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Inside the Brain Understanding the brain and conditions that affect the developing mind and body.


superhero news

Mining companies raise the bar On August 31, members of Capstone Mining Corp. visited the hospital to find out first-hand how their $3-million gift to the Campaign for BC Children will make a difference for children living with cancer in BC. Capstone’s donation will go toward the Oncology Outpatient Clinic in the new BC Children’s Hospital, scheduled for completion in 2017. Don Lindsay, chair of the Campaign for BC Children and president and CEO of lead donor Teck Resources Limited, was on hand to thank Darren Pylot, president and CEO of Capstone, and his executive team. “As a member of the mining

community, I take great pride in the extraordinary acts of generosity we’ve seen throughout our industry,” Lindsay told Capstone earlier. “By supporting the health of our children, you are safeguarding our future.” Capstone pledged its support in 2010, following the lead of Teck, which donated the largest campaign gift to date – $25 million in 2008 to name the new acute care hospital building. Others in the mining industry, which has been a strong supporter of BC Children’s for 25 years, soon followed. The mining sector has contributed well over $32 million to the campaign and a total of more than $50 million during its 25-year history of giving to BC Children’s Hospital. These gifts come from corporations, individuals and events such as the Teck Pie Throw, which raises funds under the banner of Mining for Miracles. The new Child & Family Research Imaging Facility, built on the hospital site using funds raised by Mining for Miracles, has recently been approved for operation, and the mining industry-funded Level 3 Containment Lab is also now fully operational. These are two of many facilities and programs the mining community has generously funded over the years in addition to its campaign commitments.

President and CEO Darren Pylot, board chair George Brack, and others from the Capstone Mining Corp. team present a cheque to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation president and CEO Teri Nicholas and president of BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children Larry Gold.

Redevelopment continues on the hospital site The first construction project on the new Children’s Hospital site is well underway. The Clinical Support Building, scheduled for completion in August 2012, will house key staff relocated from areas of the old Shaughnessy Building. A portion of the Shaughnessy Building is slated for demolition to make way for the new hospital’s main structure – an acute care building named by Teck Resources Limited. Artist’s rendering of the new Clinical Support Building now under construction at BC Children’s Hospital.

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With the help of BC’s mining community, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation has raised more than $135 million of its $200-million campaign goal.

inside speaking of children

fall 2011 MANAGING EDITOR Stephen Forgacs EDITOR Tara Turner


CONTRIBUTORS Shelina Babul-Wellar, Kathryn Brimacombe, Kerry Gold, Mary Frances Hill, Tara Turner, Janice Williams

6 Brain Terrain Brain mapping lets doctors target a boy’s tumour.

PHOTOGRAPHY James LaBounty, Carol-Ann Loeppky, Goran Samardziski, C&W Media Production & Service

8 A Rare Gemma Eighteen-month-old girl surpasses hospital expectations at home.


10 Life After Brain Surgery


For more information about the editorial content of Speaking of Children or to make a donation to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation or Sunny Hill Foundation, please contact 604-875-2444, toll-free at 1-888-663-3033 or


Charitable Business Number: 11885 2433 RR0001 BC Children’s Hospital Foundation 938 West 28th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4

2 4 12 14 15 16 18 19

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to SOC Editor at address above. Speaking of Children is published three times annually by BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Supporters who donate $50 or more receive a one-year subscription to the magazine, which is also distributed to government officials, public health units and libraries throughout the province. Publication sales agreement #40659514


BC Children’s Hospital Foundation raises funds for Children’s Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and the Child & Family Research Institute.

Four-year-old triumphs after three major brain surgeries.

superhero news well said speaking of people what’s on ask the expert healthy habits what’s up, doc? children speak

8 BC Children’s Hospital Foundation is redeveloping more than just our hospital site – our new website will launch in early 2012! Visit us at fall 2011 speaking of children


well said

All in a Year Looking back on my first year as chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, I am filled with pride. When I took on the role as chair, I knew I would be dedicating more of my time to a worthwhile cause, but I never expected the experience to affect me in such a personal manner. Perhaps this experience has had such an impact on me because I became a father in the past year. Perhaps it is because I’ve witnessed teams of dedicated volunteers pouring their energy into making BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s events successful. Or perhaps it is because of you – the community of donors across the province whose gifts provide hope for the 78,000 children who visit BC Children’s Hospital each year. I suspect it has been all of this, and more. When we measure the success of a fundraising organization, it’s easy to look to dollars raised. Perhaps success is better measured – if our goal is to help BC’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens – in the number of lives we change for the better. There’s no question that, as BC’s communities continue to step forward in support of the Campaign for BC Children, evidence of our success lies in the faces of our children, their loved ones, friends and neighbours. Your support enables our caregivers to provide outstanding care, and our researchers to search for new treatments and cures. Your support is helping families across the province access the specialized pediatric care they need through Child Health BC. Your support is moving the dream of a new BC Children’s Hospital firmly into reality through the Campaign for BC Children. And thanks to the loyalty of thousands of British Columbians we’re preparing to celebrate the 25th year of both our Crystal Ball and our Miracle Weekend. We have so many accomplishments to be proud of but, above all, I am proud that my role as chair brings with it a closer association with you – our donors. Without your commitment and support, none of these accomplishments would be possible. Thank you for standing by BC’s children. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together in the year to come.

