Sleep disorders program gets a jolt from philanthropy
If you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, you may be getting some relief thanks to the donation of a local philanthropist.
The Sleep Disorders Program at UBC Hospital is now housed in the brand-new Leon Judah Blackmore Centre for Sleep Disorders. A momentous milestone for the program established in 1981, the new centre also represents another step forward for the UBC Hospital Renewal Project.
Before Leon Blackmore passed away two years ago, he left more than $18 million to Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital, with more than $2.2 million of that going to the centre.
“I was diagnosed with sleep apnea,” says Sara Galley, a patient at the centre. “The treatment that they offered me was very helpful and complete. Within a matter of days, I was back to normal and feeling fantastic.”
The centre has grown from six to nine rooms, creating a more comfortable space for more people suffering from a wide range of sleep disorders. The dual-purpose space operates 24/7 — as a clinic by day and lab by night. Before, the lab and clinic were located in different areas of UBC Hospital. The donation was made through the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation.
“He made it clear to us that he wanted the money to go towards something that would make a significant difference – a significant impact – and help a lot of people,” explains Craig Sturrock, a friend and a member of Leon’s foundation. “We thought that the Centre for Sleep Disorders would fit that criteria. It is good cause – he would be happy.”
Dr. John Fleetham, Medical Co-director of the UBC Hospital Sleep Disorders Program, says 40 per cent of Canadians will suffer from sort of sleep disorder in their lifetime.
“Many, many people have sleep disorders,” he says. “Some are simple, like snoring or jet lag, but some are much more serious and lead to heart attacks, strokes and dementia. There is much more recognition of sleep disorders and this donation is proof of that.”
Dr. Fleetham believes this donation will make the impact Leon wanted on people’s lives.
“This expanded facility will allow us to see more patients with complex sleep disorders that require accurate diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Fleetham says. “We will be able to improve the lives of British Columbians. Good sleep, in addition to good diet and exercise, are the fundamentals to good health. Poor sleep and sleep disorders lead to an impaired quality of life and reduced life expectancy.”
Thanks to the program, people like Sara are back to normal life.
“I have gone from being chronically tired and feeling unwell to living the life I was supposed to live,” she says.