OTTAWA -- Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke and his wife Fiona McKean are donating $26 million to children’s hospitals across Canada, including CHEO.

The $2 million gift to each of Canada’s 13 acute care children’s hospitals recognizes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and their families, a news release announcing the donation said.

“Through this gift, our hope is that children across Canada will have the best possible care to enable them to feel better soon and get back to the important job of being kids,” McKean said.

McKean and Lütke founded the Thistledown Foundation in 2019 to focus on advancing technical solutions for decarbonization. During the pandemic, they pivoted to focusing on the response to COVID-19.

The money will go toward meeting urgent local needs at each children’s hospital.

Extended school closures and isolation have had direct and indirect impacts on children’s health. Children have faced delayed access to mental health care, surgeries and other services.

And children’s hospitals are reporting significant increases in visits related to anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

“Tobi and Fiona are incredible change-makers with huge hearts. As an Ottawa resident, I am so proud that our fellow Ottawa citizens have made this truly unprecedented gift,” said Alex Munter, CHEO president and CEO. “Kids are truly the unsung heroes of this pandemic, and this historic gift recognizes and highlights the urgent need to make them a priority,”

This gift coincides with National Child Day, celebrated on Nov. 20.