When philanthropy is a social responsibility

Interview with Murray Dalfen, Chairman of Dalfen Industrial and Major Donor to the Foundation

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This article is adapted from the third edition of the Foundation’s magazine

“Virtually every person living on Earth will die of either a heart condition or cancer. The Montreal Heart Institute was a logical and necessary choice for me, as my goal is to give back to the community by making the greatest possible impact on people’s lives.”

Murray Dalfen, Chairman of Dalfen Industrial, a real estate investment management company, is part of the Foundation’s valued family of major donors. He shares his personal story and why he contributes to the Montreal Heart Institute through philanthropy.

Cardiovascular health: A family affair

Murray has a very personal relationship with cardiac health and the Montreal Heart Institute. “Heart disease runs in my family. My grandparents dealt with it; my mother and father were treated at the Montreal Heart Institute, as well as my sisters and eventually, so was I,” he explained.

“At the age of 40, when I was playing squash three times a week, I had atrial fibrillation during a match. As I walked off the court, I naturally thought, ‘I think it would be wise to go to the Institute.’ It’s become a family tradition: by necessity, we’ve developed a close bond with this exceptional institution.”

Giving back to the community

When asked why he chose the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation as on of his preferred charities, Murray said it’s important to walk the talk:

“To me, giving is not a choice – it’s a responsibility. You must give back to society when you’re blessed with good fortune. This vision is part of my culture and the family values I inherited.”

“Having witnessed the outstanding quality of the professionals and care offered at the Montreal Heart Institute, my wife and I were convinced to invest in the cause by continuing the work of my parents, who were also donors. Today, we are extremely proud to support the significant work of the Institute’s teams, who save lives every day,” he continued.

Supporting a foundation that’s making a real impact on health

Driven by a desire to make an impact in the present, Murray says he firmly believes in the relevance of his partnership with the Foundation. “I don’t believe in coincidences in life. The first time I came here, I met one of the most amazing people I know – arrhythmia specialist Dr. Peter Guerra. He genuinely takes his work as a caregiver to heart, and it’s very inspiring. This meeting directly led to my first donation to the Foundation, after Dr. Guerra suggested that I support purchasing a cutting-edge heart monitor which, at that time, would be the first in Canada.”

“This highly advanced machine can take 3D colour images of a heart during surgery. Not only did I want to support the project, but I also got involved in the acquisition process, by leveraging my expertise. Little did I know that a few months later, I myself would need the device during a medical procedure. This wasn’t of my intention, but was able to witness my donation at work.”

As donors, keen to see their contributions in action, Murray and his wife, Karen, feel heartened: “We always aim for the greatest possible impact, and the acquisition of this machine, which is currently being used to treat several patients, is a perfect example. Dr. Guerra assured me it would be used very often and would significantly improve treatment, and it really has,” Murray noted.

The arrhythmia centre: A specialized wing for a higher standard of care

He himself an arrhythmia patient, Murray recently joined recently joined Dr. Peter Guerra and Dr. Laurent Macle in supporting the creation of an arrhythmia centre at the Montreal Heart Institute. “We want to finally offer a dedicated facility where all people suffering from atrial fibrillation or other form of arrhythmia could be treated at a single center of expertise.”

Once again, to him, the motivations behind this partnership are obvious. “Pun intended, I could say that the cause of arrhythmia is very close to my heart. Having lived through it, I know what it’s like. I truly believe that having specialized capabilities in this area could lead to better treatments and outcomes. When we focus on a specific specialty, our chances of success increase dramatically,” he said.

“It is like high-level sports. A hockey team has forwards and defenders: the same players don’t play both positions, and each is specialized, leading to much better results. Having a centre dedicated to arrhythmia is very appealing in that sense, because with more extensive and more focused expertise, you can solve problems more effectively.”

Having strong roots in his community, Murray is pleased to be involved locally through the Foundation. “The best cardiology centre in Canada is right here in Montreal. It’s one of our greatest assets. We need to show even more support for organizations that contribute to Quebec and Canadian society and leaders in their fields.”

Are you interested in supporting a foundation that’s making a real impact on health?


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