The Lung Association’s 100th Anniversary –
Come Celebrate With Us!
Saskatoon, February 17 – It was on this date, 100 years ago, that a group of prominent citizens, under the leadership of Dr. M.M. Seymour, Saskatchewan’s first Deputy Minister of Public Health, came together in Regina to form a provincial organization for the purpose of treatment and prevention of tuberculosis (TB). Saskatchewan’s first health charity, the Saskatchewan Anti-Tuberculosis League, was incorporated by an act of Legislature on March 21, 1911 to combat the TB epidemic that swept across our province and the rest of Canada.
Tuberculosis, known throughout history as ‘the wasting disease’, consumption or the White Plague, was a fearful word, a harbinger of death in the first half of the 20th century. “In 1911 each time the clock struck the hour it signaled a death due to TB in Canada and this number doubled during the night hours,” says Dr. Brian Graham, The Lung Association’s President & CEO. During that time in Saskatchewan’s history, bed rest in treatment centers to lessen the spread of the TB was the therapy of choice. The Fort Qu’Appelle Sanatorium (Fort San), with Dr. R. G. Ferguson as Medical Superintendent, was opened in 1917, followed by sanatoria located in Saskatoon (1925) and Prince Albert (1930).
Under the guidance of Dr. Ferguson, Saskatchewan gained prominence on the world stage as a recognized leader in tuberculosis control and prevention programs. Civilians and war veterans alike had access to free TB treatment – the forerunner to present day medicare. Some highlights or firsts that set Saskatchewan apart include: the introduction of the BCG (Bacillus Calmette Geurin) vaccination to protect student nurses at Fort San by Dr. Ferguson in 1938; in 1941, using innovative x-ray and photographic technology, Fort San staff designed and built a photofluorograph unit that was used in mass surveys of communities; and in 1954 community tuberculin tests began in conjunction with community x-ray surveys.
The steady decline of sanatorium patients, the use of drugs for tuberculosis treatment, and the transition from sanatorium-based to community-based TB care signaled change for the Anti-Tuberculosis League. In 1987 the amended Sanatorium Act expanded the mandate of the League to include the prevention of other respiratory diseases. Since 2002, as The Lung Association of Saskatchewan, our mandate encompasses all respiratory diseases as well as combatting environmental threats to the lungs.
“Since the time of our founders and their impressive accomplishments, The Lung Association continues to stand on the front line for the residents of our great province,” comments Brian Graham. “In 1978 when the last patient was discharged from the Saskatoon Sanatorium, we completed 10.5 million treatment days for TB alone in the 3 sanatoria and over the century millions of people have had direct contact with our Association,” he adds.
The longevity and success of The Lung Association would not be possible without the hundreds of thousands of Saskatchewan people that have given their time and financial resources throughout the years to help people with lung disease and to support research to find cures and better treatments for lung disease. Our dedicated volunteer Board of Directors have provided the strategic direction that has made it possible for us to celebrate 100 years of better breathing for the residents of Saskatchewan and to continue our journey into the next century.
To learn more about the history of The Lung Association, our anniversary celebrations, to view our 100-year timeline, and the main issues for lung health in Saskatchewan and what the Lung Association is doing about them, please visit our website at www.sk.lung.ca or contact our provincial headquarters in Saskatoon at 343-9511 or 1-888-566-LUNG elsewhere in the province and we would be pleased to assist you.
About The Lung Association
Established in 1911, The Lung Association is celebrating 100 years of service to the people of Saskatchewan. We are Saskatchewan’s oldest health charity. You have come to know and trust The Lung Association as the premier source for lung health in our province. All of our quality educational materials, programs, services and treatment guidelines are based on current evidence-based research. You will find The Lung Association active in communities across Saskatchewan conducting lung disease prevention and management programs that include asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, lung cancer and smoking cessation. The Lung Association also provides training for health care professionals, delivers health education in schools, facilitates patient support groups, and lobbies for clean air.
For more information contact:
Brian Graham, President & CEO