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Canadian Magen David Adom reveals major benefactor

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Tom Fairfull, centre, his wife Anne, right, and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Thomas Fairfull’s family ties to the Jewish community run deep.

Back in the 1960s, his dad operated an egg carton business in downtown Toronto, and many of his clients were Jewish.

He remembers those times with great affection. “I will never forget those guys,” he said. “My dad knew everybody in Kensington.”

Not only did his father do business in the Jewish community, he was also an early supporter of the State of Israel. And those feelings rubbed off on Fairfull. “Ever since I can remember, I’ve supported Israel,” he said.

Recently, Fairfull and his wife, Anne, decided to make their support tangible. Together, they are providing the Canadian Friends of Magen David Adom for Israel (CMDA) with a “seven-figure gift” that will go toward medical supplies for the Israeli ambulance service, he said.

CMDA has been running a PR campaign – which has included print ads, along with an ambulance and a mobile intensive care unit (ICU) that have been seen at various sites in Toronto – with slogans such as “Who is Tom?” and “Thanks Tom!” CMDA also launched a website, beliketom.ca, to raise the charity’s profile and solicit contributions.

This week, through an ad in The CJN along with this story, Tom’s identity was officially revealed as Thomas Fairfull.

Hershel Recht, the central regional director of CMDA, said the two-week publicity campaign is the biggest ever run by the organization.

Magen David Adom in Israel is the country’s national emergency service, but gets very little financial support from the government, so it must rely on contributions from around the world, he said.

That’s where people like the Fairfulls come in. Their donation will go toward providing a mobile ICU in Fairfull’s parents’ memory, along with equipment for the National Blood and Logistics Centre, which safeguards the country’s blood supply.

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The centre is located in Tel Hashomer Hospital and will be moved to a new national campus in Ramle in two years, where it will be partly underground to protect it from rocket attacks.

CMDA raises an average of about $5 million per year, 85 per cent of which goes to Israel. Most of the funds sent to Israel are used to buy medical, blood and ambulatory equipment. Supporters can also donate an ambulance at a cost of $125,000, a mobile ICU, which costs $155,000 or a medi-cycle emergency scooter, which can navigate traffic more easily, for $35,000, Recht said.

Fairfull’s gift will honour his late parents, Alex and Doris, whose Christianity created a special bond with Israel.

“We’re Christians. We believe in Jesus Christ and he was a Jew,” Fairfull said.

“I support them 100 per cent. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem. I’m just a big supporter of them. Always have been.”

Fairfull, the founder of FV Pharma, a large medical marijuana producer, said he was attracted to CMDA because of the good work the organization does in Israel. “It is a highly rated rescue organization in Israel,” he said, “with what they go through and the stuff that goes on over there.”

Fairfull said his visit to the country nearly a decade ago left an indelible impression on him.

“It seems like it was yesterday,” he said. “It was the greatest trip I ever had, being in the Holy Land.”

Fairfull said he plans to visit the country again in the next few months, but this time on business, as he has meetings set up with people in the cannabis industry. “That’s where the science is,” he said. “They have it and I’d like to bring it to Canada.”

One more connection for a family with long ties to the Jewish state.