Spotlight on the Cole Foundation


What is the use of living if not to make this world a better place?’
      — John N. (Jack) Cole, 1910 – 2004

The extraordinary history of the Montreal Children’s Hospital is intricately tied to the stories of generations of Montreal, Quebec and Canadian families. Among these is the story of the Cole family: the late Jack Cole, founding chairman of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation in the early 1970s, was known as a tireless fundraiser and a moving force in the fight against leukemia.

At the centre of the Cole family’s decades-old philanthropic mission is the Cole Foundation, established by Jack in 1980. Its core mission: to create a centre of expertise in Montreal for research into pediatric and young adult leukemia and lymphomas, and patient care. The Montreal Children’s Hospital was, and remains, a key player in that great effort, notably through its Penny Cole Laboratory, established by Jack to conduct research into pediatric oncology and hematology. Among the lab’s current projects is a study involving stem cell research, led by Doctors Nada Jabado and Janusz Rak, who are intent on finding better treatment for leukemia and other cancers. The Penny Cole Lab was founded by Jack following the death of his only child from leukemia. He later endowed the Jack Cole Chair in Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at McGill University, currently held by Dr. Rak.

A second generation of Coles stepped up after Jack passed in 2004; the Cole Foundation is now stewarded by Barry Cole, who continues his uncle’s work of supporting leukemia research and care through funding for the Penny Cole Lab, funding young researchers in their first 3 years as a principal investigator, through financial aid to families in need with children stricken with cancer,and through post-doctoral and doctoral fellowship grants to promising scientists. To date, the Cole Foundation has given the Montreal Children’s Hospital $4.5 million. “Thanks to research and advancements in treatment, we have saved many lives,” says Barry, under whose leadership the Cole Foundation remains unwavering in its support of researchers at the Children's. “Their dreams and vision pave the way for a better future for young cancer patients.”

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