McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Blood research receives major transfusion from estate of former patient

By Allyson Rowley / Daily News
Published: October 13, 2015
Elva Carrol
'Whatever she did, she put her whole heart in it,' recalls a friend of Elva Carrol (1929-2014), who has left a bequest of $500,000 for hematology research at McMaster University. Carrol's Marmor entry from 1951 reveals her many accomplishments – and her sense of humour.

Dr. Donald Arnold vividly recalls a patient he treated for many years.

"She was very intelligent and vivacious, with a thirst for life," says Arnold, associate professor of medicine and director of the McMaster Centre for Transfusion Research.

"I remember her well."

Elva Carrol
Elva Carrol
Donald Arnold
Dr. Donald Arnold

In turn, Elva Carrol '51 remembered her alma mater.

"McMaster's blood disorders clinic helped extend Elva's life by about 30 years," says her lifelong friend Stella Wilkinson '50, '81. "She was grateful."

Carrol expressed that gratitude in her estate plans with a $500,000 bequest to the Faculty of Health Sciences. She designated her gift to non-malignant hematology, a field of medicine related to bleeding disorders and illnesses such as hemochromatosis, a hereditary disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron.

When Arnold learned about the generous bequest to his area of research, "it was the most incredible and wonderful surprise."

The donation will fund many new research initiatives at McMaster, as well as provide invaluable support for graduate students.

"It's going to help us research how to better diagnose complex hematological diseases. And it will be sustainable," says Arnold. "This is just an incredible gift. She was a remarkable woman."

Remarkable, indeed.

"Elva loved tradition and was loyal to family and friends to the end of her life," says Wilkinson, who describes her friend as an outstanding business woman who was "cheerful, sociable and hard-working."

An honours political economy student at Mac, Carrol was a builder and a leader from an early age, active across campus in many sport teams and student clubs.

There weren't many women at university in those days, recalls another friend, Evelyn Veale '53. When Veale first arrived on campus, Carrol sent her a welcome letter. "We spent my first year on campus together and became very good friends."

Carrol served as president of the Women's Athletic Council in the 1950-51 season. In 1951, she won an Honour M Award for her contributions to women's athletics, and an Edna Guest Trophy, given to a graduating student "who radiates the spirit of McMaster."

After graduating in 1951, Carrol was a pioneer in the world of work, as well. She programmed and installed computers for five years, and then went on to a successful career as a financial advisor and account executive in the investment trust and securities industry.

An accomplished golfer, she also served as director of the Hamilton Automobile Club and was active with the Zonta International Society and the YWCA.

A long-time supporter of McMaster, Carrol was a particularly devoted Marauders fan, following all the games on campus. She was inducted into McMaster's Alumni Gallery in 1984 and the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993.

"Elva had a strong loyalty to Mac," says Veale, who adds: "She always enjoyed a good time and had lots of friends. Whatever she did, she put her whole heart into it."

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