AHS said the gift of millions of dollars for the University of Alberta Hospital’s hematology program will go to help support patients with blood diseases.

The $3 million donation to the University Hospital Foundation came from Marshall Eliuk, an entrepreneur in the Peace River area of northern Alberta. Eliuk made the donation after he had to undergo treatment at the University of Alberta Hospital for a severe form of aplastic anemia.

Eliuk was diagnosed with the disease in 1999, and AHS said his treatment program lasted for nine months. Throughout his treatment, he needed frequent red blood cell transfusions and platelets, plus immunosuppressive drug therapy.

“My doctors at the UAH gave me no guarantees,” Eliuk said in a statement. “Fortunately, by the end of my treatment, my blood count had returned to normal. They called my recovery a miracle.”

He is still being monitored by the hematology program.

The funds will go towards the newly renamed Marshall Eliuk Hematology Unit, which will include a family room where patients, family and friends can gather in privacy or discuss care with their healthcare team, AHS said.

The family room is still under construction, officials hope it will be open in the spring.

The funding will also go towards the Marshall Eliuk Fund for Clinical Innovation and Exemplary Care in Hematology, which is expected to help the U of A Hospital bring in specialists and fund research. Three research proposals have been awarded a total of more than $370,000 from the fund.

The hematology program serves about 500 patients a year – from across western and northern Canada.