BC CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION Board of Directors 2011 as of September 1, 2011

Mr. Kevin Bent, Chair Mr. Chris Carty Mr. David Doig Mr. Larry Gold Mr. Doug Gordon Mr. Peter Green Mrs. Tammi Kerzner Mr. Don Lindsay Mr. Graham MacLachlan Mr. Geoff Parkin Mr. David Podmore Dr. Ralph Rothstein Mrs. Wendy Slavin Mrs. Sandy So Ms. Andrea Southcott Mrs. Diane Zell

Foundation Executive Teri Nicholas, MSW, RSW President & CEO

Sincerely, Kevin Bent

Knut Nordlie, CFRE Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Debora Sweeney, CFRE Chair, Board of Directors BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

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Vice President and Chief Communications Officer

Inside the Childhood Brain The more we learn about the brain, the more we learn about ourselves. Many believe that the brain of child, still developing and growing, may provide the answers, at least in part, to the questions we have about the most mysterious human organ. In this issue of Speaking of Children you will read the stories of children with conditions that affect their brains – how they have overcome challenges and learned to live the richest life possible, whether or not a cure is in sight. You will learn about the innovative brain surgeries that save children’s lives on a daily basis and find out how technology is helping pediatric brain specialists to understand the inner workings of the developing brain. As you turn these pages, we hope you keep in mind that your contributions to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation are making all of this, and more, possible.

fall 2011 speaking of children


feature story

Brain Terrain Eleven-year-old Trevor hasn’t looked back since a brain-mapping-guided surgery at BC Children’s rid him of a seizure-causing brain tumour five years ago. by MARY FRANCES HILL In retrospect, it’s a perverse blessing for Trevor Kollmuss’s family that the boy was so young when doctors at BC Children’s Hospital discovered the brain tumour – “the grape” as Trevor called it – that had caused his seizures for months. The “grape” made his leg tired, caused it to kick and jerk spontaneously, made him lose his balance and fall without warning. Trevor was just six years old in 2006, when his tumour was detected. He reacted in his matter-of-fact, unsentimental way. He scolded the grape when it caused his leg to buckle. “When some kids teased him he would get mad at them and just carry on,” says his mother, Gayle. “We were amazed he was so resilient and the issues at school didn’t bother him that much.” Still, the growth on his brain made his family nervous. His seizures became more frequent. At their worst, they occurred up to 40 times a day. Today, Trevor has a future as a healthy, happy young man, and he hasn’t had a seizure in five years. That comes as a source of pride for BC Children’s Hospital neurologist Dr. Bruce Bjornson. The Harvard-educated specialist used brain mapping, aided by a functional MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, to pinpoint the exact spot of the tumour. The surgery was conducted by BC Children’s Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. Ash Singhal. “Trevor is the poster boy for best case scenario,” says Dr. Bjornson, who launched the Pediatric Functional MRI Technology Program at Children’s Hospital in 1996, making it the 6 speaking of children fall 2011

first children’s hospital in the country to perform “brainmapping” scans within its own walls. Dr. Bjornson conducted his first brain-mapping session on himself “– just to make sure it was safe.”

but in its less scientific achievement: children in an MRI scanner need to keep their heads still throughout the process, which can take more than an hour. Impossible? Not for the well-prepared, says Dr. Bjornson.

The task of mapping a child’s brain begins with the patient’s personal story. Armed with accounts from the family, Dr. Bjornson was able to estimate the general area of the brain abnormality that had been provoking Trevor’s spontaneous falls.

The functional MRI program offers a custom-built MRI simulator, which demystifies the process, charming the child with goggles and high-tech gadgets in a rehearsal for the real thing. “When we get to the real scan their anxiety is gone,” he says.

Then comes the electroencephalogram, or an EEG, in which electrodes measure electric activity of the brain. “An inordinate amount of static in a particular area shows us exactly where there is abnormal activity,” says Dr. Bjornson.

For Trevor’s family, it’s been a long, strange trip from the first seizure to post-surgical recovery and Trevor’s gradual weaning from anti-seizure drugs. For Trevor, though, memories of the ordeal return rarely – when a closely cropped haircut reveals his scar or he and his mother browse through a family scrapbook.

Next, a conventional MRI scan examines brain structure. A typical MRI scanner produces a very strong electromagnetic field; when the brain tissue responds, it produces fine, detailed images of the structure of the brain particularly when the child is engaged in simple tasks, such as wiggling the toes. Neurosurgeons need both the structure and function of a patient’s brain before operating. That’s where brain mapping comes in. Dr. Bjornson likens the conventional MRI scan to a geographical map of BC. Following the same theme, the brain-mapping session, or functional MRI, is a closer look at the terrain, like a weather map showing what’s happening moment to moment, he says. “What we want to do for the surgeon is to put the two [maps] together. We want to have the maps of the mountain and the peaks and the valleys. But if the surgeon needs to know what’s happening at a particular peak, we want to show him the weather in that area. “The functional MRI answers the neurosurgeon’s questions,” he adds. “Where’s the good stuff? Where’s the important stuff we want to flag?” Any parent may marvel over brain mapping not only as an advancing science,

Functional MRI machine at BC Children’s Hospital.

