MUSCO: Interview with Mirella Saputo

The Montreal Children’s Hospital, the CHU Sainte-Justine and its Marie-Enfant Rehabilitation Centre, and Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada are coming together thanks to an exceptional and visionary $10 million donation from the Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation that will allow us to revolutionize patient care and services in Quebec. Here is an interview with Mrs. Mirella Saputo.

Mirella SaputoThis is the largest donation ever made by the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation. What in your experience with children with musculoskeletal disorders and their families prompted you to commit to something this monumental?

We have been supporting a number of causes focusing on children with disabilities since the 1980s.

We started out by organizing various activities to bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of children and their families, as well as special days to make them forget about their hardships, if only for a short while.

We have been backing initiatives in this field for many years, but we felt the time had come to lend our support to larger-scale projects using a collaborative approach.

With this donation, you are bringing together four major institutions around a shared vision for children and families across the province. Why do you consider inter-institutional collaboration to be essential?

We feel that collaboration is the channel that will enable us to reach out to an even greater number of people and further improve families’ experiences.

Parents of children living with musculoskeletal disorders who require complex care often have to go from institution to institution to get what they need. They can sometimes feel alone and overwhelmed by the complexity of it all.

By bringing everyone to the same table, we hope to prove how effective inter-institutional collaboration can be and encourage other groups to initiate or accelerate their own collaborative efforts.

Mirella SaputoHow will this inter-institutional collaboration and the MUSCO launch help make a difference and improve the quality of life of children and families?

Children living with musculoskeletal disorders must be seen by a wide range of specialists. They often have to be transferred from one place to another, depending on the various specialities and technologies available at each facility.

Going to a new centre for care can be a complicated undertaking. Families often have to deal with communication challenges, waiting lists and gaps in service. This can have major impacts on their quality of life.

By working hand in hand, MUSCO’s professionals will be able to align their efforts to ensure access to the best possible care delivered in a timely manner at the most appropriate institutions.

Family is the core focus of your company and the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation. How are your philanthropic values passed down between generations? How will you ensure future generations will uphold them?

Our family values are at the heart of everything we do. The Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation team is still very small. It’s like an extension of our own family.

When we evaluate a project, we always make sure we stay focused on the people we want to help. With them, we do everything we can to find solutions and implement initiatives that help make their lives better.

Is it your intention to inspire other families and organizations like yours to commit to making major donations of their own?

We are always open to the idea of partnerships. We also plan to meet with our counterparts in other foundations to highlight the advantages of collaborative initiatives of this nature and share what we have learned with them.

What’s important to us is keeping our feet firmly on the ground and making a concrete difference in the lives of patients and their families. It is crucial for the good of our entire community to promote innovation and collaboration in the healthcare sector.

Mirella SaputoAre there any philanthropic families who are a particular source of inspiration to you these days?

What inspires us more than anything is the people we help: the parents of children with disabilities, the caregivers who tend to the elderly population and the newcomers to Quebec who want to build a better future.

We are also inspired by innovation in all its forms, specifically breakthroughs that will let us develop long-term solutions for current problems.

The Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation has raised the bar for philanthropic and community leadership in Quebec. How do you think philanthropy will continue to influence innovation in pediatric medicine, and in our society as a whole, in the years to come?

I’m not sure we’ve raised the bar for anything, but what’s important to us is keeping our feet firmly on the ground and making a concrete difference in the lives of patients and their families. It is crucial for the good of our entire community to promote innovation and collaboration in the healthcare sector.

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