On donations: Businessman Anders Wiklöf
“The plan is to bring about a significant expansion of research!”
Thanks to a donation from businessman Anders Wiklöf from the Åland Islands, Uppsala University has been able to establish a new centre for heart research – the Anders Wiklöf Institute for Heart Research – based on data from large-scale population registers and biobanks.
It is no accident that Anders Wiklöf has chosen to contribute specifically to heart research. His elder brother Lasse Wiklöf died of a heart attack, just 63 years old.
“Lasse meant an enormous amount to me. Despite all my nagging, I never managed to convince him to have his heart checked. When he died I thought, if I can cope with this, I can cope with anything;” Wiklöf says.
Wiklöf grew up in a working class home in Mariehamn on Åland. His father was a bricklayer and his mother had an eye disease that made her blind and unable to work at an early age.
“Fundamentally, I’m a working class lad who believes everyone is equal. When I was growing up, we had food on the table and clothes on our back, but that was about it. I had no chance to get an education. I had to start working early. That’s not the sort of thing you forget,” says Wiklöf, who started out as an errand boy.
Today, he is one of the most successful businessmen of his times. Through his group Wiklöf Holding, the largest sole proprietorship in the Nordic region, he now owns more than twenty companies in logistics, hall construction, helicopter services, real estate ownership, trade and tourism. Wiklöf also has one of the best private art collections in the Nordic region, and is a major shareholder in the two Åland newspapers and the largest shareholder in the Bank of Åland.
Anders Wiklöf’s donation has now enabled Uppsala University to build up a new centre for heart research, led by cardiologist and Professor of Epidemiology, Johan Sundström.
“In terms of our research, Anders Wiklöf’s donation has been absolutely crucial for the establishment of this focused, large-scale initiative for research in cardiovascular diseases. My ambition is that in five years’ time, we will have identified new factors behind heart attacks, and factors that contribute to other cardiovascular diseases, which may enable us to predict and prevent them in time,” explains Sundström.
Anders Wiklöf will be following the research with great interest.
“For me personally, it is fascinating to have the opportunity, through Uppsala University’s highly qualified researchers, to gain a deeper knowledge of this vital area,” says Wiklöf. “I am really looking forward to following the progress of this exciting project, which could make a crucial difference in a great many people’s lives. This is something that I will remain involved in and continue to support for many years to come. The plan is to bring about a significant expansion of research! I didn’t manage to get my brother to the doctor in time, but hope this research will help to save hundreds of thousands of people.”