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The donor: Gavin Murphy

The gift: $500,000

The cause: Ottawa Hospital Foundation

The reason: To fund cancer research

Gavin Murphy has dedicated his career to public service as a lawyer and a political activist. And underlying many of those endeavours has been a passion for health care.

“One of the things I’m really interested in is maintaining a publicly funded, world-class health system,” Mr. Murphy said from his home in Ottawa. “To put it brutally frank, there are cuts, cuts, cuts and if we’re going to maintain a public health-care system, someone’s going to have to pony up.”

Mr. Murphy, 68, has done just that and donated $500,000 to the Ottawa Hospital Foundation. The money will fund cancer research projects within the hospital’s Radiation Medicine Program. Mr. Murphy is making the donation in $100,000 instalments over five years and he plans to work with the hospital to decide which projects to fund annually. He’s particularly interested in generating scholarly papers that can be shared within the scientific community.

“Every family is touched by cancer, mine’s no different,” added Mr. Murphy, who has worked at the Department of Justice and the Competition Bureau, and is now the legal editor of the Commonwealth Law Bulletin in London. “But what appealed to me was cutting-edge research at the hospital.”

Radiation therapy is a key treatment for almost 5,000 people every year in Ottawa, but the program rarely receives many large donations. “This is really important to do in your lifetime," Mr. Murphy said. “I want to see the fruits of my labour."