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Fall 2019 Volume 28

CELEBRATE The Gift of Life Khai's Transplant Journey Heart transplant recipient, Brynn McKenna goes to UBC.

WHAT’S INSIDE 1 2 Message from the CEO . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Khai's Transplant Journey . . . . . . . . . Message from the Chairman . . . . . .

Message from the SVP, Fund Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . Message from the Director of Family Relations . . . . .


A Simply Spectacular Event . . . . . .

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2019 Vancouver Island Concours d'Elegance . . . . . . . . . . .


David Foster's TIFF World Premiere . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

9 Brynn McKenna Family Update . 10 New Life Legacy Members . . . . . . 11 Blue Jays Game with WestJet . . . . .

Thanks to Our Life Legacy Members & Partners . . . . . . . . . . Organ Donation Facts . . . . . . . . . . .


n August 2017, Julia Macleod was 15 weeks pregnant with her son, Khai, when she went in for a prenatal ultrasound. At that ultrasound, the medical team told Julia that her baby had gastroschisis, a condition in which the organs are found outside the body, exiting through a hole beside the belly button. This news devastated Julia as Khai’s father passed away while she was pregnant and the thought of losing their baby was her worst fear. On February 10th, 2018 Khai was born and he spent the first 80 days of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit so doctors could repair his gastroschisis and monitor him. In April, Julia and Khai were allowed to return home. Only two months later, Khai’s belly started to swell enormously and become very firm, causing Julia and Khai to be medevaced urgently back to Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital. The medical team there determined that Khai was in end-stage liver failure and would need a transplant. The doctors did not know why Khai’s liver was failing but suspected it may be due to a cyst.

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Message from the Chairman Message from the CEO


magine, 10 years ago I wrote the first welcome letter for the David Foster Foundation’s fall newsletter. In 2009, I had appointed Michael Ravenhill as our first CEO, we had assisted nearly 500 families, and 3,500 people were waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Today, 10 years later, Michael Ravenhill remains in the position, taking the Foundation to new heights every year. We have also doubled the number of families we have assisted and sadly, now 4,500 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. The fact that the number of people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant has increased makes me feel like we still have a lot of work to do for organ donor registration. Did you know it takes two minutes to register to be an organ donor? You can learn more about how to register on our website, The demand to support families whose children are going through the life-saving organ transplant process remains, even 10 years later. I feel very fortunate for the support from our many generous donors and proud to have a Foundation that is able to assist families as they go through the transplant process. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported my Foundation over the past 33 years. You have been instrumental in helping us provide financial assistance to families during a time of crisis. Together, we are making a difference.



OW! What an extraordinary summer we had at the David Foster Foundation. The Simply Spectacular Vancouver Island event welcomed an array of generous donors, proud sponsors, and a hardworking team that made it possible. I am proud and excited to announce we raised $1.4 million for transplant families! Another successful event this summer was the inaugural Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance at the stunning and historic Shawnigan Lake School. This event attracted 300 vehicles and countless spectators. Over $180,000 was raised for both the David Foster Foundation and the Cowichan Hospital District Foundation. Thank you to the GAIN Group for having us be a part of this special event. Due to the generosity of others, the David Foster Foundation can continue supporting families with their non-medical expenses as their child goes through the transplant process. Together, we truly are creating more tomorrows. As summer comes to an end and with fall approaching, Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Every year at this time, I feel it is so important to recognize and appreciate those that make a difference in our lives. Be it family, friends or coworkers, I encourage you to take the time to stop and thank those that have impacted your life in one way or another. I would personally like to sincerely thank our partners, donors, board of directors, staff, and many volunteers who contribute to this cause. We could not do what we do with you! I am fortunate to have worked with many of you for numerous years and I am so proud of everything we have accomplished for our transplant families and organ donor awareness.

With sincere gratitude and appreciation, David Foster Founder and Chairman Michael Ravenhill Chief Executive Officer


Fall 2019

Message from the SVP, Fund Development


s we enter the 4th quarter of 2019, many individuals are focused on organizing their personal finances to minimalize their tax burden. I am able to offer suggestions to help achieve this goal and gain benefits you can share with the Foundation.

If you have publicly traded securities such as mutual funds, bonds, stocks, employee stock options, or similar securities, but are cash shy or have higher than anticipated taxes to pay, there are still opportunities to fulfill your philanthropic wishes while maximizing your after-tax income. The donation of publicly traded securities has gained prominence as a tax-effective way to donate relative to a traditional cash gift. The stock market has been positive over the past few years, but it is not without a hiccup— the dreadful capital gain tax—50% of the gain based on the current market value. Here are a couple of scenarios: 1. Traditional Approach: Sell your securities and donate the cash. The problem with this option is that you must pay taxes based on 50% of the capital gain. 2. Alternative Opportunity: Donate the publicly traded securities to eliminate 100% of the capital gain and receive a charitable tax receipt for 100% of your donation. Sell Securities Donate Securities Donate Cash (In-kind Donation) Market Value $50,000 $50,000 Cost at Purchase $10,000 $10,000 Capital Gain $40,000 $40,000 Taxable Capital Gain at 50% $20,000 $0 Marginal Tax Rate 40% 40% Income Tax Payable $8,000 $0

Message from the Director of Family Relations


ith the start of Autumn comes a new school year for Canadian children. However, this is not the case for most families whose children are in the organ transplant process. While a lucky few children may be able to attend school while waiting for transplant, many others wait in hospital or at home because they are too ill to attend school, or they may be immune-suppressed after receiving their life-saving transplant and not able to be in an environment with many people who could expose them to germs. While the transplant process saves lives, children often miss special moments like the first day back to school, birthdays, and other memorable days. The financial assistance provided to transplant families allows parents the opportunity to create memories with their children who miss participating in milestones other children can. This Thanksgiving will mark another celebratory day spent in the hospital for many transplant families. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the transplant team members, hospital staff and transplant family members for all that they do to make sure our transplant kids are able to celebrate as many special days as possible, both in and out of the hospital.


*Example purposes only. Please consult with your financial advisor.

We hope you will consider making a donation either through traditional methods or publicly traded securities to the Foundation. Your generosity will make an impact on our families. It simply doesn’t get any better than that.

Aleea Dahinden Director of Family Relations


John Danson SVP, Fund Development

David Foster Foundation Newsletter



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“Knowing that there is a Foundation so willing to take that stress off a family during transplant is incredible. Not having that worry is priceless.” Over the next few months, Julia began the process and testing to become Khai’s living liver donor. The medical team worked tirelessly to control Khai's fluid build-up, nausea, dehydration, and nutritional needs while trying to get him to grow as quickly as possible so that Julia’s liver could fit inside his little body. Khai needed to remain an in-patient at the hospital for his medical needs, requiring Julia to stay in Edmonton, away from her home, work, and support networks. Julia remembers her time away from home with difficulty. “Holidays like Christmas and birthdays were the hardest part of being away from home. Being away also took a large toll on my finances and my family’s. Since Khai’s daddy is deceased, my family and I spent most of our savings on needs while being away from home.” Khai waiting for a life-saving transplant at Edmonton Stollery Children's Hospital.

Khai after his life-saving multi-visceral transplant.


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It was during this waiting period that Julia’s social worker told her about the Foundation. The Foundation provided Julia with funding for accommodation, parking passes, groceries, her cell phone bill, and other essential non-medical expenses. “The David Foster Foundation was the only way we survived the financial side of the transplant. Knowing that there is a Foundation so willing to take that stress off a family during transplant is incredible. Not having that worry is priceless. We will forever be grateful for the Foundation,” says Julia. After four months of waiting, on October 15th, Julia was told that Khai had a non-constructible vascular system due to his small size, and that the best decision was to be listed for a rare multi-visceral transplant. In his case, this meant being listed for a liver, small bowel, pancreas, and partial stomach transplant. He was listed that day. Not even twelve hours after being listed for transplant, Julia got a call that there was a donor for Khai. When most transplant recipients wait months or even years for a match, it was incredible that Khai didn’t even wait 24 hours for a perfect match. Thinking back to this time, Julia recalls, “When we got the call that there was a donor, only 12 hours after the surgeons confirmed he


“Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the donor family. They saved not only Khai, but the last piece of his father that I have left.” was going to get a multi-visceral transplant, we were in complete shock and disbelief that a donor had come up so fast. I immediately felt extreme sadness and empathy for the donor family, as I was so close to losing Khai, I could only imagine how they were feeling. I also felt, and still feel, a tiny bit of guilt that the only way Khai could survive was with a donor’s organs. Lastly, extreme gratefulness flooded every inch of me. To this day I still feel just as grateful.” On October 17th, after eleven hours of surgery, the medical team informed Julia and her family that Khai’s transplant was completed successfully. He recovered well and stayed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for only six days post-transplant. For the next four months, Khai remained an in-patient at Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital as he recovered. During this time, the medical team was able to confirm that the cause of liver failure had been a cyst. Khai was discharged on March 10th, 2019, but Julia and Khai had to remain at Ronald McDonald House Edmonton for another month for follow-up appointments. On April 9th, Julia and Khai were elated to return home after nine months spent at the hospital. October 17th, 2019 marks one year post-transplant for Khai. Julia remembers what it was like at this time last year, “We tried our best to stay positive, and always tried to find humour and the bright side in it all. Although it was hard at times, it was the only way we stayed sane through it. It has brought us all closer to each other and has opened our eyes to a whole new outlook on the medical world.” Today Khai is doing well. Julia says,“He always tries to keep us laughing the same way we kept him laughing while he was at his worst. He is doing amazing. We go for bloodwork every two weeks and the results get better each time. He’s growing and catching up from missed time spent in the hospital wonderfully. We still

Post-transplant happiness! Khai and Julia celebrate his first birthday.

have to be very conscious of germs and cannot take him to crowded public places quite yet because he is still very immune suppressed. However, we make the best of each day and he’s the happiest little dude most days.” Reflecting on Khai’s transplant journey, Julia shares one special note of thanks, “Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the donor family. They saved not only Khai, but the last piece of his father that I have left.” To learn more about organ donation, please visit

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


A Simply Spectacular Success!

Cassandra and Michael Ravenhill with the Fisher family (middle) Tamara, Bauer, and Evanne, two-time heart transplant recipient.


his year’s Simply Spectacular event on Vancouver Island raised $1.4 million for transplant families. The four-day event would not have been possible without the support of the Villa Eyrie Resort and GAIN Group. Special thank you to Sylvester Chuang, owner of GAIN Group, and Peter Trzewik, Partner of GAIN Group. The event featured authentic Vancouver Island experiences during the day. In the evening, there were brilliant performances by the Foundation's founder and chairman, David Foster who was joined on stage by his wife and vocal powerhouse, Katharine McPhee, American Idol winner, pop and gospel singer Ruben Studdard, Grammy-nominated, Juno Award winner and Canadian singer songwriter Trevor Guthrie, The Voice finalist and Queen medley aficionado Tony Vincent, and the charming and wildly entertaining acoustic collective The London Essentials. World master mentalist Lior Suchard baffled the audience with mind-bending feats while Ben Mulroney, anchor and producer of CTV’s etalk


Fall 2019

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

and co-host of Your Morning, delighted the crowd as emcee. Each evening’s events took place in a unique location that captured the beauty of Vancouver Island. The event kicked off on July 29th on the terrace at the Villa Eyrie Resort looking over the Olympic Mountains with all guests adorned in jeans and jewels. The second evening’s festivities were located on an enchanted private island off the coast of Sidney, BC. The final evening was an All White with a Touch of Pink themed dinner on the stunning mountaintop at the Villa Eyrie Resort. In special attendance was Evanne Fisher, a two-time heart transplant recipient, and her family who have been assisted by the Foundation since her birth. Thank you to all our donors, sponsors and volunteers for making this event possible. Together, we have made a difference! Check out the Simply Spectacular photo album on our website for all event photos!

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

$1.4 Million for Transplant Families

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

Peter Trzewik, Serena Ho, Katharine McPhee, David Foster, Pauline and Sylvester Chuang on James Island.

The beautiful Villa Eyrie Resort.

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

CTV's etalk and Your Morning's Ben Mulroney.

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

David Foster and Katharine McPhee.

Photo credit: John Ducker

Photo credit: John Ducker

Acoustic collective The London Essentials.

Photo credit: Kevin Cosgrove

Grammy nominated Trevor Guthrie.

Jessica Mulroney and Lior Suchard on James Island.

Queen medley aficionado, Tony Vincent.

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


2019 Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

The David Foster Foundation team was honoured to be a part of the 2019 Vancouver Island Concours d'Elegance.


he inaugural Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance, presented by our Life Legacy Member GAIN Group, was held on the beautiful and historic grounds of Shawnigan Lake School on August 25th. This brand-new event attracted 300 extraordinary vehicles, many of them rare, unique and in spectacular condition.

admire all of the incredible vehicles. Your generous support allows us to continue assisting families whose children are going through the life-saving organ transplant process. To learn more about the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance, please visit

The David Foster Foundation and the Cowichan Hospital District Foundation were privileged to be benefactors. Thanks to the generous support of the event sponsors and donations from spectators, an impressive $180,000 was raised for both foundations. We were fortunate to have two very special volunteers, Evanne and Victoria, join us at this event to speak about organ donation. Evanne is a two-time heart transplant recipient and is alive today because of the gift of life. Victoria has Cystic Fibrosis and one day may need a lifesaving double-lung transplant. We admire them both for their strength and advocacy for organ donation. We want to sincerely thank the GAIN Group, all the sponsors, participants, and attendees who came to


Fall 2019

Victoria, a David Foster Foundation volunteer, talking about the importance of becoming a registered organ donor with visitors.

David Foster's TIFF World Premiere!


eptember 9th, 2019 marked the world premiere of the David Foster: Off the Record documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by Barry Avrich, this insightful profile of our founder and chairman takes an inside look into the life of David Foster over the past half-century. The Foundation hosted 60 VIPs at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto where hundreds of people gathered to view the private screening. Barry Avrich and David Foster introduced the documentary as the straight forward truth as told by David’s sisters, daughters, and legendary artists like Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, and more. Following the documentary premiere was the TIFF Tribute Dinner at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel with iconic attendees like Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix, and Taika Waititi, all who received awards that evening. David received the TIFF Special Tribute with an accompanying performance from vocal powerhouses Pia Toscano and Sheléa Frazier.

David Foster with documentary director, Barry Avrich.

The David Foster: Off the Record documentary will air on CTV November 28th and Crave subscribers can stream the film on November 29th.

Blue Jays Game with WestJet


estJet, our National Partner, kindly gifted the Foundation their private box at Rogers Centre in Toronto so that some of our transplant families could attend a Toronto Blue Jays game. On September 12th, three families watched the Toronto Blue Jays play the Boston Red Sox while sharing their transplant journeys and indulging in tasty ballgame snacks. The night was made even more special when Josiah, a 10-year-old liver transplant recipient, was given a foul ball! The ball was hit between the WestJet booth and the neighbouring booth when the owner of the neighbouring booth caught the ball. He generously handed it to Josiah, who attended the game with his mother and brother. To top it all off, the McCone family, long-time supporters of the Foundation, purchased Toronto Blue Jays jerseys for all the transplant recipients and their siblings who attended the game. It was a wonderful evening for all! Our biggest thanks goes out to WestJet for kindly granting us the opportunity to host the families, and for their unwavering support of the Foundation.

Toronto Blue Jay's mascot, Ace, swung by to say hello to all the special guests in the WestJet box!

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


Brynn McKenna Family Update

Brynn and family at her high school graduation. Congratulations, Brynn!


n October 12th 2001, Brynn McKenna received a heart transplant when she was only 5 months old and the Foundation provided assistance to her family through the process. Today she is a vibrant young lady with a bright future ahead who started at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in September. Carmen, Brynn’s mother, remembers transplant as a time of contradicting emotions. “When we received the call that a heart had been found for Brynn, my overwhelming emotion was despair as I knew that another mother was saying goodbye to her baby. It is almost too big to put into words. Even though this is what we were waiting and praying for, it was very sombre as we knew Brynn was about to endure a huge surgery and we knew the road would be long.


Fall 2019

all organ donors, and support their sister in her journey.

We were, however, so very grateful for the enormity of the gift, for the wisdom of the doctors, and the transplant team.

Brynn’s transplant, almost 18 years later, still leaves me in awe. I am still so deeply humbled and thankful that a little baby and his family gave my daughter her second chance at life — it is incredibly overwhelming, wonderful and sobering all at the same time. Still a whirlwind of emotions! I still look at my daughter as a miracle and while I wish she didn’t have to have a transplant and live with all the medical appointments, I’m so deeply grateful for her life and our journey.

Transplant has changed the trajectory of our lives. While Brynn has to deal with the challenges of her health, it is a journey the whole family goes on. It has made us all aware of the fragility and wonder of life. My children are much more health conscious, are

Thank you to so many friends and family who have helped Brynn on this journey. Thank you to the teams at SickKids, BC Children’s and the Foundation for making our journey survivable! We urge all to register as organ donors.”

David Foster and heart transplant recipient, Brynn McKenna.

New Life Legacy Members


he David Foster Foundation is proud to announce Walter and Maria Schneider as its newest Life Legacy Members. This recognition of a Life Legacy Member acknowledges the generous donors that have committed over $1 million to the Foundation. Walter is the President and Co-founder of RE/MAX INTEGRA Group of Companies and the Foundation is honoured that he has served as a Board member since 2014. Today, Walter and his business partner own and operate the RE/MAX brand in 36 countries worldwide, with over 3,100 operating offices and an agent count of more than 40,000, which equates to nearly 1/3 of the entire RE/MAX network. In 2017, Walter received the Foundation’s Business Leader of the Year Visionary Award at the 30th Anniversary Miracle Gala & Concert in Vancouver, B.C. “It’s not every day you meet someone like Walter Schneider,” says Michael Ravenhill, CEO of the David Foster Foundation. “Walter is more than a national business leader. He’s a global influencer who never forgets his roots – where he came from and the people who helped him get where he is today.” Walter and Maria have been married for over 30 years and reside in Toronto, Ontario. They have three children, Shelby,

Maria, David Foster, and Walter around the piano at their lake house in Muskoka, Ontario.

Conrad, and Simon, and recently welcomed their first grandchild. The Schneider family enjoys their summers together at the family lake house in Muskoka, Ontario. The Schneider family’s generosity and giving philosophy has led The Schneider Family Foundation to support a variety of worthy charities across Canada. “What the Foundation does every day resonates with Maria and me,” said Walter Schneider. “We know that what they do every day makes an impactful change in these children and families’ lives.” “We are very thankful and extremely grateful for Walter and Maria’s continued support and commitment, from sharing time on our board and also reaching this extraordinary financial commitment,” says Michael Ravenhill. “The Foundation would not be where it is today without the support of our Life Legacy Members.”

THANKS TO OUR LIFE LEGACY MEMBERS TELUS | Slaight Family Foundation | GAIN Group Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in Partnership with Catalyst Capital Group Jim Pattison | Walter & Maria Schneider | Jim & Sandi Treliving | Parq Vancouver



David Foster Foundation Newsletter




become an organ donor Go to donor









Be an Organ Donor

Did you know… • One donor can save up to eight lives. • There are currently 4,500 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant. • The oldest organ donor in Canada was over 90 years old. • A single organ donor can improve the quality of life for up to 75 people. • More than 90% of Canadians are in favour of organ donation, however, less than 25% of the population are registered organ donors. • You are more likely to need a transplant than you are to become an organ donor.

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David Foster Foundation 2019 Fall Newsletter