This inter-institutional donation is a first in Canadian pediatric medicine and positions Montreal as an uncontested pediatric leader in complex orthopedic care and motor disabilities.It promises to change the outlook and quality of life for thousands of families across Quebec, thanks to the creation of MUSCO, a ground-breaking initiative collaboratively overseen by four pediatric institutions. The aim of MUSCO is to revolutionize patient care and management on a daily basis.

Addressing the Challenges Our Patients and Their Families Are Facing

Children with complicated musculoskeletal issues such as cerebral palsy, scoliosis, club feet and muscular dystrophy, among others, are often followed at several of our hospitals/centres and are seen by a variety of experts.

“These children follow a trajectory through our institutions that is too much like that of a warrior’s,” explains Stefan Parent, MD, PhD, Orthopedic Surgeon and Clinical Researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine.

Transferring from one institution to another has, in the past, been associated with communication problems, waiting lists, and gaps in service that have had a major impact on our patients and their families.

Stefan Parent

PhD, Orthopedic Surgeon and Clinical Researcher
CHU Sainte-Justine

At 16, Angélique knows all too well the incessant routine of the back and forth trips between her home and the various pediatric institutions that have been part of her reality since birth.

Since she was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2010, Angélique has been followed by the genetics and orthopedics teams at Sainte-Justine and the CRME, where she has undergone physiotherapy.

This is over and above the surgery she had to have at the Shriners Hospital in February 2019 and the enormous amount of information she has had to digest in a short span of time to facilitate her daily care.

Angelique and Dr. Stefan Parent, Orthopedic Surgeon and Clinical Researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine.
Angelique and Dr. Stefan Parent, Orthopedic Surgeon and Clinical Researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine.

When it comes to your child’s life, you don’t ask questions. You go where you are told to go, because that’s where the specialists are.

Isabelle Courchesne

Angélique's mothier

For Nia, who has hemiplegia, the circumstances are very similar. “When Nia was a baby and doctors told us she’d never walk or talk, we were in shock. It was devastating,” her mother, Linda, said. “But what’s more is that we weren’t always referred to the right specialists at the right institutions and were on incessant waiting lists. There was no framework to help us navigate the system to get the best help for our daughter.”

When you have a child with musculoskeletal disabilities needing complex care, you can easily feel as if you’re drowning in the healthcare system.

Linda Moreau

Nia's mother

MUSCO: Concrete Solutions That Put Children and Families First

MUSCO (Initiative for children with MUSculoskeletal disorders who require COmplex Care) would not be possible without this generous and visionary $10 million donation from the Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation. This represents the Saputos’ largest philanthropic contribution to date.

The resulting actions will help reinforce collaboration between the four institutions, reassess tools and processes, promote knowledge transfer, acquire state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and more.  

At Sainte-Justine, the clinical research funding will lead to the development of new precision treatments adapted to the needs of each patient. Recruiting a clinician scientist who is an expert in spinal deformities will make specialized surgery more accessible, and a new 3D X-ray room will play a vital role in improving the services provided to families.

At the CRME, setting up spaces that patients, families, caregivers, community organizations and industrial partners can use to talk, think and strategize will help foster new ideas and innovative practices. And the acquisition of 3D printers will provide a low-cost solution to developing technical aids adapted to the size and growth of each child.

On behalf of all of the professionals, children and families whose lives will be touched by this wonderful donation, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation.

Read the press release.