“It was a stressful time, and we were very nervous,” Gayle recalls. “But the doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital were amazing. We felt confident in their recommendations; they were honest about the risks of having surgery or not having it, and what that would look like for Trevor.” Dr. Bjornson, too, is pleased to look back at the experience of treating Trevor, as it is one more reason to develop more resources for research into brain mapping and functional MRI scans: “The best outcome is the one Trevor had – no more seizures, no more tumour, and even a day when he’s apt to forget it ever happened to him.”

fall 2011 speaking of children


feature story

Gemma Bostik.

A Rare Gemma

Amanda Bostik wondered why her baby wasn’t kicking during her pregnancy.

Eighteen-month-old Gemma Bostik’s parents believe bringing their daughter home, despite having a rare neuromuscular condition that requires 24-hour care, has given her a quality of life she could not have had in hospital.

The ultrasound indicated that she possibly had clubfoot. Clubfoot, and a front-facing placenta, would make it hard for Amanda to feel the baby kick. But by 31 weeks, Amanda’s belly had swelled abnormally large. When she had pains and went to the hospital for what she thought was a checkup, her baby suddenly was in crisis. Amanda was in labour and found herself being wheeled in for an emergency cesarean. “Her heart rate had completely dropped off,” says Amanda.


It turned out that Amanda had rapid weight gain because she had excess fluid inside her, caused by her baby’s inability to swallow properly. Her daughter, Gemma, was born with a neuromuscular disorder, which meant a complicated and traumatic birth, including bleeding in her brain. Amanda and her husband Charlie were shocked when their healthy, planned pregnancy ended so abruptly. When they first saw Gemma she lay unconscious, on a breathing machine, with her tiny body in a harness, covered in leads and wires. Their families have no history of birth defects, and aside from clubfoot, they’d had no cause for concern. But in that hospital room, the traumatized couple quickly realized they would have to change their expectations.

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Left: Charlie and Amanda Bostik holding Gemma in their backyard garden; Right: Gemma grasps a flower – something some thought may never be possible.

“They started to tell us things you can’t even comprehend,” says Amanda. “Your daughter was resuscitated at birth. She has femur fractures. She has no spontaneous movement. She has some form of neuromuscular disorder and might not be compatible with life. I just remember being in shock. “We did everything by the book. We had a nursery ready to go in our townhouse. And our whole world turned upside down.” Gemma wouldn’t be able to see her nursery for another 307 days. Instead of taking her home, the Bostiks made daily visits to see their daughter struggling to survive in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Because she was on a breathing machine, she couldn’t be held without difficulty, which made it even more heartbreaking for the family. And because she had a hemorrhage in her brain at birth, she was on a brain monitor. “It was the hardest 10 months of our life, being in there,” says Amanda. Gemma also has a condition known as hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. BC Children’s Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Steinbok inserted a shunt inside Gemma to drain fluid from her head into her stomach — this is one of a multitude of procedures that Gemma has undergone. He says new technology is essential in treating patients like Gemma. “We have been lobbying to get more resources globally for brain disorders and neurosciences in general.” Dr. Steinbok makes a good point, considering that the World Health Organization has estimated that neurological disorders affect as many as one billion people worldwide. BC Children’s Hospital already has the capacity to conduct 25 unique procedures that test the functions of children’s brains, nerves and muscles. The new Children’s Hospital will also house state-of-the-art technology to monitor and diagnose problems ranging from brain and spinal injuries to birth defects, scoliosis, paralysis and muscular dystrophy. As part of the new hospital, a Children’s Brain Centre will be the

core resource for neurology care, rehabilitation, surgery and research activities dedicated to repairing infants’ and children’s brains and keeping them as healthy as possible. From the get-go, the Bostiks strived to make Gemma’s life as normal as they could, despite her tremendous setbacks. They chose to have her undergo a tracheostomy, so she could leave the hospital. “We wanted to give her a quality of life at home that we couldn’t give her in hospital and support her through her journey,” says Amanda. They consulted with another family whose son had undergone the same procedure. “It was one of the best decisions we ever made. “All of a sudden everything changed,” says Amanda, who, along with her husband, took training courses to care for Gemma at home. “Gemma was given new-found freedom without tubes or tape on her face and being able to freely use her hands. We could finally move forward and focus on bringing our daughter home where she belonged.” Today, the Bostik family lives in a house that is wheelchairfriendly. Amanda resigned from work to care for Gemma full time, along with having evening nursing support, as Gemma needs 24-hour care. She doesn’t have the strength of a normal child, so she can’t hold herself up, but Gemma has made significant progress since coming home. She gives high-fives and plays peek-a-boo, taps to music, says “mama” and loves interaction. Despite her many setbacks, Gemma is doing things the Bostiks were told she would never do, says Amanda. “Life has a completely different meaning and perspective because of her. “We knew of BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital before, but you don’t realize until you need them, how valuable they are,” she says. “We are so lucky to have such wonderful facilities available to us here in BC.”

