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The donors: Warren Kimel and family

The gift: Raising $20-million

The cause: Baycrest Foundation

The reason: To fund research into Alzheimer’s and brain health care

Warren Kimel’s family has been connected to Toronto’s Baycrest Health Sciences for more than 50 years and his grandmother, grandfather, father and brother have all been treated at the centre.

The family’s ties haven’t stopped there. A few years ago, the Kimels donated $10-million to help build a unique research, education and treatment facility aimed at combatting the onset of dementia. This fall, they went further and joined in a fundraising event that raised another $10-million for the project. The new Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness is already taking shape under the leadership of Dr. Howard Chertkow, a world-renowned cognitive neurologist who joined the centre last summer.

The program is focusing largely on treating people with dementia and studying how it can be delayed. “If we can delay the onset of dementia by five years, we can reduce the prevalence by 30 per cent,” said Mr. Kimel, whose family founded the Fabricland chain of stores. “My dad got Alzheimer’s at 80 and he died at 89. His father got it at 65 or 70, he also lived to 90. So I figure I’ve got a good chance of getting it, but if I can delay it until 90, then who really cares?”

Mr. Kimel said the hospital had been considering the centre for years. “It was on their radar, but it wasn’t key until they found the doctor and they found us and we got lucky and had a big event and they found some more money,” he said. “It’s very nice.”