Holland-Bloorview celebrates arrival of its research MRI machine

Gabriel, age 7, had cerebral palsy from birth. Photo Geoff Kettel.
Gabriel, age 7, who has had cerebral palsy from birth sits under the new MRI machine at Holland Bloorview. Photo Geoff Kettel.

On Sat., Sept. 28, I went to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) on Kilgour Road (just east of the CNIB) to share in the highly anticipated arrival of Holland Bloorview’s new research MRI, to be housed in a soon-to-be built world-class MRI suite. It will be “the first in Canada to be immersive, customizable, child-friendly and fully accessible, and is poised to accelerate research into child and youth brain function.”

The machine, wrapped in plastic sheeting, was sitting on a truck trailer on the road down to the loading bay of the hospital. A young patient named Gabriel sat in his chair in front of the trailer, representing all the children for whom the machine will mean better information, and ultimately improved treatments. Gabriel, age 7, had cerebral palsy from birth, and his mother, Fabiana Bacchini, told me that “there were so many unknowns about a child’s brain and it was exciting for families like mine to be part of research that would provide evidence as to what works.” She also explained that to have an MRI, they had to go to Sick Kids Hospital, so the on-site MRI would be much more convenient, plus with the new MRI they would be able to watch the process through its glass door – which would do a lot to minimize anxiety for parents.

The MRI installation is part of the hospital’s Grow Holland Bloorview Research campaign designed to spark investment in infrastructure, technology and people as a means to transform the future of childhood disability research. The campaign is funded entirely by community donors.

About Geoff Kettel 221 Articles
Geoff Kettel is a community connector and advocate for “making places better”. He is currently Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, Co-Chair of the Federation of North Toronto Residents‘ Associations (FoNTRA), member of the Toronto Preservation Board and Past Chair of the North York Community Preservation Panel. He writes a monthly column on heritage and planning in Leaside Life.