Archie and Irene Verspeeten. Photo provided by the London Health Sciences Foundation. Archie and Irene Verspeeten. Photo provided by the London Health Sciences Foundation.

Trucking mogul donates $20M to London cancer program

With the hope of transforming cancer treatment and improving patients' quality of life, a trucking mogul has made a historic $20 million donation toward London's regional cancer program.

The London Health Sciences Foundation, the fundraising arm of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), announced the multi-million dollar gift from Archie Verspeeten on Tuesday. It is the largest single donation made to a hospital foundation in Southwestern Ontario.

Verspeeten, who founded Ingersoll-based Verspeeten Cartage in 1953, had made arrangements to donate the money prior to his death. He died at a Tillsonburg hospital on Saturday, just three days before the donation was to be announced. Verspeeten was 92.

"Archie's transformative gift is a beacon of hope and a testament to his determination to eliminate the scourge of cancer,” said John MacFarlane, the foundation's president and CEO. “This historic donation will propel cancer treatment to new heights, enabling us to pioneer groundbreaking research, enhance patient care, and effectively improve the way we operate.”

Verspeeten was committed to helping in the fight against cancer after losing his wife Irene and sons, Alan and Ron, to the disease. He previously donated $7 million to the hospital foundation.

LHSC's London Regional Cancer Program will now be renamed the Verspeeten Family Cancer Centre in honour of the family's generous donation.

“My family and I have steadfastly supported the London Regional Cancer Program, recognizing its indispensable role in the community," Verspeeten said before his death. "This gift is more than a financial investment; it represents a strategic move toward finding a cure for cancer and reshaping the LRCP into a sanctuary of hope and healing. I sincerely hope this contribution will not only advance efforts toward a cure but also enhance the quality of life for patients, allowing them to live comfortably despite the challenges of the disease."

Verspeeten spent his entire adult life in Delhi. He was married for 66 years to his wife before she passed away in 2017. The couple had five sons, 11 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

"In the last 25 years, he returned to his roots of farming and shifted his focus to philanthropy. This became Archie's passion, with sizeable donations made to various Medical Facilities in Southwestern Ontario," Verspeeten's obituary states.

A visitation for him will be held Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Murphy Funeral Home in Delhi. A funeral mass has been planned for 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs Roman Catholic Church in Delhi.

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