fall 2011 speaking of children


feature story

Life After Brain Surgery Felix Harries had three major surgeries to treat a rare neurological condition. Now, thanks to the neurosurgical team at BC Children’s, he is in excellent health and loving life. BY KATHRYN BRIMACOMBE

Felix Harries seems just like a typical four-year-old boy. He’s going to preschool, running around and “tormenting his older brother,” his mother, Caroline, laughs. But life has not been so ordinary for Felix, or the Harries family. Eight days after Felix was born in April 2007, Caroline and Felix’s dad, David, took him for a routine checkup with their family doctor. He gave them terrifying news. Although Felix had been born with a large head, his head circumference had increased alarmingly since birth. He was sent directly to BC Children’s Hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with hydrocephalus, the buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. “We were a wreck,” Caroline remembers. “We’d never heard of hydrocephalus; we didn’t know what was going on. It was crazy.” In hydrocephalus, the buildup of fluid creates abnormally high pressure within the skull. If this pressure isn’t relieved, the tissues in the brain and spinal cord can be damaged, blood flow throughout the brain can become dangerously restricted, and brain damage can occur. According to Health Canada, congenital hydrocephalus occurs in 7.7 of every 10,000 births. The World Health Organization states that up to 75 per cent of those affected may experience problems with motor skill development. At 10 days old, Felix underwent his first brain surgery; Dr. Doug Cochrane and the neurosurgical health-care team at BC Children’s Hospital inserted a shunt into Felix’s brain to drain the excess liquid. Felix was expected to recover well. But a subsequent MRI scan revealed Felix had a rare condition: bilateral choroid plexus hyperplasia. Doctors at Children’s Felix Harries.

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Hospital had never seen this before. “Felix is the only child we have had in BC with this condition,” Dr. Cochrane says. The choroid plexuses – the part of the brain that produces cerebral fluid – are usually tiny, made up of extremely small capillaries. “In Felix they were the size of Dr. Cochrane’s thumbs,” Caroline says. The choroid plexuses in Felix’s brain were massively overproducing cerebrospinal fluid, and the shunt was unable to cope with the immense volume of liquid. Caroline recalls what that time was like for her, David and Felix’s brother, Jasper. “It was really hard on the family,” she remembers. “Friends were helping out as we were coming to terms with everything. You think the worst; you don’t know if your child is going to die. It was a really rough time.” After several months doctors determined that the right choroid plexus in Felix’s brain needed to be removed. Felix was just five months old when he had his second major neurosurgery, to remove the part of his brain that was overproducing fluid. The operation was a success and Felix’s shunt was finally operating normally. But when Felix was just one year old, follow-up MRIs showed his left choroid plexus was enlarged and needed to be removed as well. Felix recovered from his third brain surgery quickly, and the Harries family was able to bring him home after just 36 hours. Since then the shunt has been working well and, in the future, may possibly be removed altogether. “He has no problems at all with cerebrospinal fluid buildup,” says Dr. Cochrane. “He is a normal child.” Dr. Cochrane says the new BC Children’s Hospital, including the new Children’s Brain Centre – will greatly enhance care for children, like Felix, who require brain surgery. The new hospital will have state-of-the-art brain-imaging technology to enable doctors to better see inside the brain, to determine what areas of the brain are affected by neurological disorders and to develop improved treatments. This leading-edge hospital environment will enhance caregivers’ ability to monitor and measure the pressure of the fluid inside a child’s skull while steps are taken to normalize

Felix, his mom Caroline and big brother Jasper.

the pressure. This will help caregivers make decisions about further treatment, such as shunt removal. Shortly after Felix’s final surgery, Caroline and David noticed he was advancing like a typical one-year-old. Now four, he’s continuing to develop well. Caroline credits his amazing progress to Dr. Cochrane and the health-care teams at BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, where Felix goes for speech therapy. “Dr. Cochrane is brilliant,” Caroline says. “We give complete credit to the neurosurgery team who have been so tenacious at finding the right solution throughout. We are so grateful.”

To make a donation to the Campaign for BC Children, please visit fall 2011 speaking of children


speaking of people




7 Queen (DQ) Blizzards on August 11 by supporting Miracle Treat Day. The event celebrated another successful year of raising funds for the health needs of BC’s kids. DQ has been supporting the hospital since 1988 and will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Miracle Treat Day in 2012.


At only 12 years old, Lindsey Lourenco was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia while on holiday in Portugal. Since her diagnosis, Lindsey has courageously undergone treatment, including a bone marrow transplant that saved her life. Now 17, Lindsey is looking forward to life cancer-free and a promising future that may just involve pediatric nursing, an area of interest thanks to the care she received at Children’s. On September 30 she was introduced as this year’s ambassador for BC Children’s Hospital. To read Lindsey’s full story, visit

RBC CANADIAN OPEN & PRO-AM TOURNAMENT The week of July 18, some of the world’s best golfers competed in the RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club. As a local charity partner of this PGA Tour stop, BC 12 speaking of children fall 2011

6 Children’s Hospital Foundation hosted a ProAm Tournament, as well as a Children’s Circle of Care donor reception and dinner. For more information about the Children’s Circle of Care please contact Amanda Sayfy at 604-875-2545.

