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Barrick Gold Corporation and the family of Greg Wilkins, former CEO of Barrick, have donated $5.5 million to the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation (TG&WHF). The gifts from Barrick and the Wilkins family will create the Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery and fund medical training in neurosurgery for health care providers in developing countries.
"Greg was an outstanding CEO whose entrepreneurial spirit and strategic vision cemented Barrick's position as the gold industry leader. Greg also shaped Barrick's values, which reflected his unwavering commitment to corporate social responsibility," said Aaron Regent, Barrick's President and CEO. "These medical programs are a fitting tribute to Greg, who supported significant company investments in health care that helped many people around the world. Along with the Wilkins family, we are proud to make this gift a part of Greg's impressive legacy."
In December 2009, Wilkins lost his battle with cancer, and passed away at age 53. Dr. Mark Bernstein, a neurosurgeon at TWH, who was part of Wilkins' care team during his illness, described him as "extremely courageous."
"Greg faced his illness with grace and courage and we are so thankful for the excellent care he received," said Vera Wilkins, Greg Wilkins' wife, who is personally contributing to the Foundation, along with children Mark and Lauren. "Thanks to Barrick, a company Greg loved, his memory will live on through much needed medical programs that he would have whole-heartedly supported."
Thanks to this generous donation, Toronto Western Hospital (TWH), a world leader in diseases of the brain, will establish the following:
The Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery
The Chair in International Surgery will be held by a world-renowned neurosurgeon, in affiliation with TWH's neuroscience centre. The centrepiece of health initiatives to honour Greg Wilkins, the Chair will oversee research and training programs for doctors and nurses in developing countries.
The Greg Wilkins-Barrick Fellowship
An annual fellowship will enable a neurosurgeon from a developing country to train at TWH, with the aim of improving surgical practices in the physician's home country.
The Barrick Gold Corporation Centre for International Outreach
The newly created Centre for International Outreach will provide training and educational opportunities for nurses and health care providers based in developing regions, in order to provide a higher standard of medical care for patients.
The Gregory C. Wilkins Centre for Excellence in Neuro-Oncology
TWH's Centre for Excellence in Neuro-Oncology delivers world-leading, innovative research in the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours, arteriovenous malformations and other brain abnormalities. The Centre will be named in Wilkins' honour.
"This wonderful tribute to Greg will give us the opportunity to partner with health care providers from developing countries and empower them through hands-on education," said Dr. Bernstein. "This kind of collaboration will not only improve care in communities abroad but advance our ability to fight disease throughout the world and here at home."
Wilkins served as President and CEO of Barrick from 2003 to 2008 and led the company's takeover of Placer Dome in 2006, which created the world's largest gold-mining company. During his career, Wilkins worked closely with friend and mentor Peter Munk, Barrick's Founder and Chairman, and a major donor to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at UHN.