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Donation from the heart brings hope for brain research possibilities

by Karmen Dowling | December 22, 2010

Donation from the heart brings hope for brain research
Dr. Cecil and Linda Rorabeck

The Rorabecks have been making quiet but generous contributions to their community for many years - through philanthropy, volunteer and professional work. Their belief in the promise of medical research has led Dr. Cecil and Linda Rorabeck to donate $1 million to Schulich's Robarts Research Institute.

“We believe in science and we believe in supporting excellence. Robarts is helping redefine excellence internationally and we want to continue to support that and make it even stronger if we can.”

The Rorabeck gift is being combined with Myra Millson’s $500,000 bequest to Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. This will create a total donation of $1.5 million, which will be matched by the University to create a $3-million endowed chair. The Cecil and Linda Rorabeck Chair in Molecular Neuroscience and Vascular Biology will support an appointed scientist at the new Centre for Molecular Neuroscience and Vascular Biology at Robarts. Ms. Millson’s gift is being honoured separately.

In recent years, Rorabeck had the opportunity to see the impact of Robarts research. He served as the Institute’s interim CEO and Scientific Director, overseeing its merger and consolidation with Western, which was finalized in June 2007.

“I have been fortunate to see from the inside the extraordinary work and resources it takes to develop and bring discoveries to the patients who are waiting every day, filled with hope. For Linda and for me, the support of a research chair was a meaningful way to show our commitment to that research.”

Dr. Rorabeck is one of the world’s leading experts on hip and knee replacement surgery, a Professor Emeritus at The University of Western Ontario and former Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University and London Health Sciences Centre. A Western graduate (MD’68), he received an honorary degree from his alma mater last October in recognition of the worldwide impact he has made in medicine, and for his dedication to the community.

He admits it may seem odd that an orthopaedic surgeon would support neuroscience and vascular biology, but with neurodegenerative disease affecting some family members, the connection is clear.

“We’re not under any illusions that we’re going to solve Alzheimer’s disease in the next six months or answer all the questions about stroke or MS, but I think the technology is such that with enough funding and expertise, there is a possibility of certainly making some inroads.”

This article appeared in the Winter 2010 edition of Impact Western
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