CROCHET FOR KIDS Kudos to 86-year-old Charlotte Scott, who has crocheted over 60 chic reusable bags from disposable plastic and raised $1,030 for BC Children’s Hospital. For each of her signature sacks, Charlotte uses 25 to 40 plastic bags, cuts them into strips, and crochets them into fashionable and versatile earth-friendly bags. When family and friends started asking her to make them one, Charlotte told them they must first make a minimum $10 donation to BC Children’s Hospital. Charlotte visited BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to drop off her fundraising proceeds on August 30.

MIRACLE TREAT DAY British Columbians showed their support for BC Children’s Hospital and their love of Dairy

SMILE COOKIE Tim Hortons had another successful year of fundraising for BC Children’s Hospital, raising over $186,000 from September 19 to 25 through its Smile Cookie campaign. Thank you to everyone who participated in buying a $1 smile cookie from the Vancouver and Fraser Valley locations with all proceeds going to the hospital. Tim Hortons has been supporting BC Children’s since 1994.

GRIND FOR KIDS Grind for Kids completed its second successful year. Grouse Grind enthusiasts, fitness fanatics and hospital supporters climbed the famous trail over 4,000 times in support of BC Children’s Hospital. Thanks to the donors, sponsors, volunteers and, of course, the “Grinders,” who helped to raise a mountain of money for BC’s kids. Registration for the 2012 season opens in June 2012.

DREAM BIG BC Children’s Hospital Foundation recently completed another “Dream” lottery. Both the “Dream” and “Choices” lotteries provide much-

4 needed funding for research into childhood illnesses and diseases that affect families by supporting the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital. Last year these lotteries generated over $5 million for pediatric research.

FISHING FOR KIDS REELS IN OVER $400,000 FOR THE HOSPITAL The sixth annual Fishing for Kids Tournament, hosted by the West Coast Fishing Club, raised a record-breaking $826,000, half of which will go to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation as one of two charities benefiting from the three-day tournament last August. Anglers from across BC participated alongside LA Kings defenseman and former Vancouver Canucks player, Willie Mitchell, as he defended his title as last year’s tournament champion. Thanks to the 2011 Fishing for Kids organizers, the West Coast Fishing Club and all participants for another great year.

MANDARIN MIRACLE WEEKEND The first ever Mandarin Miracle Weekend raised $100,000 for the construction of the Oncology Inpatient Unit at the new Children’s Hospital. It aired on September 18 on Shaw Multicultural Channel and Delta Cable. Proceeds from the event supported the Chinese-Canadian community’s $5-million Operation Superhero campaign. Photos: 1 Canada Sings winning team, the Edutones – a group of teachers from Vancouver’s Eric Hamber secondary school – donated their $10,000 prize to BC Children’s Hospital; 2 Lindsey Lourenco; 3 PGA Tour professional John Daly with Pro-Am Tournament participants Pete Sargent, Joachim Neumann of Auto West BMW and Leonard Fong; 4 Charlotte Scott (centre front) and son-inlaw Bert Gibbens (far right) with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation staff; 5 Vancouver Canucks mascot Fin and BC Children’s Hospital patient Oscar Dorval on Miracle Treat Day; 6 Fishing for Kids; 7 Mandarin Miracle Weekend Committee and volunteers.

Overwaitea Food Group president Steve van der Leest with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation president and CEO Teri Nicholas.

ANOTHER YEAR OF SUCCESS: THE 16TH ANNUAL CLASSIC FORE KIDS TOURNAMENT Once again, over 370 Overwaitea Food Group (OFG) suppliers came out to support the 16th annual Classic Fore Kids golf tournament on September 15. Teams embraced the “celebrity” theme for this year’s tournament with costumes ranging from Hollywood A-listers like Johnny Depp and the Pirates of the Caribbean to the rock band Kiss. The “Gaga for Children’s Hospital” team took the prize for best costume with team members dressed up as Lady Gaga. The tournament raised $875,767 to support Child Health BC through the Campaign for BC Children. Child Health BC is an initiative of BC Children’s Hospital to ensure children have access to a consistent standard of specialized pediatric care no matter where in the province they live. “The incredible support of Overwaitea Food Group, its employees, suppliers and partners, ensures families throughout BC can get the absolute best health care for their children, and without necessarily having to travel across the province to get it,” says Teri Nicholas, president & CEO of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. “By supporting Child Health BC, this event is keeping children healthier, closer to home, and giving families access to a high standard of care.” In 2007, OFG became the lead benefactor to Child Health BC with a $20-million pledge to the Campaign for BC Children. As a result, children across the province are benefiting from the expansion of services and clinics, regional caregiver training in pediatrics and improved standards of child health care. Since its inception, the Classic Fore Kids tournament has raised $4.75 million to support the health of BC’s children.

