in our country’s 150-year history and builds on Peter and Melanie’s extraordinary legacy of philanthropy.” Himself a heart patient, Mr. Munk and his wife, Melanie, have supported the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre for more than two decades with an amount that now stands at more than $175 million.
The news, delivered by Brian Porter, Chair of the Board of University Health Network (UHN), drew thunderous applause from a packed room of patients, medical staff, business leaders, donors and government officials, including Ontario’s health minister.
This gift, which will bring the Munks’ support of UHN and the PMCC to more than $175 million since 1993, will primarily be used to develop a data-driven digital cardiovascular health platform that reduces costs, advances medical research, and improves the outcomes of patients with cardiac and vascular disease.
The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC), established through the generous support of the Munks, is the premier cardiac centre in Canada. Since its opening, the Centre has saved and improved the lives of cardiac and vascular patients from around the world. Each year, over 163,000 patients receive innovative and compassionate care from multidisciplinary teams in the PMCC.
(The writer can personally vouch for the excellent treatment and nursing care he experienced at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre years ago after his successful by-pass surgery performed by the well-known Cardiac surgeon Dr. Cusimano).