Source: GoodLife Fitness
$5 million donation helps fund research, learning, treatment centre of excellence
[VANCOUVER, BC] -- The Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) will open the doors of the GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub today, promising to advance autism research, learning, treatment and supports for families across British Columbia. This is the first facility of its kind, equipped with wired classrooms, lecture theatres and new technologies to extend the education and services to families in all parts of the province.
The 60,000 square foot centre on Cessna Drive has been under construction since 2014 and was made possible, in large part, through a $5 million donation from GoodLife Fitness. GoodLife Fitness Founder and CEO David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans has a 20-year old daughter, Kilee, on the autism spectrum and has been a significant supporter of autism research for many years.
“My passion to give Canadians the opportunity to live a healthier life remains undiminished, but what consumes me is a drive to help alleviate the suffering of families dealing with autism. As a father, I have navigated the education, scientific, behavioural therapy, medical world for nearly two decades to learn and contribute whatever I can. I have whole heartedly tried to tackle this challenge with all my skills and resources as a business entrepreneur and as a human being who cares deeply about the suffering and cost autism inflicts on Canadian families and our health care system,” said Patch.
Patch adds this new facility has a massive reach and offers state-of-the-art resources for families and individuals facing autism spectrum and related disorders in all parts of the province.
“It will make a huge difference in the areas of research, education and outreach. It’s about providing hope and a path forward for as many families as we can.”
Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, co-founder of Pacific Autism Family Network and driving force behind the GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub, says with 69,000 people on the autism spectrum living in BC, the centre will be a welcome addition to the services available for families.
“This centre of excellence is where children and families facing the challenges of autism and related disorders will be able to access information, treatment models, research and support in one, starting place. With 80 children diagnosed every month in the province, this is a much-needed initiative for BC families that has been made possible through the donation from GoodLife Fitness and additional supporters.” Lisogar-Cocchia said.
The Province of British Columbia provided a $20 million grant to fund the development of this unique centre.Designed to be a core of knowledge and support, in tandem with other future satellite facilities located across BC, the project will focus on serving families with a navigator program and collaboration with other organizations.
Patch and Lisogar-Cocchia agree government support for the project is a major advantage, enabling the centre to extend its reach and make a huge impact on BC residents and Canadians overall.
“No one group can do this alone—communities, schools, healthcare systems, and governments must work together. Canada can become the worldwide leader in autism research, development, and treatment, building human potential in what is already the best country in the world,” Patch added.
The GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub is located at 3688 Cessna Drive in Richmond. The facility will host an Open House for the public on November 17 from 10 a.m. to Noon.
About Pacific Autism Family Network
Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) is a charitable organization with a mandate to serve the needs of individuals with autism and all related disabilities and their families across their lifespan. The foundation will open a series of hub and spoke-modeled centres in the fall of 2016. The main hub, “GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub” located in Richmond, British Columbia, will become a centre of excellence linking together state-of-the-art resources for assessment, treatment, education-support and research. The hub will provide a “one-stop-shop” for families looking for support in their navigation of information and services.
Learn more: www.pacificautismfamily.com
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that impacts typical brain growth. As a spectrum disorder, ASD has a wide variation in how it affects each person (their needs, skills and abilities). There are some common characteristics, including difficulties with communication and social interactions, repetitive interests and activities, and stereotypic motor behaviours.
ASD occurs in approximately 1 in every 68 births, and may appear during the first three years of life. It is four to five times more common in boys than girls — affecting 1 in every 42 boys — and is the most common neurological disorder in children. Given the 1 in 68 prevalence rate, it is estimated that there are approximately 69,000 people affected by ASD in BC.
About GoodLife Fitness philanthropy
GoodLife Fitness has a proud history of helping charitable and not-for-profit organizations for over 30 years. GoodLife’s community investment initiatives are driven by the company’s vision to give every person the opportunity to live a fit and healthy good life.
Supporting global autism research
In 2003, Patch co-founded the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group (KPEARG) at Western University alongside neuroscientist Dr. Derrick MacFabe. The overall mandate was to create a multi-disciplinary research group whose combined efforts would focus on the development of novel research methods in the study of autism spectrum disorders. Patch has donated over $6 million to advance KPEARG initiatives and global collaborative studies, most recently with the Karolinska Institute (Nobel) in Sweden. He received the Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honour—the highest honour given outside the medical profession in Canada—for his support of autism research and education.
About GoodLife Fitness
Proudly Canadian since 1979, GoodLife Fitness is the largest fitness company in Canada and the fourth largest in the world. With over 365 clubs from coast-to-coast, including 70 Énergie Cardio and ÉconoFitness Clubs in Quebec, approximately 14,400 employees and more than 1.25 million Members, GoodLife is helping to transform the health and wellness of one in 34 Canadians every day. www.goodlifefitness.com