January 29, 2024
Local London couple, Dieter and Lyse Jahnke, have made the largest-ever gift of $5 million to Children’s Health Foundation and Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre. The significant and heartfelt gift was celebrated on January 29 in the atrium of Children’s Hospital with excited patient families, medical professionals, hospital leadership, and foundation representatives in attendance.
“Children’s Hospital has provided excellence in care to children and families affected by childhood cancer for 40 years. In this time, the paediatric oncology team has profoundly and positively impacted thousands of young lives. Dieter and Lyse recognize the power of this talented team and believe they have the potential to drive even greater innovation,” says Scott Fortnum, President and CEO of Children’s Health Foundation. “Their transformational gift will allow for the immediate purchase of critical pieces of equipment, help to reimagine new spaces for care and be a catalyst for advancements in paediatric oncology care, patient support, education and research.”
Dieter and Lyse described their act of giving as one of the most proud and joyful moments of their lives.
“We have a desire to give and a reason to live – we want to help others,” said the couple. “There is nothing more meaningful than writing the last chapter of your life and dedicating an everlasting gift for children that will impact many generations.”
Dieter immigrated to Canada in 1961 with very modest means. Through hard work, determination, and the incredible support of his wife, Lyse, he built a successful, leading-edge technology company focused on digital office solutions. The couple’s shared value of giving back and their love of children and family has compelled them to invest significantly in their community.
“My mother was very caring about others,” says Lyse. “She set an example for me, and we have passed this way of looking at life down to our children and grandchildren – that you must care for others, that giving is joyful.
Artwork presented to the Jahnke's by Stella, age 10, Children's Hospital Patient
The Jahnke family’s investment will be foundational in establishing the Jahnke Family Paediatric Oncology Centre of Excellence. This new centre will enhance and integrate all aspects of cancer care at Children’s Hospital to modernize and create a nimble delivery mode to meet and exceed the evolving practice of oncology care, while surrounding patients with the very best care team and state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
Children’s Hospital is the regional paediatric oncology centre for all of Western Ontario. Through advancements in supportive care and research, survival rates for childhood cancer have risen above 80 per cent. However, many survivors experience long-lasting side effects, from hearing loss and impaired vision to organ damage. The dedicated paediatric oncology team at Children’s Hospital strives to ensure that children facing cancer not only survive, but enjoy the best quality of life.
“This investment will help propel us to deliver a new level of paediatric oncology care and patient support, invest in research and support education that is completely designed for the kids and families we serve,” says Nash Syed, President, Children’s Hospital. “We are truly grateful for the Jahnke family’s vision for a better future for our children facing cancer.”