Hopes to pursue dementia research
Sisu is the Finnish word for integrity, perseverance and the strong backbone required to follow through with projects, goals and ambitions.
Gerry Lougheed Jr. said the word made for an appropriate name for the new Finlandia Sisu Charitable Foundation.
Lougheed, who is the foundation's first board president, said it was created to continue the Sudbury Finnish Rest Home Society's 31-year tradition of first-rate care for older adults in Finlandia Village.
The Finlandia Sisu Charitable Foundation officially launched Tuesday with a $100,000 donation from David Anderson, a former Sudburian who now lives in Calgary, and who started the DC Anderson Foundation in 2012, with his wife Christine, to support a number of charitable projects around the world.
Anderson's donation came at the heels of a capital campaign for Finlandia village that exceeded its $3-million goal by $600,000.
“The funding will make for a better Finlandia Village,” Lougheed said.
When Lougheed sat on a national forum for health care in Canada, he said Finlandia Village was held up as an example to be copied elsewhere across the country.
That model, Lougheed said, is one that offers a strong continuum of care for seniors who are more independent, and those who require more assisted living, all in the same space.
Dr. Gerry Bekker has his clinic on site, where most of his clients, who live in Finlandia Village, can see him without having to travel across the city.
The Sudbury Finnish Rest Home Society was incorporated in 1982.
On average it has built a new project every five years, according to David Munch, Finlandia Village's executive director.
Munch said Tuesday that the Finlandia Sisu Charitable Foundation will manage all charitable donations made to Finlandia Village.
He said he hopes to expand the organization's scope, and help fund collaborative research projects to improve care for older adults.
Munch said dementia will be a key area of focus for the foundation.
“It's the fastest-growing disease in Canada, set to surpass cancer in future years,” he said.
According to Statistics Canada, about 5 million Canadians were aged 65 or older in 2011. That number is expected to double to 10.4 million seniors by 2036.
Munch said he hopes to eventually collaborate with the Northern Ontario Medical School, or Health Sciences North, to conduct dementia-related research, and devise better ways to care for patients with the disease.
“What it means for us is future opportunity,” he said regarding the launch of the Finlandia Sisu Charitable Foundation.