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A Message From Our Donors

John Franklin and Kyle MacDonald

A man and woman pose in front of trees

John Franklin and Kyle MacDonald both grew up in military families. Their fathers were proud to serve Canada – but when they returned home, they didn’t speak about their experiences. Few Veterans did.

Kyle and John are noticing a shift in society’s recognition of the psychological toll of war. They are excited by the programs and care offered to Veterans and soldiers living with operational stress injuries (OSIs), but they know we can do even better. 

Inspired by their fathers, Kyle and John have honoured these decorated men through a transformational gift of $1M to support OSI research and Veterans’ care at St. Joseph’s.

Their donation will fund research critical to advancing treatments that matter not only to the Veterans who make their home at Parkwood Institute, but to all Canadian men and women who may experience operational stress injuries as a result of their military service.

“We’d like to support research so that we can move it along faster and have more of it, for our existing veterans but also for the future.”

Kyle MacDonald

Chuck Kloetstra

Son, grandfather and father standing together

In 2018, St. Joseph’s Health Care London celebrated the opening of the Clinical Research and Chronic Disease Centre funded entirely through donations from people like Chuck Kloetstra. Chuck was inspired by the care he received, and hopes that sharing his story will inspire others to consider how they can also ensure a healthy future for the next generation.  

Improving the future of diabetes care

My family’s history with St. Joseph’s goes back many years. It was where our kids and five grandchildren were born, my wife Barb received breast cancer treatment and our oldest son Dave learned to live with type 1 diabetes. St. Joseph’s has always been there to help my family navigate difficult health challenges.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After being my son’s caregiver all those years, St. Joseph’s was once again there to prepare me for my own journey with this disease. My doctors and nurses taught me how to manage my blood sugar and live within the limits of my illness. I’m happy to report that I’m doing okay.

After my son received his diagnosis I wanted to do something about solving this disease. I got involved with the Flame of Hope Diabetes Golf Classic in London many years ago, and we raised a significant amount through the Canadian Diabetes Association to fund the diabetes research of Dr. Stewart Harris and Dr. David Hill at Lawson Health Research Institute.

While scientists haven’t found a cure for diabetes, I’ve witnessed major improvements in the care and treatment of this disease. Needles are now a fraction of the size and insulin management has evolved from an art to a science. The attitude among people who live with diabetes has changed from “I’ve got to live with it” to “I’ve got a long life ahead of me”.

Six years ago my family and I created the Kloetstra Family Charitable Fund to support causes close to our heart. We meet a few times every year to review and evaluate the impact of our support alongside our standards of faith, family and compassion. 

The Clinical Research and Chronic Disease Centre (CRCDC) at St. Joseph’s is one of the causes our family supports. We are impressed by the consolidation of medical research and patient care into one environment – we believe it will add a human perspective to research findings. Someday it may bring us one step closer towards finding a cure for diabetes.

Two of my grandsons – Dave’s son Shane, and Shane’s cousin Eli – were recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. While I’m fortunate that the doctors at St. Joseph’s oversee their care, I’m hopeful that treatment for this disease improves over their lifetime as much as it did over mine.

Our family is grateful for the opportunity to partner with St. Joseph’s to support the CRCDC and we encourage others to do the same.

Chuck Kloetstra
Patient and Donor