David Foster Foundation 2022 Fall Newstter

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FALL 2022 | VOLUME 38

Nathaniel's Transplant Journey 1

Message from the Chairman 2

Message from the CEO 2

Message from the SVP, 3 Fund Development

Message from the Director 3 of Family Relations

Nathaniel's Transplant Journey



Nathanielwith his living donor, Aunt Becky, his mom, Tessa, and dad, Herman

Nathaniel’s Transplant Journey



Tessa and Herman’s son Nathaniel was born a month premature weighing only 4.3lbs. Due to his tiny size and suspected medical needs, he had to stay in the hospital for forty-two days. Every single day his mother, Tessa would drive to visit him and stay at home only to sleep. Little did the family know that this was just the beginning of his medical journey. This is their family’s transplant experience in their own words: Initially, we knew there was a medical complexity with Nathaniel and thought a simple procedure or surgery would resolve all issues, but it was much bigger than that. In October 2019, we found out that he had a genetic disorder and was diagnosed with Alagille Syndrome, a rare genetic mutation that affected his heart, kidney, spine, eyes, and severely impacted his liver. During his first year of life, Nathaniel barely grew and was said to be experiencing failure to thrive by his medical team. He was extremely jaundiced, unable to absorb any fat, was experiencing severe pruritus (itchy skin), and his liver was just not functioning anymore.

Nathaniel had to take multiple medications; at least one medication every two hours and was given special formula that tasted and smelled terrible. At the age of six months, Nathaniel started eating solids and was doing great until nine months old.

Cares for Kids 6 15th Anniversary Summer of Smiles Recap 7 Living Donor Circle of Excellence 8 Introducing Cam Tait 10 Partner Spotlight: 11 Joan and Paul Waechter Thank You to All Our Partners 11 Did You Know? 12 212 HENRY ST., VICTORIA, BC V9A 3H9 OFFICE: 250.475.1223 FAX: 250.475.1193 TOLL FREE: 1.877.777.7675 DAVIDFOSTERFOUNDATION.COM CELEBRATE the Gift of Life

Sharing Smiles for Miles

Message from the Chairman

Wow – it’s hard to believe another summer has come and gone! Highlighted in this newsletter on page 7 are all the children that the Foundation featured in our 2022 Summer of Smiles campaign. This campaign was created to share the smiling faces of a few of the children whose families our Foundation has supported because there is nothing like seeing a smiling face of a child, and even more wonderful is hearing the laughter of a child! As a new father once again, I can attest to that.

The strength and bravery of the transplant children that we assist inspire me every day. To see them smiling despite the difficult roads they have travelled down, motivates me to continue to help bring the Foundation to new heights so that we can continue to assist Canadian transplant families for years to come.

Fall Reflections

The demand to support families whose children are going through the life-saving organ transplant process remains, even decades after founding my Foundation over 30 years ago. I feel very fortunate for the support of our many generous donors and am proud to be a small part of such a generous group of people working to better such a worthy cause.

Together we are making a difference and I hope that as we continue to share the many beautiful transplant children’s smiles we can inspire others to join us in our mission to create a greater awareness of the need to become a registered organ and tissue donor.

Message from the Chief Executive Office

Fall is a season of change. The trees are turning colour, the weather starts to get colder, and daylight becomes shorter. However, with change comes opportunity. Recently I have found myself thinking of the many Autumns I have experienced in my life, most recently those that have come and passed since my two daughters were born in 1994 and 1996, and the many memories my family has enjoyed.

Every fall, my wife and I would shop for school supplies and watch proudly as they attended their first days of kindergarten all the way to their first days of senior year. Like most children, my daughters excitedly awaited their returns to school. More recently I had the opportunity to watch my grandson

excitedly anticipate his first day of preschool.

Reflecting on this year, I think of all the children who need transplants and their families. As a parent, I can empathize with how hard it must be for transplant parents to not be able to watch their children reunite with their friends instead they sit bedside with them as they fight for their lives in a hospital room.

It is at times like this that I truly appreciate all of the support the Foundation’s donors provide. With your generous support we are able to provide transplant families with the muchneeded financial support to help them through one of their most stressful times and hopefully grant them the opportunity to witness the

beautiful changing of seasons and the new opportunities that change brings.

