British Columbia

'It's time for me to give back': Donald's Fine Foods owner gifts $1.5M to lung cancer research

The owner of a Richmond meat packing company who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong four decades ago has donated $1.5 million to the B.C. Cancer Foundation, which will go toward lung cancer research and equipment needs.

Donald Leung says he has lost friends to a disease he calls the 'silent killer'

Donald Leung, owner of Donald's Fine Foods. (bmo.com)

When Donald Leung immigrated to British Columbia from Hong Kong in 1975, he says his time in Canada started "no different than any other immigrants'" did back then.

He took odd jobs, including some requiring hard labour, and worked his way to where he is now —  the owner of a successful meat processing company.

Donald's Fine Foods, headquartered in Richmond, employs more than 800 people across Canada and exports meat to more than 25 countries.

It's the success Leung built with his business over 25 years that's allowed him and his wife Julia Leung to donate $1.5 million to the B.C. Cancer Foundation. The money will go towards lung cancer research and equipment needs.

"As an immigrant who came to this wonderland, the country gave me a good family, a good career path, it's time for me to give back to the country and to the community," Leung told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC's On The Coast.

'Silent killer'

Leung said he has close family members who have survived lung cancer, but has also lost friends to what he calls the "silent killer."

Leung wanted to support the research of Dr. Stephen Lam, a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and director of translational lung cancer research at the foundation.

Lam's research focuses on early detection, prevention and endoscopic therapy of lung cancer, according to the foundation's website.

"He basically contributes all his own time and his life to study and how to prevent cancer," said Leung. "That's why we want to support his research."

Leung says he hopes that his contribution will inspire others to do the same.

"Sharing by giving is far better than keeping it all yourself," Leung said.

Listen to the full interview here:

The owner of a Richmond meat packing company has donated $1.5 million to the B.C. Cancer Foundation that will go towards lung cancer research and equipment needs. On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko talks to Donald Leung, who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong four decades ago, about his $1.5 million donation. 7:46

With files from CBC Radio's On The Coast