fall 2011 speaking of children


what’s on

FESTIVAL OF TREES Celebrate the holiday season with BC Children’s Hospital as local businesses and organizations transform regular spaces into lush forests of beautifully decorated trees. This year marks the silver anniversary of the Vancouver Festival of Trees. Vancouver Island also continues the tradition with another year of events in Victoria, Port Alberni and Sooke. Trees are on display 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no cost, but with a suggested minimum $2 donation to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation for every vote cast for your favourite tree. Tax receipts will be issued for donations over $20. For more information visit

VANCOUVER The Four Seasons Hotel and Pacific Centre Mall November 23, 2011 – January 4, 2012 VICTORIA The Fairmont Empress November 22, 2011 – January 6, 2012 PORT ALBERNI The Best Western Barclay Hotel November 23, 2011 – January 7, 2012 SOOKE SEAPARC Leisure Centre and the Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke November 29, 2011 – January 6, 2012

25TH ANNUAL CRYSTAL BALL December 1, 2011, marks the 25th anniversary of the Crystal Ball. Once again, this black-tie affair will welcome 400 guests to the Four Seasons Hotel in support of the

Campaign for BC Children with supporters raising their paddles and dancing this magical night away. Should you like to make a special contribution in honour of this milestone year through the Ball’s Special Giving Program, please contact Amanda Sayfy at 604-875-2545 or

2012 FOR CHILDREN WE CARE GALA The 18th annual For Children We Care gala will take place on February 4, 2012, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Organized by caring members of the Chinese-Canadian community, 1,000 guests are expected to attend this spectacular black-tie optional event. All proceeds go to Operation Superhero – a three-year, $5-million fundraising initiative to support the construction of the Oncology Inpatient Unit at the new Children’s Hospital. Please contact Wendy Wong at 604-875-2673 or for sponsorship and ticket information.

BOARD AND GOVERNOR ANNOUNCEMENTS Daphne Cole is stepping down from her role as a governor of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, a position she has held since 2005. Prior to becoming a governor, Daphne served on the Foundation’s Society for more than 16 years and was a founding member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. In addition to her exemplary service to the Foundation, Daphne is one of BC Children’s Hospital’s most dedicated volunteers. She was the original Auxiliary president when BC Children’s Hospital opened in 1982 and was a member of the hospital’s Board of Directors. Daphne is a dedicated advocate for the needs and comforts of patients and families and regularly volunteers 35 hours a week for the Auxiliary. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Daphne. Alan Grimston will be leaving the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Society after serving BC’s children and families for 12 years. A member of the Society since 2000, he has held roles on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and is past chair of the Children’s & Women’s Hospital and Health Centre Board of Directors. He has been a Foundation governor for the past six years, a member of the Foundation’s Allocations Committee, Finance Committee, and Government Relations Committee. We thank him for his many years of service. 14 speaking of children fall 2011

Other changes in governance include past board chair Wendy Slavin’s resignation from the Foundation’s Board of Directors and appointment as chair of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Society. Wendy has been on the Foundation board for a total of eight years, and will continue to serve on several committees including the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Annual Programs Council. Other departing governors include founding members Irfhan Rajani, Diana Reid and Dr. Geoff Blair, each of whom has served since the establishment of the Foundation’s governors in 2005, as well as past Miracle Weekend chair Jerry Bried, who served from 2008-11. We thank all of our governors for their dedicated years of service to BC Children’s Hospital and Foundation. Joanne Gassman, senior vice president for the BC & Yukon Division, BMO Bank of Montreal, has recently been appointed as a new governor. We are also pleased to welcome two governors from Hong Kong, Adrian Fu, chief executive of KHI Management Ltd., and Laura Chen of the ZeShan Foundation.

ask the expert



Taxable Benefits of Giving No capital gains tax when you donate appreciated securities to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

As the holiday season and year end approach, many of us consider our annual charitable donations. What if you could use a gift of securities to accomplish three worthy goals – a donation to BC Children’s Hospital, the elimination of taxes and retaining funds for your personal use – would you?

Auxiliary to BC Children’s Hospital 2011 holiday cards are now available online.

Visit to place your order. For more information please contact Diana Steele at or 604-875-2000 ext. 5393.

Purchase your cards today!

Thanks to changes in the May 2006 Federal Budget, you no longer pay capital gains tax when you give appreciated securities to your favourite charity. This makes donating stock, particularly long-held shares with accumulated capital gains, one of the most cost-effective ways to donate. Typically, when you sell an appreciated stock, mutual fund or flowthrough shares, you are required to pay tax on 50 per cent of the capital gain. However, if you donate the securities to a charity, you do not pay tax on the capital gain and you receive a charitable tax receipt that will help offset other taxes. This makes donating stocks one of the most costeffective ways to donate. To estimate your tax credit, please use our tax credit calculator at Additional tax tips: • Charitable donations may be claimed up to an annual limit of 75 per cent of your net income (100 per cent for gifts made in the year of death, including gifts such as bequests). • Unclaimed charitable donations can be carried forward up to five years. • Either spouse can claim the tax credit, regardless of which spouse’s name is on the charitable donation receipt. Please consult a qualified financial advisor regarding accurate tax information for your personal situation. Every gift makes a difference to the children we treat every day and their families. For more information on how to support BC Children’s Hospital through a gift of securities, please contact a member of our expert team below.