With great appreciation,

David Foster Foundation

Honourary Colonel Canadian Armed Forces

410 Tactical Fighter Squadron

Multi-visceral transplant recipient, Khia with his mother, Julia. Mike and David at ‘A Night On Broadway’ at Hotel X in Toronto, ON.
2 Fall 2022

Every Dollar Counts — The Act of Giving

Message from SVP, Fund Development

Typically, most of us associate a large dollar donation with the term philanthropy. To me, philanthropy is not about the amount you donate to a worthy not-for-profit cause, but rather the act of giving. First and foremost, there are thousands of worthy causes.

Often when I approach a potential donor for a donation to the Foundation, they mention one of two things: they have existing commitments to another charity, or two, they share that they simply can’t afford to donate an amount that they feel is typically donated to our Foundation.

You may consider the following harsh, perhaps insensitive on my part, but I don’t accept the second response, as the amount is not as important as the act itself.

For many, on a relative basis, as the circumstance dictates, a $10.00 donation is absolutely within the definition of the act of giving — being philanthropic.

Hospital foundations across the country, especially the Children Hospitals, couldn’t survive without the millions of dollars they receive in total on an annual basis, from children's lemonade stands and senior sewing circles. The pennies from these philanthropists, my heroes, become dollars.

I have an idea, a challenge. Due to the global pandemic, we have been all facing over the past couple of years, most of us have hoarded “change,” especially since most merchants won’t accept it. Imagine, with little effort, how much we all could raise for good causes. If we all roll the change we have at home, take it to our respective banks, and each of us donates to our favourite charity — an impact would be made

In short, today I hope you will go, not literally, but figuratively, to your piggy banks and consider the act of

Celebrating Milestones

Message from Director of Family Relations

This summer, five children whose families the Foundation was supporting received life-saving organ transplants. Two children received liver transplants; one was from a deceased organ donor and the other was donated by the child’s adult sibling. The other three children received a heart transplant, a multivisceral transplant, and the third’s mother was their living kidney donor. These five children and their families all went through the entire transplant process — from transplant assessment, to waiting for transplant, to anxiously hoping to hear from their child’s surgeon that the transplant was successful. In the case of the living donor transplants, the families watched as not only their child was wheeled

away to the operating room but their child’s sister and mother as well.

Now as most children return to school, these families will be caring for the children post-transplant. Due to medical needs post-transplant like frequent follow-up appointments and regimented medication schedules, these five kids will likely not be attending school this month. Instead of celebrating a typical first day back to school milestone, these parents will be celebrating the milestone of their child receiving their much-needed transplant.

Despite what these families have gone through this summer, their tenacity continues into this new season. The Foundation is so proud to stand alongside these families and with the

How to make a donation to the Foundation:

1. Mail your cheques to David Foster Foundation, 212 Henry Street, Victoria BC V9A 3H9

2. Please call 1-877-777-7675

3. Online through PayPal at davidfosterfoundation.com

4. Electronic funds transfer— please email info@davidfosterfoundation.com

giving, and philanthropy, no matter the amount.

help of our donors and sponsors, be able to offer even a little relief from the stress these families have been facing.

Sincerely, Aleea Dahinden Director of Family Relations

Bella, Kyla, and Amy from Bella Brave with Aleea and Alicia from DFF at Hotel X Toronto.
The David Foster Foundation

At nine months he had a regression for oral stimulation and started to have a very strong oral aversion. He would not eat anything, wouldn’t drink out of the bottle and wouldn’t even let anything close to his mouth. He would constantly vomit and would not keep anything down. We were told that having a failing liver makes you feel like you have the flu 24 hours a day — I can’t imagine how he was feeling at such a young age. Since he wasn’t able to keep any food down, he barely weighed over 14.3lbs on his first birthday.

Due to Nathaniel’s declining health, we had to fly out to Toronto SickKids Hospital to have a consultation and assessment to see if our son was an eligible candidate for transplant and to confirm the rare genetic disease. We were grateful to have the help and support from David Foster Foundation and WestJet to make our trip successful and safe.

Once we found out that he required a transplant soon, both of us got tested to see if we were matches. Unfortunately, neither of us were a match and we had to look for other alternatives. His aunt, Becky, knew that their blood type matched so she got tested and she was the perfect match for a living donor. She worked to get all her medical clearances done and it did take a while as it was at the beginning of the pandemic. Once everything was checked off the list and Nathaniel had all his live vaccinations, we were able to book the transplant date for August 20th, 2020.

While we were waiting, Nathaniel spiked a fever and was admitted to BC Children’s hospital in late June 2020. He was experiencing a severe UTI and it was causing him to have a fever. He needed to be at the hospital every day receiving antibiotics. During that time the doctors from BC Children’s and SickKids were discussing how to get him healthy enough for his transplant so they decided to have a hospital transfer from BC Children’s to SickKids for his ongoing treatment.

Since Nathaniel arrived earlier in Toronto, his aunt and grandmother arrived just a couple of weeks prior to the transplant for medical testing. We were grateful that his grandmother was there so she could take care of Aunt Becky post-transplant.

We could finally see Nathaniel in PICU. He was laying there with multiple lines, wires, and tubes all attached to him. We couldn't help but cry tears of joy that his transplant went well.

Above: Nathaniel before his liver transplant. Below: Nathaniel at SickKids Hospital in Toronto just after his liver transplant.
4 Fall 2022

While at SickKids, they did resolve his UTI issue, however, his weight was still too low for transplant, so they gave him IV Lipids to get him to gain weight. On the day of the transplant, he weighed 16.8lbs.

His transplant took 11 hours. We paced back and forth constantly. We were extremely nervous, scared, anxious, and just a mix of emotions. Every time someone walked out of the surgery door, we would peep to see and hope that it was his surgeon walking through the door. While Nathaniel was in surgery, his Aunt Becky was in the general hospital right across the street. The entire family kept them in mind during the entire day. To hear that Aunt Becky’s surgery went well, we felt some relief.

After 11 hours Nathaniel’s transplant was complete. We had to wait another couple of hours until we could finally see Nathaniel in PICU. He was laying there with multiple lines, wires, and tubes all attached to him. We couldn’t help but cry tears of joy that his transplant went well.

Post-transplant, it took him only three days to try to move and stand in his crib. After two weeks, when he was healthy enough, we were transferred back to BC Children’s Hospital. On the flight back, Nathaniel didn’t have a seat booked for him to be in his baby car seat. WestJet was nice and accommodating to provide an empty seat beside his mother so he could sit on his own to be more comfortable while we were in the air.

Once we landed in Vancouver, we were transported to BC Children’s Hospital to continue IV Treatment for another three weeks. During that time, Nathaniel recovered very well and was able to get home passes during the daytime between IV Treatments so he could play at home in comfort. Nathaniel recovered very well from his liver transplant. He has grown so much within his one-year post-transplant. Although his transplant went well, there are some things transplant-related to follow up on such as his portal vein stenosis in his liver, bloodwork, and liver enzymes and he requires weekly visits to Children’s Hospital. Nathaniel requires a G-Tube for all his medications and feed – he has an extreme oral aversion and will not take anything by mouth. With the G-Tube feeds, he requires a pump and syringes. He also has a PIC line in his arm for all bloodwork since his veins are too narrow to draw blood peripherally.

Despite the medical challenges, Nathaniel is a very happy boy who loves the outdoors! We love to go hiking, running, climbing, and spend the majority of our days outside rain or shine! He also loves reading and could flip the pages all day and night. He also loves Kobie, our family dog and they play together every day.

Above: Nathaniel with his living liver donor, his aunt Becky and mom, Tessa. Below: Nathaniel enjoying being outside after his liver transplant.

Our friends at WestJet have donated over 100,000 flights to their charitable partners through the WestJet Cares for Kids program and we are so proud to be a long-standing partner!

Cares for Kids 15 YEARS! Thankyou!

We are so grateful that the David Foster Foundation and WestJet continue a wonderful partnership working side-by-side to support families requiring travel during their transplant journey.

To show our appreciation and celebrate WestJet’s recent 25th anniversary and their Cares for Kids' 15th anniversary, we are sharing a special video on YouTube celebrating our wonderful partnership. You can find the video on our YouTube channel: DavidFosterFoundation.

