Annual Raymond James Charity Softball Game raises $130,000 for life-changing equipment, clinics and research at the Montreal Chest Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

The Montreal Chest Institute Foundation extends a heartfelt thank you to the incredible team at Raymond James, a diversified financial services firm, which over the past five years, has raised $130,000 for the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Funds from the annual Raymond James Charity Softball Game have purchased cutting-edge equipment, launched vital new clinics and funded ground-breaking research which are helping MCI patients live longer, better lives.

“We can’t thank Raymond James enough for investing in the health and well-being of Quebecers. Their gift ensures the MCI maintains its status as a leader in respiratory care,” says Dr. Kevin Schwartzman, Director of the Respiratory Division at the MCI of the MUHC. “Health care is constantly advancing. It is essential the MCI keep pace so Quebecers with acute respiratory ailments continue to receive the best care available. We consider donors like Raymond James our partners in care. Because, quite frankly, without their financial support and the support of other donors and corporations, our ability to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and fund new programs and research would be significantly curtailed.”

“We are very proud to be supporting the Montreal Chest Institute of the MUHC and to know the proceeds from our annual charity softball game have allowed the hospital to purchase leading-edge medical equipment. It is gratifying to know our fundraising efforts are transforming patient care by ensuring the hospital has the innovative tools and programs needed to quickly and accurately diagnose and treat patients with acute respiratory diseases,” says Mitchell Rosenberg, a financial advisor at Raymond James.

Some of the critical items purchased and programs made possible thanks to the proceeds raised by the annual charity event include:


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are often inactive because even mild amounts of exercise leave them breathless. Thanks to donations to the Raymond James softball game, the MCI purchased exercise-testing equipment which is used by senior MCI researcher Dr. Jean Bourbeau and his team, members of the Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program. They are developing rehabilitation programs for patients with COPD. The project has led to the development of new exercise protocols. Encouraging patients with COPD to be physically active has a transformative effect on their lives – it reduces breathlessness and fatigue, improves physical fitness, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improves their overall quality of life.


Thanks to the purchase of a flexi-rigid thoracoscope, doctors at the MCI can now perform a minimally invasive form of ‘keyhole’ procedure to see inside the chest cavity in order to more quickly and easily diagnose lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers as well as infections like tuberculosis. A thoracoscope is a thin, flexible tube-like instrument, which shines light from the end inserted into the patient. It transmits images back to a video display so the physician can see into the chest cavity. It allows the doctor to do a wide range of things, including obtaining small samples of tissue (biopsies) from the pleura—the envelope lining the lungs. These samples can then be examined in the laboratory to make a precise diagnosis. Because this technology only requires small incisions under local anaesthesia, patients recover much more quickly from the examination, which is performed as an outpatient procedure in the MCI Day Hospital.


The MCI’s new chest ultrasound machine allows MCI doctors to obtain accurate, real-time images of the lungs and pleural space. The high-quality images allow characterization of fluid collections in the pleural space, and guide physicians as to the safest and most appropriate location to sample the fluid, which is the key step in diagnosing and treating patients with such conditions.


From left to right: Carol-Ann Kairns, Director, MCIF; Caroline Phaneuf, Director, MCIF; Bryan Fitzpatrick, Chairman, MCIF; Martin Leclerc, Raymond James; Thomas Wujtow, Raymond James; Dr. Dennis Jensen, RI; Richard Rousseau, Raymond James; Dr. Kevin Schwartzman, Director of the Respiratory Division, MCI/MUHC; Dr. Jean Bourbeau, MCI/RI; Mitch Rosenberg, Director, MCIF & Raymond James; Dr. Anne Gonzalez, MCI; Dr. Ron Olivenstein, MCI.


The 2018 Raymond James Charity Softball game will be raising money to help open a new interstitial lung diseases (ILD) clinic at the MUHC. ILD is the umbrella term for over 100 different lung disorders such as pulmonary fibrosis, most of which cause progressive lung damage. Approximately 15% of all patients seen by respirologists at the MCI have ILD. The damage to the lungs eventually limits the ability to breathe and get enough oxygen into the bloodstream, which in turn deprives the brain and other organs of oxygen. Because most ILDs are rare, patients need to be seen by experts in the field. The fully-staffed clinic will be overseen by Dr. Deborah Assayag, a leading ILD specialist. The new clinic brings together a team of pulmonologists, nurses and allied health professionals dedicated to providing comprehensive, specialized clinical care, patient education, pulmonary function testing, medication management, oxygen therapy and exercise therapy to patients living with ILD. To ensure an accurate diagnosis and optimal outcomes, the clinic will include regular multidisciplinary ILD team meetings which will gather pulmonologists, radiologists, pathologists, rheumatologists and respiratory nurses who together will diagnose patients with ILD and develop comprehensive treatment plans.


Mr. Rosenberg is the founder and driving force behind the annual Raymond James Charity Softball Game. He knows firsthand what it is like to live with a respiratory disease as he has severe asthma. He is proud to be ‘playing it forward’ in appreciation of the incredible care he received at the MCI. “Before I was referred to the MCI, my asthma was out of control. During an asthma attack, it felt like a piano was sitting on my chest. Thanks to Dr. Ronald Olivenstein and the friendly, knowledgeable team at the MCI, my asthma was finally brought under control,” says Mr. Rosenberg, who is also Vice Chairman of the MCI Foundation’s Board of Directors. “As someone who has benefited from the incredible care at the MCI, it is deeply gratifying to know the Raymond James Charity Softball Game is helping patients just like me breathe easier.”