AWARD SPOTLIGHT: Laura Lenz, Partner, OMERS Ventures winner of the 2020 Ted Anderson Community Leadership Award

When it comes to her career, Lenz thinks her humanitarian work has helped her become a better VC.

” It has assisted me have more empathy for the start-up neighborhood,” she states, consisting of the huge barriers entrepreneurs frequently face, specifically when informed the diagnosis for their organisation concept may not be excellent.

” Its something for a scientist or a medical professional to ask for cash to assist their client population or research laboratory, but its quite another when its the moms and dad of a child. That hits at a feeling and relevancy level thats a lot more effective,” Dr. deVeber says. “This myth that children do not have strokes has to be gotten rid of.”.

Lenz likewise could not discover support system for moms and dads whose children had the exact same medical diagnosis.

Dr. deVeber, who was Nolens pediatric neurologist, describes Lenz as “a beautiful individual” whos both smart and “quietly powerful,” as shown by her significant success through the CPSSA to date.

This lack of attention and resources around pediatric stroke led Lenz to develop the Canadian Pediatric Stroke Support Association (CPSSA) in 2011. Its mission is to supply assistance, education and resources for children with stroke and their households. The CPSSA also helps with collaboration between families and the medical neighborhood.

” I had a great regard for Ted Anderson,” Lenz says. “He always approached issues in a thoughtful method.” She also hopes the award will assist raise a lot more awareness for pediatric stroke.

Lenz, a mother of 3 children including Nolen, has actually invested the previous decade channeling her energy into ensuring no other moms and dad would ever feel as alone as she and her husband did on the day of their boys diagnosis.

This amazing work has actually led to Lenz, a partner at OMERS Ventures, winning the CVCAs 2019 Ted Anderson Community Award for involvement in numerous non-profits. The award acknowledges the commitment of time and effort to a company or cause over several years.

” Hes exceptionally pleased with it,” Lenz states with a laugh.

When the majority of people think about a stroke client, they think about someone older, potentially with health issues. When her child Nolen was detected with pediatric stroke shortly prior to his first birthday, Venture capitalist Laura Lenz was in this camp until simply over a years earlier.

” I believed, how is it possible that when we make an application for a library card and walk out with a package of info, but when we get a diagnosis for pediatric stroke were offered nothing?”.

This lack of attention and resources around pediatric stroke led Lenz to develop the Canadian Pediatric Stroke Support Association (CPSSA) in 2011. Its objective is to supply assistance, education and resources for children with stroke and their households. “This myth that children dont have strokes has actually to be overcome.”.

Nolen has muscle weak point on his ideal side, from his eyes to toes, and uses an orthotic brace on his best leg and splint on his right arm. Lenz states hes the very first child on the planet to wear a myoelectric prosthetic on his arm– and possibly the only one with a Raptors logo!

” It was to bring families together to share their experience but likewise commemorate the turning points and achievements of what their kids can do, regardless of the chances,” Lenz says.

” She has a soft voice, however when she speaks, people listen. What she says matters,” says Dr. deVeber, a teacher of pediatrics at the University of Toronto and senior scientist in the Child Health Evaluation Sciences Program and a pediatric neurologist at SickKids.

” I had an excellent regard for Ted Anderson,” Lenz says. She also hopes the award will help raise even more awareness for pediatric stroke.

Her association has also established a fundraising effort for much-needed treatment bursaries for stroke children, which had actually resulted in 2 children getting therapy services in a twelve-week block. The bursaries assist to money rehab and medical devices as well as the costs of taking a trip to and from consultations for families out of town.

Lenz right away began investigating the stunning diagnosis, for which she states medical professionals offered no prognosis, including whether Nolen would have the ability to walk, talk or check out later in life.

She likewise lobbied the Heart & & Stroke Foundation to consist of pediatric stroke in its advocacy and awareness programs, which led to the structure making its first monetary commitment to pediatric stroke research study in 2013. Advocacy by the CPSSA likewise straight resulted in pediatric stroke being included for the very first time in 2016 in Heart & & Strokes Best Practices for Stroke Rehabilitation Guide that is dispersed nationally to medical professionals and care centers.

” I thought, How can I have a child with a diagnosis of pediatric stroke and there be no research study or resources about it?” she remembers.

And, thanks to Lenzs tireless lobbying. May 6 is formally acknowledged as Pediatric Stroke Awareness Day in Canada.

” It makes me believe, dont ever listen to what other individuals inform you,” Lenz states. “You require to show it for yourself to see if you can accomplish it.”.

” Everyone wishes to hear that hes great now, however hes not,” Lenz states.

The CPSSA has not just raised awareness around pediatric stroke however, under Lenzs management, it raised $2.3 M for a stroke imaging laboratory for children at SickKids, known as the Heart and Stroke Foundation & & Nolen Hicks Stroke Imaging Lab for Children (SILC), to improve the understanding of pediatric stroke causes and prognosis.

Laura Lenz and her boy Nolen. Photo Credit: Steph Thompson, Steph Thompson Photography.

Through the CPSSA, Lenz has actually constructed a community of more than 500 households who are caring for kids who have actually had a stroke, while also creating an effective profession as a VC. She constructed a website and a neighborhood, consisting of a private Facebook group and quarterly newsletters for those affected.

Still, his medical diagnosis continues to bring obstacles and requires daily therapy to develop his strength and musculoskeletal development.

When it comes to Nolen, Lenz states hes a pleased, growing 10-year-old who excels and enjoys at mathematics, sings in a choir and loves basketball, in particular the Toronto Raptors.

As she dug deeper, Lenz discovered Dr. Gabrielle deVeber, a world-renowned medical professional who had produced a database for pediatric stroke clients at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. Dr. deVebers work appeared to be essentially unidentified outside the hospital at this time, which Lenz likewise discovered impressive as she continued to process her sons medical diagnosis.

In her preliminary look for answers, Lenz showed up dry. It left her annoyed.

Congratulations to Laura Lenz for winning the 2020 Ted Anderson Neighborhood Leadership Award. The 2020 CVCA Awards, sponsored by HarbourVest Partners Canada, will be announced each day June 8– June 12, 2020 on social networks starting at 11am ET.

Lenz states shes honoured to receive the CVCA award, having actually worked with Ted Anderson in the past as a fellow member of the board of Waterloo-based company RapidMind (acquired by Intel in 2009).

She states Lenzs passion and decision assisted to focus health care policymakers and research funders focus on pediatric stroke as an important medical concern.


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