Two hospitals that received donations from the family of Marco Muzzo, the drunk driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a 2015 crash, say they will not remove his family’s name from their institutions.
It comes as the call mounts to eradicate the name Muzo from the city as the Neville-Lake family, who lost three children in an accident seven years earlier, faces a new wave of tragedy. The children’s father, Edward Lake, died on Monday.
Marco Muzzo is responsible for the death of 5 people, including 3 children, due to drunken driving. His family should not be honored with buildings bearing his name,” said Barbara-Ann Smith, a woman from Ontario who started a petition that has accumulated more than 3,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
Mackenzie Health and the SickKids Foundation, both affiliated with the Hospital for Sick Children, separately told CTV News Toronto that they have no plans to remove the Muzo family name from their hospitals.
A spokesperson for Mackenzie Health acknowledged in a statement Tuesday the enormity of the family’s loss and the public’s reaction following the recent tragedy.
“We understand that people have expressed strong feelings related to the recognition displayed at our hospital, and we acknowledge and respect their concerns,” a Mackenzie Health spokesperson said.
However, he said the hospital has no plans to remove the family’s name from his institution. It follows a combined $15 million donation from the De Gasparis and Muzo families in 2017 to help build the new Cortellucci von Hospital. His donation came at the same time that Marco Muzzo was in prison after the 2015 accident.
“We have no plans to remove the signage on the building as it recognizes the family’s long history of philanthropy, including many generous donations to Mackenzie Health. Their contributions have helped create an exceptional health care facility for the community.” And for that we are very grateful.”
In a parallel response, the Sickkids acknowledged the “unimaginable grief” the Neville-Lake family is going through.
“In 2006, the Muzo Family Foundation made a gift to the SickKids Foundation in support of our operating suite redevelopment project, and a small plaque recognizing the gift was placed in a nearby hallway,” said Sandra Chiovit, spokeswoman for the SickKids Foundation.
“There are no plans to change this donor recognition at this time.”
Meanwhile, Smith said she started a petition Monday night after hearing of Edward’s passing because she couldn’t imagine his wife walking through the hospital and seeing the name Muzo on the wall.
“I can’t even imagine,” she said.
“If you’re really a philanthropist coming from the right place, you don’t need your name on a building to do it.”