Sam and Uttra Bhargava have donated $1 million to create a chair in movement disorders at the Ottawa Hospital. Their daughter Suruchi was paralyzed in a car crash 20 years ago.Photograph by: Jean Levac , Ottawa Citizen OTTAWA — Most people make at least one down payment in their lifetime, on an appliance, car or even a house. But the Bhargava family of Ottawa is putting down a lot money for an extremely long-term investment — $1 million toward a cure for Parkinson’s disease. “This is our down payment on our dream that one day we will have a cure,” said Sam (Subhas) Bhargava. Since Sam and his wife Uttra lost three family members to brain-related conditions, they have turned their attention to giving back to the community that supported them through one of the toughest times of their lives. When the couple moved to Canada from New Delhi, India in 1983, Sam’s father was suffering from Parkinson’s and his mother was in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. Four years after Sam’s father died of Parkinson’s in 1985, tragedy struck again. In 1989, their eldest daughter, Suruchi was hit by a drunk driver in New York, where she was completing her MBA. As a result of the collision, 22-year-old Suruchi was paralyzed from the neck down. As the family struggled to make ends meet, they housed the whole family — Sam’s mother and their five children, including Suruchi who required constant medical care — in their small townhouse. “I did everything I could do for our in-laws and our daughter, and we had four other children to look after. It was very hard. And we (had) moved recently so we didn’t have much money, either,” said Uttra. After Sam’s mother died of Alzheimer’s in 1993, Suruchi continued to pursue difficult physical therapy. But on a flight back from a treatment in New Delhi in 2004, she died of complications from her deteriorating condition. Eight years after their daughter’s death, the Bhargavas are striving to advance brain and spinal cord research in Ottawa. The couple, who own two successful daycare centres in Ottawa, recently donated $1 million to the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) to establish the first chair in Parkinson’s research. The Bhargavas said they chose the OHRI because it is a teaching facility, with strong access to researchers. The OHRI’s Dr. Michael Schlossmacher, a world leader in Parkinson’s research, will serve as chairman. Read more: