Spring 2018 David Foster Foundation Newsletter

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Spring 2018 Volume 19

CELEBR ATE The Gift of Life

The Laura Ward Story

B Laura back home in Saskatoon after five months at Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton.

WHAT’S INSIDE The Laura Ward Story . . . . . . . . . . . Message from the Chairman . . . . . Message from the CEO . . . . . . . . . .

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Message from the SVP, Fund Development . . . . . . . . . . .

4 Eight Ways to Give . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Register to be an Organ Donor . . . 8 Did You Know? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 WestJet Thanks: From the Heart . 10 Thanks for the Cuddles, Oak Bay Beach Hotel . . . . . . . . . 11 Thanks to Our Partners & Life Legacy Members . . . . . . 11 Save the Date Vancouver Island . . 12 Follow us on:

y the time Laura Ward was four months old, her tiny body had endured eight major surgeries—six of those being open-heart surgery, 17 other surgical procedures, three cardiac catheterizations, three cardiac arrests, two mechanical hearts, 127 minutes of CPR and a cumulative of three months on mechanical ventilation. Today, Laura is one and a half years old and her parents, Sarah and A.J., describe her as vibrant and full of life. Their journey has not been easy; it has been filled with ups and downs, heartbreak and miracles. Sarah and A.J. will forever be grateful for the remarkable gift that their daughter received from a family that they had never met. A family that, in their darkest moment, had a conversation about organ donation that saved Laura’s life.

Words from a mother… Laura was born on September 11th, 2016, weighing 9 lbs., 12 oz., our first child. She was beautiful, perfect, and—in our eyes—healthy. We had five hours of blissful joy with our new baby girl before concerns about her health arose. Nurses had detected that Laura’s blood sugar levels were low. We were reassured continues on page 6

PROFILE Laura Ward Age: 1 ½ years Transplant: Heart Born: September 11, 2016 Saskatoon, SK

Message from the Chairman


ogether, we celebrated the David Foster Foundation’s 30th Anniversary throughout the entire 2017 year. It was a year that recognized extraordinary milestones in the achievements of the foundation, our Families, and organ donor awareness throughout Canada and the United States. I have been inspired by the strength of our families and deeply touched by the generosity of our supporters. Thank you for believing in our cause and standing with our families on their organ transplant journey. I am so proud of everything that we have accomplished over the past 30 years and I can’t wait to see what the next 30 years will bring. We have been fortunate enough to witness countless miracles, but seen great heartbreak as well. There are still hundreds of Canadians that die each year waiting for an organ transplant. Canadian Blood Services reports that nearly 90% of Canadians support organ and tissue donation but less than 25% are registered. This tells us that the majority of Canadians would be happy to leave the legacy of a second chance at life; however, this legacy often goes unanswered because an individual has not registered their consent or spoken to their family about their wishes. Imagine being the health care professional that has to approach a family experiencing deep loss to talk about their loved one's wishes—what an extremely difficult conversation to have. These difficult conversations are the bridge between a life lost and the Gift of Life. One donor can benefit more than 75 people and save up to 8 lives. This spring, have a conversation about the importance of organ and tissue donation. April is Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month, with a nation-wide week designated to increasing organ donor registration


Spring 2018

“Together, we can one day end the needlessly long and challenging transplant wait times that so many face each year and provide hope for another tomorrow.” and encouraging people to share the facts about organ donation. Let’s make an impact and keep this conversation going. Together, we can one day end the needlessly long and challenging transplant wait times that so many face each year and provide hope for another tomorrow. Thank you for your commitment to this cause. We would not be able to do the work that we do without the incredible support of individuals like you. Sincerely,

David Foster Founder and Chairman

David Foster with Nazdana, liver transplant recipient, and her sister in Winnipeg, Manitoba during the Gift Of Life flag raising in 2016.

Message from the CEO


pril is Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month. April 22nd to 28th will be a nation-wide week of events and campaigns that shine a light on the need for organ donor registration. The David Foster Foundation invites you to participate in these important discussions to awaken change and one day eliminate the needlessly long wait times for an organ transplant that families face today. I encourage you to take this time to not only strive for further progress on the issue of organ donation, but to celebrate the lives that have been saved because of it.

liver transplant. To the families of these children, these moments aren’t just another daily activity—they’re the results of a miracle. Together, we can create more miracles for families across Canada by raising awareness about organ donation. We are proud and honoured to work alongside dedicated people that share our commitment to this cause. To our donors, volunteers, national partners, community partners, and Life Legacy members, thank you for being a part of these miracles. Thank you for answering a call to action to strive for the day when no family has to lose a child on the organ donor waitlist while an available organ is lost. Together, we can make this happen. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! With sincere gratitude and appreciation,

Thanks to the Gift of Life through organ donation: Russell Lepp will participate in youth soccer this spring. Owen Buskard will attend Junior Kindergarten this year. Grant Logan, a university student pursuing his business degree, will celebrate his 10th year of living with his

Michael Ravenhill Chief Executive Officer

Group shot! Michael Ravenhill and the group during the Boston Pizza Party that was held at Parq Vancouver in 2017.

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


Message from the SVP, Fund Development April: Organ Donor Awareness Month, with a nationwide week recognizing the importance of becoming a registered organ donor. Outcome: Organ donor registration will increase, bringing us one step closer to eliminating the needlessly long wait times that patients currently endure.

• GAIN Group 4-day Destination Event: July 30 - Aug 2 An exclusive 5 star, 3-night, 4-day program for 40 couples at the incomparable boutique Villa Eyrie Resort and Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. Full details, including videos and pricing will be available on the David Foster Foundation website mid April. Keep an eye out for more information on our special fundraising events as they are released for 2018.

Result: Increased organ availability will create more tomorrows for children in need of a transplant.



he success of organ donor registration campaigns will give more children the opportunity to receive the organ transplant that will save their life. This is amazing, but there is a cost. In many cases, parents will leave their work and home in order to stay by their child’s side during the transplant process, resulting in an increased number of families requiring financial assistance.

John Danson SVP, Fund Development

The Foundation is proud to support these families on their transplant journey, but we can’t do it without you. In addition to becoming a registered organ donor, you can help support children going through a life-saving organ transplant by making a donation, becoming a partner or sponsor of the David Foster Foundation, or joining us at one of our 2018 cross-country special event fundraisers with David Foster & Friends. This year, in addition to sharing his time and talent at the 2018 David Foster Foundation events, David will be producing new music with some of the world’s most recognized and accomplished musicians, returning as a judge on Asia’s Got Talent, writing music for the brandnew broadway musical—Betty Boop, and touring both North America and Asia on his HITMAN Tour. Between all this, David continues his incredible work as chairman of the David Foster Foundation and donates his time to multiple other charities. The David Foster Foundation’s cross-country fundraising events for 2018: • An Intimate Evening with David Foster & Friends An evening of story-telling, piano, song, laughter, and mingling with 16-time Grammy Award winner, David Foster. Locations and dates to be announced!


Spring 2018

Of course John is an organ donor!


Eight Ways to Give 1.

BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR By becoming a registered organ donor, you may one day save a life.


Points are used for travel and accommodation for a family with a child going through this life-saving organ transplant process away from home.


The RBC Rewards points can be redeemed to make a direct donation to the David Foster Foundation.


A special partnership with Waddington's, Canada's premier auction house since 1850, allows you to donate the funds generated from your art and valuables to the David Foster Foundation.


All funds received through the Sponsor a Family program are directed to a specific restricted account. As a result, 100% of the money donated goes to direct family support.


The David Foster Foundation works with national partners to help raise both funds and awareness of the Foundation's goals. National partners are recognized on the website, all collateral material, and throughout annual fundraising events.


The purpose of the endowment fund is to support all Canadian families who have a child going through the life-saving organ transplant process for years to come.


A planned gift is a charitable donation which can be arranged as part of your overall financial and estate planning.

For more details and information on the eight ways you can help families with children in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, visit WAYS TO GIVE on the homepage banner of our website at davidfosterfoundation.com.

OUR VISION To continue to provide financial support to the families of Canadian children who are in need of life-saving organ transplants.

OUR MISSION The David Foster Foundation is dedicated to providing financial support to Canadian families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants. In addition to helping families with their non-medical expenses, the Foundation strives to increase public awareness and education about the importance of becoming a registered organ donor in Canada and the United States.

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


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“We have a different perspective on anniversaries now. September 11th, 2017, we celebrated Laura’s first birthday. For a long time, we were not sure if she would see this day.” that this was fairly normal in large babies, however, when levels did not rise, our family doctor was called in. The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) would detect a faint heart murmur in Laura and further testing at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon would determine that Laura had a congenital heart defect, known as transposition of the great arteries. We were devastated by the news, however, statistics for the corrective surgery reported a 95-98% efficacy rate with children recovering to lead normal lives; these reports gave us a lot of hope for our new baby girl. We were airlifted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton for Laura’s corrective surgery when she was only two days old and the open-heart surgery took place when she was just five days old. Our surgeon explained that he had found an abnormal set of left coronary arteries, but felt confident in how he had placed them during the surgery. She was transferred from the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) to the NICU after less than a week. Our little girl made it through her openheart surgery! Little did we know it would not be her last. Day nine post-surgery, Laura went into sudden cardiac arrest and required 90 minutes of CPR. She was placed on external life support and remained dependent on it for five days. As first-time parents you do your best to prepare yourself for the changes that will occur in your life after your child is born, but we never could have anticipated just how much our lives would change as we witnessed our brave little girl fight for her life from the moment she came into this world. As we familiarized ourselves with the machines and procedures that were keeping our baby alive, Laura seemed to recover well. A couple weeks went by before a routine monitoring procedure indicated she had reduced heart function. Our fears grew again when a follow-up cardiac cauterization confirmed heart failure. Laura survived her third open-heart surgery and came


Spring 2018

Laura still smiling after her many surgical procedures.

out of it on a mechanical heart assistance device, which she remained on for nine days before beginning her recovery yet again. For two weeks she thrived. We were able to transfer out of the PCICU and into the regular cardiac ward. Only four hours after the transition, Laura endured another sudden cardiac arrest in front of us. We watched helplessly as nurses began CPR on her tiny body and called for help from the code team. After seven agonizingly long minutes of CPR, multiple shocks with a defibrillator, and a couple doses of epinephrine, Laura came back to us screaming. It wasn’t over. On our trip back to the PCICU, Laura would have a third cardiac arrest, this time requiring 30 minutes of CPR. She was placed on external life support again. At this point, Laura was listed for a heart transplant, while a mechanical heart kept her alive. We have a different perspective on anniversaries now. September 11th, 2017, we celebrated Laura’s first birthday. For a long time, we were not sure if she would


see this day. It is the anniversary of her birth, but also the anniversary of her first poke, her first IV, her first NG tube, her first echo, and her first x-rays and ultrasounds. It is a joyous occasion, but also a reminder of some of the darkest moments of our life. We celebrate the day filled with gratitude, but have mixed emotions on the anniversaries that follow; her first time going into cardiac arrest before our eyes, her first open-heart surgery, her first time being hooked up to external life support. Days that we felt powerless and unable to help our daughter, but also days that we feel the deepest appreciation imaginable for the medical teams that assisted her and we celebrate her fierce spirit and will to survive. Days that tested our strength and brought us closer together. Then, there is the anniversary of her heart transplant, January 7th, 2017. In the early hours of the morning, Laura was given the gift of life from another. It was her sixth open-heart surgery. It is the day that our little girl got a second chance at life, but also the day that another family’s world was shattered into pieces. In their grief, a family signed the papers that saved Laura’s life. We are forever thankful for their selfless love that brought light into the darkness that we were facing. Today, Laura is living life to the fullest. When we brought Laura home after the transplant she was unable to hold her head up, but by the time she was six months old she had surpassed all expectations. She flourished with her new, healthy heart and caught up developmentally by the time she reached nine months of age. She is a beautiful, vibrant one and a half year old who brings joy to all those around her. She loves Moana, exploring, and climbing. Her favourite thing in the world is to sit down and read a book. Thanks to the David Foster Foundation, we were able to focus on Laura and each other during this difficult time in our lives. By the time Laura was on the transplant waitlist, we had already been in Edmonton for over two months and finances were becoming a challenge. A.J. was receiving Parents of Critically Ill Children (PCIC) support and I was on maternity leave; we were thankful for these options, but we were operating on less than half of our regular income. As our time at the hospital lengthened, we found it nearly impossible to keep up with our bills back in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, while supporting ourselves in Edmonton, Alberta. The David Foster Foundation helped us navigate a challenging time to reach solutions that worked for our family. We

Only moments after they received the news a heart was available for Laura.

cancelled or delayed optional services while we were away from home and the Foundation took care of the rest, including our student loans, car payments, phone bills, and a few other necessities. We were so thankful to have this help so that we could focus on Laura without stressing about what the state of our home would be upon our return with her. Receiving this support was critical to our family’s well being while Laura was on the transplant waitlist, but also allowed for us to support each other during the transition to post-transplant life back home. For a period of time we were giving Laura medication every two hours, day and night. Having A.J. home during the coordination of medication times made a huge difference to our family's mental and physical health. We are so grateful that the support from the Foundation allowed us to keep our heads above water financially during the transplant process and now we are able to enjoy quality family time together because of it. David Foster Foundation Newsletter



8 LIVES LATER! By becoming a registered organ donor, you may save a life one day.

Go to davidfosterfoundation.com and click “BE AN ORGAN DONOR” to register your consent today . Thank you for your support of the Gift of Life through organ donation. 8

Spring 2018

Did You Know? The David Foster Foundation • Has assisted over 1,100 families. • Was founded in 1986 and became a national charity in 2006. • Has two office locations: Victoria, BC and Toronto, ON. About Organ Donation • One donor can save up to eight lives.* • A single organ donor can improve the quality of life for up to 75 people. • You are six times more likely to need a transplant than you are to become an organ donor.

