"I created the Foundation shortly after my husband passed away from the effects of Lyme Disease. Over the years it has become a beacon of hope for the countless people who suffer from Lyme every day. I believe the University of Guelph, with its deep expertise in zoonotic diseases, its world-class researchers and its advanced technologies will deliver on our research mission that will help combat this terrible disease."
President and Founder, G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases
About the Foundation
The G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases is a non-profit organization that was established in 2012 by Rossana Magnotta, co-founder and CEO of Magnotta Winery, in memory of her husband Gabe Magnotta who passed away after a lengthy and courageous battle with Lyme Disease. Married for almost 36 years, they founded Ontario's third largest winery and then spent their final years in Ontario’s healthcare system battling misdiagnosis, misunderstanding and mistreatment that continues to be the norm for today’s Lyme Disease patients and families.
Since its inception, the Foundation’s major goal was to establish Canada’s first research facility dedicated to studying Lyme Disease that would lead to better testing, diagnosis and treatment. Over the years, it has launched numerous fundraising events to raise the money needed to get the long-awaited research facility off the ground. The Foundation is also connected with research scientists within Canada and around the world and has developed strong alliances with the broader Canadian Lyme community of patients and their advocates.
In June 2017, the Foundation announced a landmark partnership with the University of Guelph, awarding a $1.4 million grant to the university’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology to establish the G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab. It will undertake Canada's first evidence-based translational medicine approach to the development of effective diagnostic tests and treatments for Lyme Disease. The research will reveal more precise incidence of Lyme Disease among patients in Canada, many of whom have had to leave the country to gain access to proper testing and care. The grant was made possible by the generous donations and support of countless Canadians who have been impacted or know someone who is suffering from the debilitating effects of Lyme Disease.
As the research lab expands, the Foundation is focused on raising funds to meet its $10 million goal over the next 5 years, while continuing to spread Lyme awareness and act as a catalyst for change.
Foundation Board Members
Rossana Di Zio Magnotta / President & Founder
David S. Altshuller
Jim M. Wilson
Felix Sperling / M.Sc, PhD
Vett Lloyd / PhD
Janet L. Haley Sperling / M.Sc, B.Sc. Ag., PhD Candidate
Melanie K. B. Willis / B.Sc. (H), PhD