GIFT & ESTATE PLANNING TEAM DIANE HAARSTAD Philanthropy Officer 604-875-3679

JANICE WILLIAMS Philanthropy Officer 604-875-2677

fall 2011 speaking of children


healthy habits

Make it a “No-brainer” Keep kids’ heads safe by learning to avoid and recognize the signs of a concussion. by DR. SHELINA BABUL-WELLAR

Concussions and head injuries are a hot topic in both the media and medicine. The conventional belief that an individual has had his or her “bell rung” and will be fine is being challenged. With the death of actor Natasha Richardson on the ski hill, and repeated head trauma and injury reported among NHL and NFL players, sustaining a concussion is now taken much more seriously.

WHAT IS A CONCUSSION? A concussion is a type of internal head injury (jarring to the brain) that causes a temporary loss of normal brain function. Repeated concussions can result in permanent injury to the brain, but with the proper care, most concussions won’t result in long-term damage. The largest number of head injuries result from falls. Sports and recreational activities such as cycling, ball games, skateboards, powered scooters and recreational vehicles, winter and water sports, and trampolines are the top causes of head and spinal injuries for children up to 14 years of age. These are popular childhood sports that can easily result in devastating injuries. Because sports are a common cause of concussions, you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a concussion just in case your child gets a hit to the head. If you think your child has a concussion, watch for these signs and call your doctor: • Confusion • Headache • Dizziness • Nausea • Loss of balance 16 speaking of children fall 2011

• • • • • •

Double vision Ringing in the ears Slurred speech Emotional or personality changes Feeling stunned or dazed Loss of consciousness

PLAYING IT SAFE The benefits of children participating in sports and recreational activities are innumerable – these include the physical, mental and social benefits gained through using your body, making friends and learning new skills. However, teenagers account for 32 per cent of all catastrophic sports injuries. The highest rate of brain injury occurs in youth between the ages of 15-24 years of age, but children under the age of five are also at higher risk. The best defense against injury is prevention. This doesn’t mean hibernation but, rather, getting the appropriate training, wearing protective equipment (like helmets) and being smart about the possible risks of any sport. When worn properly, helmets reduce the risk of brain injury by 88 per cent. To be sure your child’s helmet fits correctly, simply follow the 2V1 rule – the helmet sits two fingers above the eyebrows, the side straps fit like a “V” over the ears, and one finger space fits between the chin and chinstrap. Make sure the helmet is less than five years old and has a certification sticker such as CSA, CE, ASTM or SNELL. This will give you the assurance that the helmet has gone through rigorous testing to protect your child’s head upon impact.

REST DOES IT BEST! Thankfully, 80 per cent of concussions resolve with no long-lasting symptoms. If your child does get a concussion, the key is to make him or her stop any physical and mental activity and rest! Resting will give your child’s brain the time it needs to recover. And finally, before resuming any activity, have your child’s health cleared by a medical professional.

TIPS FOR PREVENTING HEAD INJURIES It’s impossible to prevent kids from ever being hurt, but there are ways to protect your child from severe head injuries. • Childproof your home to prevent household injuries if you have young children. • Have your kids always wear appropriate headgear and safety equipment when biking, in-line skating, skateboarding, snowboarding or skiing, and playing contact sports. • Always buckle kids into a seatbelt or child safety seat. • Make your child rest after a head injury, especially if there is a concussion. • Only let your child return to activities or playing sports after a head injury with doctor approval.

Information for this article was provided by Dr. Shelina Babul-Wellar, sports injury specialist and associate director of the BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit at BC Children’s Hospital, with additional sources from and



Test your SBS knowledge

KEEPING YOUR COOL Crying is common in all infants. They cry when they need food, sleep or a diaper change. Sometimes, however, babies seem to cry for no reason and no matter what you do to comfort them, they cannot be soothed. This can be extremely frustrating and can lead to shaking and abuse. Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC is dedicated to the prevention of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) and other forms of infant abuse through education, awareness and advocacy.

1. How can you respond to your baby’s crying if it becomes frustrating? a) Carry, comfort, walk and talk with your baby. b) Put your baby in a safe place, walk away and take a few minutes to calm down. c) Never shake or hurt a baby. d) All of the above. 2. What is the number one trigger for SBS? a) Inconsolable infant crying. b) A badly behaved child or baby. c) A child who is a sloppy eater. d) Violent behaviour in parents.

3. SBS results from violently shaking a baby or a young child, with or without impact to the head. a) True b) False 4. The severity of shaking needed to produce injury can occur from rough play or bouncing a baby on your knee. a) True b) False 5. It may be frustrating, but your baby’s crying will come to an end. a) True b) False

Answer key: 1 d; 2 a; 3 True; 4 False; 5 True.

