Stéphane Grenier inspires sold out crowd at Breakfast of Champions

Guest speaker Lt. Col (retd.) Stéphane Grenier spoke about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mission to change the culture of mental health to more than 1,100 guests at RBC Place London

The 15th annual Breakfast of Champions was highlighted by Grenier's thought-provoking presentation about mental health in the workplace. After witnessing unspeakable atrocities in Rwanda during his service in the 1994 genocide and civil war, Grenier returned home a different person. He talked about the psychological injuries he sustained on the battlefield and the barriers he faced when trying to get help. His experience was ultimately what inspired him to spearhead changes to the Canadian military's response to occupational stress injuries. Grenier's message to those in attendance was about changing the culture of mental health in the Canadian military and other civilian workplaces. 

During the event, St. Joseph's Health Care Foundation announced a $1.8-million gift from local London couple, Kyle MacDonald and John Franklin, to fund life-changing research at the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre, in partnership with the Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic at Parkwood Institute.

The majority of the gift, $1.5-million, will support research efforts over the next five years to identify emerging treatment opportunities in the military and for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other operational stress injuries. The remainder of the gift will be used for the care and comfort of veterans living at Parkwood Institute. An initial gift from the couple in 2017 created the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre at Parkwood Institute, which is now internationally recognized for its research in military and veteran mental health.

“We are grateful to Kyle and John for their continued support of this important research,” said St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation President and CEO Michelle Campbell. “Without their personal interest and generous support, these programs and advances in research simply wouldn’t be possible.”

The London couple’s ongoing commitment to the care of veterans honours the memory of their fathers who both served in the Canadian military. Kyle’s father served in the Korean War. John’s father served in World War I and World War II.

“John and I witnessed first-hand the challenges our military personnel face after serving,” said Kyle MacDonald. “We are pleased to continue our support of specialized research based on the progress we have seen since our initial donation in 2017. Because of our military upbringing, we want to make sure our veterans have the best treatment options and all innovative solutions are explored.”

St. Joseph’s OSI Clinic, one of ten in the country, offers veterans evidence-based personalized treatment including individual psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy (medication). Working in partnership with the OSI Clinic, the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre is a national and international leader focused on research on military and veteran mental health.

“The MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre is dedicated to improving the lives and well-being of veterans and their families. Our research is focused on conducting state-of-the-art, innovative research in several key areas including improving treatment outcomes related to operational stress injuries, moral injury, and personalized medicine,” added OSI Clinic Medical Director and Scientific Director of the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre Dr. Don Richardson. "Donations like these play a critical role in advancing medical research, which ultimately leads to improved treatments and better outcomes for veterans.”

As part of the event, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services also announced the recipients of the Champion of Mental Health Awards 2023; Mary St. Onge in the individual category, and #IveGotYourBack911 campaign in the organization category. Congratulations to the recipients and to all of the nominees who made an impact on advancing mental wellness in the Thames Valley region.

Watch videos from the event

Title Sponsor – Finch Auto Group

Presenting Sponsor – Clintar Commercial Outdoor Services

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