Ways to consent to donate: 1) Signing health card 2) Signing drivers license 3) Registering online 4) Remember to talk to your family

Organ Donation in Canada • Close to 90% of Canadians are in favour of organ donation, however, only 20% of the population are registered organ donors.* • Even if someone has registered their intent to donate, their family can block donation of their organs after death. • There are approximately 4,500 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant. • About 1,600 people are added to this waitlist each year. • Every year, hundreds of Canadians die while waiting for an organ transplant. • The oldest organ donor in Canada was 90 years old.* • Of the patients on the transplant waitlist, 76% are waiting for a kidney transplant and they will wait for an average of four years. How Organ Donation in Canada Measures Up Globally • The national strategy proposed in 2011 by various organ donation organizations and Canadian Blood Services set a goal of 22 donors per million of the population (dpm). • In 2016 Canada reached 20.9 dpm. • This is an improvement, but far below other countries: Spain - 43.4 dpm United States - 26 dpm *Statistics from The Organ Project, Canadian Blood Services, and Liveon.ca.

Lily, liver transplant recipient, celebrated 3 years post-transplant.

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


WestJet Thanks: From the Heart “Remember to hold close the people that care about you. When you find something you truly love, never take it for granted." —Alyssa Clarke, heart transplant recipient


he David Foster Foundation works hard to keep families together during the life-saving organ transplant process and we are incredibly grateful that our partners and friends at WestJet made that happen for Alyssa and her family through the gift of flight. Alyssa tragically experienced heart failure at 9 years old and was placed on the transplant list. Waiting for nearly two years, Alyssa received her life-saving heart transplant when she was 11 years old. Throughout Alyssa’s transplant journey, WestJet provided the family with flights from their hometown in New Brunswick to Toronto. WestJet’s gift allowed Alyssa’s family to stay together when they needed each other the most. In addition to flights, the David Foster Foundation ensured the family’s day-to-day essentials were covered.

Alyssa and Blake McGrath during a surprise visit to The Bonnie Kilburn Dance Centre.

During the month of February, the David Foster Foundation and WestJet partnered up to help Alyssa say thank you to a community that provided her with kindness, strength, and the support she received during her heart transplant journey. Recording artist and choreographer from So You Think You Can Dance, Blake McGrath, joined the studio to dance with Alyssa’s class. It was a magical afternoon filled with joy, love, and dance. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Please register to become an organ donor today. Watch WestJet Thanks: From the Heart. Thank you Clarke Family, WestJet, Blake McGrath and The Bonnie Kilburn Dance Centre.

WestJetters and Blake McGrath with Alyssa's dance class.

Alyssa in hospital while she waited for her life-saving heart transplant.


Spring 2018


Thanks for the Cuddles, Oak Bay Beach Hotel


he David Foster Foundation has been proud to call the Oak Bay Beach Hotel a community partner for over seven years now. In that time, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel team has demonstrated incredible generosity and a heart-warming commitment to the families that we support.

Britton and her sister spending some quality time together with Ollie Bear.

A portion of the proceeds from every Ollie Bear sold go towards helping the David Foster Foundation’s families on their child’s transplant journey. Thank you to the team at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel for sharing a passion in our cause. We look forward to what we will accomplish together in 2018.

Callum, liver transplant recipient, cuddles his Ollie Bear.


THANKS TO OUR LIFE LEGACY MEMBERS TELUS | Slaight Family Foundation | GAIN Group of Companies Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in Partnership with Catalyst Capital Group Tan Sri Dr . Francis Yeoh | Jim & Sandi Treliving


David Foster Foundation Newsletter


The David Foster Foundation is excited to offer a 4-day luxury opportunity to enjoy beautiful British Columbia with 16-time Grammy Award winner, David Foster.


Vancouver Island Luxury Experience



VILLA EYRIE RESORT | VANCOUVER ISLAND MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT | CULINARY CLASSES GOLFING | FISHING | SHOPPING | SPA | HORSEBACK RIDING | CELEBRITY ENTERTAINMENT For more information and to book your spot, please go to davidfosterfoundation.com. Be one of only 40 couples for this once-in-a-lifetime exclusive and intimate experience!

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