Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group
"Research partners claim they're making leaps and bounds towards understanding autism"
Excerpt from article by Teresa Smith, Postmedia News September 12, 2011
After years of "just coping," Patchell-Evans, the owner of GoodLife Fitness Canada and a self-described "entrepreneur to the core," started looking for his own answers.
In 2003, a friend introduced him to London, Ont.-based neuroscientist Derrick MacFabe, who had an as-yet untested theory about the cause of autism, which affects one in 90 Canadians.
After repeated unsuccessful attempts at getting funding through traditional government sources, MacFabe was searching for help.
The scientist and the CEO spent an afternoon discussing MacFabe's theories, and Patchell-Evans' experience with Kilee.
Patchell-Evans said MacFabe seemed honest about the fact he didn't have the answers — "but he was asking the right questions."
After a few hours, the two shook hands, as Patchell-Evans promised to fund MacFabe's research, on two conditions: the research had to be conducted openly, with as much collaboration with other scientists as possible, and the resulting cure or treatment would be made widely available to anyone who needed it, at a fair price.
Since 2003, Patchell-Evans has given $4 million to the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group (KPEARG), and has raised more through his friends and contacts in the business world.
MacFabe uses his position at the university to make contact with autism researchers in a variety of specialties all over the world, hoping a collaboration in which all the information is immediately shared will lead to a faster answer to all of their questions — and a faster cure for autism.
Researchers at Harvard, UCLA, Queen's, and universities in Sweden and Saudi Arabia all contribute their findings to the multi-disciplinary approach MacFabe insists will find the key to this disease.
In 2007, David Patchell-Evans was awarded the Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honour—the highest honour given outside of the medical profession in Canada for his support of autism education and research.