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On November 14th, 2016, the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) opened the doors of the GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub, which promises to advance autism research, learning, treatment and support for families across British Columbia. The facility is equipped with wired classrooms, lecture theaters and new technologies to extend the education and services to families.
The 60,000-square-foot facility was made possible, in large part, through a $5 million donation from GoodLife Fitness. GoodLife Fitness founder and CEO David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans has a 20-year old daughter, Kilee, on the autism spectrum and has been a significant supporter of autism research for many years.
“My passion to give Canadians the opportunity to live a healthier life remains undiminished, but what consumes me is a drive to help alleviate the suffering of families dealing with autism,” said Patch. “As a father, I have navigated the education, scientific, behavioral therapy, medical world for nearly two decades to learn and contribute whatever I can. I have whole heartedly tried to tackle this challenge with all my skills and resources as a business entrepreneur and as a human being who cares deeply about the suffering and cost autism inflicts on Canadian families and our health care system.”
Patch adds this new facility has a massive reach and offers state-of-the-art resources for families and individuals facing autism spectrum and related disorders in all parts of the province. “It will make a huge difference in the areas of research, education and outreach,” he said. “It’s about providing hope and a path forward for as many families as we can.”
Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, co-founder of Pacific Autism Family Network and driving force behind the GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub, says with 69,000 people on the autism spectrum living in British Columbia, the center will be a welcome addition to the services available for families.
“This center of excellence is where children and families facing the challenges of autism and related disorders will be able to access information, treatment models, research and support in one, starting place,” said Lisogar-Cocchia. “With 80 children diagnosed every month in the province, this is a much-needed initiative for British Columbia families that has been made possible through the donation from GoodLife Fitness and additional supporters.”
The Province of British Columbia provided a $20 million grant to fund the development of this unique center. Designed to be a core of knowledge and support, in tandem with other future satellite facilities located acrossBritish Columbia, the project will focus on serving families with a navigator program and collaboration with other organizations.
Patch and Lisogar-Cocchia agree government support for the project is a major advantage, enabling the center to extend its reach and make a huge impact on BC residents and Canadians overall.
“No one group can do this alone — communities, schools, healthcare systems, and governments must work together,” Patch added. “Canada can become the worldwide leader in autism research, development, and treatment, building human potential in what is already the best country in the world.”
This press release was submitted by GoodLife Fitness.