Daniel and Henrik Sedin's $1.5-million donation is one of the largest ever in the history of the B.C. Children's Hospital fundraising campaign.
The hospital said yesterday that the donation by the Vancouver Canucks forwards, announced late Wednesday, amounted to the fourth-largest gift by a private citizen since the campaign began two years ago.
The identical twins, who have called Vancouver home since joining the National Hockey League team in 2000, intended to make an anonymous donation, but were persuaded to go public to help the hospital's Campaign for B.C. Children achieve its $200-million goal.
"The huge gift is not just the dollar amount, but that we're getting tremendous exposure for the campaign," said Stephen Forgacs, director of communications for the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation.
"We asked if we could put out a release."
Mr. Forgacs said that North Vancouver businessman and philanthropist Djavad Mowafaghian has made separate gifts of $6-million and $4-million, and that an anonymous family donated $5-million in 2008.
The campaign has raised $104-million for the construction of a $500-million hospital, passing the midpoint of its $200-million goal in December. The provincial government has pledged to finance the remaining $300-million, and the hospital expects to break ground on the new facility later this year.
Both Mr. Forgacs and the Sedins' agent, Calgary-based J.P. Barry, said the twins approached the Canucks last year looking to donate to a cause that could help people across the province.
Both have made regular appearances at B.C. Children's Hospital during their careers. The money is earmarked for a new pediatric intensive-care unit, and a diagnostics and imaging area.
"They've talked in the past about how much they love the city and the province," Mr. Barry said. "This is typical of them."
Mr. Forgacs said the fundraising campaign was hampered by the recession last year, but is "full speed ahead now."
Mr. Barry, who represents a who's who of NHL stars, said he has had other clients make generous donations on a continuing basis, but added: "I can't remember anybody making this large a donation at one time."
Daniel and Marinette Sedin have two children, one born in Canada, the other in their native Sweden. Henrik and his wife, Johanna, are expecting their second child this summer. The couples live in Vancouver during the season, and return home to Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, for the summer.