Origins of the Foundation
The Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation was established in 1993 by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary in conjunction with the Bethlehem Hospital, now known as Calvary Health Care Bethlehem (CHCB).
The hospital has a proud history of caring for patients with progressive neurological conditions (such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease) and those who are dying from cancer or other illnesses. As well as being Victoria’s premier facility for these patients, CHCB has recognised the challenge of developing research which will bring significant improvements in the care and treatment of patients.
In 1992, the Trustees of the Estate of the late Mr Glen W.A. Griffiths donated a substantial amount of money to the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary. Under the leadership of Sister Marie Hedigan, this bequest was used to establish a formal research foundation. In 1994, the Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation was officially launched.
In 2004 the Foundation received a generous bequest from the Estate of Margaret Ann Day, which is used to fund outstanding PhD applicants researching neurological diseases. Margaret Day lost her battle with MND in 2003, after a distinguished career in infant welfare and community health nursing.
Glen WA Griffiths
Mr. Glen W.A. Griffiths was born the son of a blacksmith in Bendigo in 1905. He inherited a business in specialized insulation materials from his father and expanded it into New South Wales and South Australia, under the name Mica and Insulating Supplies Company which he sold in 1976.
Glen and his wife Nancy lived in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton and both had long-term associations with Bethlehem Hospital. Glen had been a patient at Bethlehem on several occasions and his wife Nancy was a dedicated volunteer for over 45 years in the Opportunity Shop and other auxillary activities.
When Glen Griffiths died in 1991, the Trustees of his Estate decided to provide substantial funds to the Little Company of Mary for the purposes of establishing a research foundation in Victoria. Nan Griffiths continued to support the Foundation up until her death in October 2009 at over 100 years of age.