The Period of PURPLE Crying® is a province-wide program that provides educational information to help prevent SBS. The letters in the word PURPLE describe the properties of normal infant crying that are frustrating.


for Peak of Crying - peaks around two months, then decreases around three to five months; for Unexpected - crying comes and goes unexpectedly and for no apparent reason; for Resists Soothing - crying continues despite all soothing efforts by caregivers; for Pain-like Face - babies look like they are in pain, even when they are not; for Long Lasting - crying can last as much as five hours a day or more; for Evening - crying occurs more in the late afternoon and evening.

All British Columbian families get a Period of PURPLE Crying® DVD and booklet with verbal information from the maternity nurse at the hospital after the birth C of their baby. For more information contact Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC at 604-875-2000 ext. 5100, call toll free at 1-888-300-3088 or visit

fall 2011 speaking of children


what’s up, doc?

Dr. Steven Miller

FAMILY / PERSONAL PICTURE I am married with two children, a seven-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. My wife, Dr. Mina Matsuda-Abedini, is a pediatric nephrologist at BC Children’s Hospital and a clinical investigator at the Child & Family Research Institute.

WHAT YOU’D NEVER KNOW ABOUT ME I am trying to learn Japanese. I can almost keep up with a kindergarten-level conversation. I practise with my daughter, who thinks my pronunciation, or mispronunciation, is hilarious.

WHY I BECAME A DOCTOR As a medical student, I spent time in Ghana working in pediatric medicine. This experience opened my eyes to pediatric neurology: seeing children playing in the yard, who only two weeks earlier were brought to the hospital in a coma due to an infection, was inspiring.

HOBBIES I love playing with my children, travelling with my family and any outdoor sport such as swimming, running and cycling.

BEHIND THE STETHOSCOPE I’m a pediatric neurologist specializing in babies at risk of brain injury. I look after babies and children with brain diseases such as seizures and stroke. I’m also a senior clinician scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute. My research looks at understanding how exposures such as infections and seizures can potentially harm an infant’s developing brain, as well as new ways we can protect the brain.




I went to medical school at McGill University, where I also completed my pediatric neurology specialization. I did a research fellowship in neonatal neurology and training in clinical research methods at the University of California, San Francisco.

I’m reading Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.

18 speaking of children fall 2011

I would be a full-time dad.

PHILOSOPHY Work hard, play hard. I’m driven to do my best at work, yet I also enjoy time off. The most important lesson I’ve learned from working in pediatric neurology is to make the most of the time we have.

children speak

a Friesen are A sh ly nn and Linn ae s and th e youn gest identi ca l tw in sister th e ag e of th ree of five ch ild ren. A t so me sy mptom s month s w e noti ce d e soug ht an sw er s in A sh ly nn th at w onth proc es s seeing ou r en fo r. A fter a th ree- mre ferred to a loca l pe d iatric ian and thl, g fa m ily doctor, bein ep artment at B C C hild ren’ s H ospita t de fects. to th e C ard io lo gy Dly nn ’ s d ia gn os is – tw o congen ital hear w e w ere given A sh ptal de fect w it h se al ri at s su no ve s is ca lle d sinu The fir st de fect is pulmon ary venous retu rn . In E ng lis h thmeet pa rt ia l an om alous le in her heart w here th e tw o atri as cle. means sh e ha s a hok flo w ” of bloo d into th e righ t ventri s is th e and th ere is a “b ac ca lle d pulmon ary va lve sten os is . Thi cts The second de fect is lmon ary artery va lve. Thoug h her de fere qu ire na rrow in g of th e puen in g w e w ere to ld th at sh e w ould 10. w ere not life- th reatd op en - heart su rg ery on June 15 , 2 0 su rg ery. A sh ly nn ha t fa ce th ese tria ls , bu We to ve ha t n’ id d e w . O bvious ly, w e w is h B C C hild ren’ s H ospita l is th ere fo r ussupport w e are so th ankful nt you can give and all th e lo ve and apprec iate any amou you can offer. The Friesens

Dear Children’s Hospital . . . Wanting to give back to the place that helped their daughter, Ashlynn, the Friesen family has been hosting fundraising activities with a goal to raise $10,000 for the Children’s Heart Centre at BC Children’s Hospital. They held a celebration barbeque after Ashlynn recovered from open-heart surgery, Ashlynn and her sister have asked for donations to BC Children’s Hospital in lieu of birthday gifts, and Ashlynn’s older sisters also raised funds selling lemonade. In total the Friesens have collected $5,666 toward their goal.

Do you have a story about BC Children’s Hospital to tell? Please submit your Miracle Kid stories to

fall 2011 speaking of children


You can create a lasting legacy of love for all of BC’s children. It is a magical thing to know that a decision you make today could save the life of a child 20 years or more from now. But that’s what happens when you include BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in your estate plans.

Small patients, great needs. When you leave a gift in your will to BC Children’s Hospital you can help build a brighter, healthier tomorrow for all children – shaping the future of pediatric health care for generations to come. For more information or to let us know you have made a gift through your estate, please contact the Gift & Estate Planning team at 1-888-663-3033 or

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Speaking of Children, Fall 2011  

Fall edition of BC Children's Hospital Foundation "Speaking of Children" magazine