WestJet provided transportation for Nathaniel to safely get to his transplant and appointments. David Foster in Calgary, Alberta with WestJet flight attendants. Curtis with his brother, Eli, and David Foster visiting the WestJet campus.
6 Fall 2022

This summer, the David Foster Foundation featured a handful of extraordinary children for the Summer of Smiles campaign. Each Saturday, a new smile was featured highlighting one of these special children who have endured, or are going through, the life-saving organ transplant process!

These extraordinary smiles were celebrated on the David Foster Foundation’s social media channels and across all of Allvision’s Canadian LED billboards found in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver reaching millions of daily impressions.

Thank you to all of the families who lent their beautiful smiles this past summer to bring joy and Allvision for sharing them across the country!



The Canadian Society of Transplantation and the David Foster Foundation are encouraging companies to provide better financial support to living organ donors.

The Living Donor Circle of Excellence recognizes companies that commit to providing a minimum of 80% of an employee’s salary to them for a minimum of four weeks if they choose to donate one of their kidneys or a part of their liver.

8 Fall 2022
2,239 kidney and liver transplants were performed in Canada in 2018555 Canadian living donors in 2018 15 living donors per 1 million population in Canada


The financial strain caused by loss of wages is a major barrier that many potential living organ donors face. The Circle of Excellence is an initiative from the American Society of Transplant and is being supported and promoted within Canada.

Through encouragement, it is hoped that more Canadian companies will join The Circle and demonstrate their

commitment to supporting employees who choose to give the gift of life.

To learn more about the program and how your organization can be a part of The Circle, please visit davidfosterfoundation.com

The David Foster Foundation Nathaniel with his aunt and living liver donor, Becky.Ben with is father and living liver donor, Lester. Liorah with her mother and living liver donor, Darline. Isla with her mother and living liver donor, Katie.

Introducing Cam Tait

Wayne Gretzky waved to reporters from some of the biggest media outlets — the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Philadelphia Enquirer, and three major television networks — and singled out me.

“Cam, got your tape recorder?” He asked that 1989 February Friday night. “Got a story for you.”

Gretzky, who had just led the Los Angeles Kings to a win at The Forum, clearly had another goal. He knew I was an Edmonton Journal columnist. “A good friend of mine from Edmonton just phoned me,” he said pulling up a freshly tied tie. “His girlfriend needs an organ transplant.

“Can you help spread the word?”

Sorry, dear reader, for the 101-lead paragraph — wordy, some of my most respected newspaper editors would growl — but I am going to connect the dots.

Three years earlier from that post-game interview with Gretzky, I met David Foster. It was 1986, in the Edmonton Country Club banquet room’s northeast corner. Gretzky, an Edmonton Oilers star, hosted a charity golf gathering featuring some of North America’s biggest names— not only in sports, but from the entertainment world. That was the same year the David Foster Foundation started providing funding for children who required life-saving organ transplants.

David and I clicked: a friendship started. As a reporter, I was in the midst of covering Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour. David and his friend John Parr wrote the theme for the Hansen project. (We sat together at Hansen’s 1987 October wedding in Vancouver.)

The David Foster Foundation has a deep personal connection with me; I know the greatness of parents getting help when they need it the most: at birth, I went without breathing on my own for 45 minutes… but, alas, I got rid of the hiccups!

Cerebral palsy was caused. For the first five years of my life — the brain damage caused by lack of oxygen at birth — caused both hands to be clenched tightly shut; I could not sit up without support; I did not have any balance; I could not physically close my mouth.

Then my two heroes — Mom Thelma and Dad Harold — embraced a brand-new treatment for brain-injured kids in 1965 out of Philadelphia.

We had 116 volunteers coming to our Edmonton 87th Avenue three-bedroom bungalow in teams of three. For five minutes. Eight times a day. From 1965 to 1969.

They put me on a padded table and put me through the motions of a young child crawling, something I never was able to do. The exercises and patterns trained the undamaged brain cells to take over the damaged cells. After five years and more than 14,000 patterns, we stopped. But here’s what I started: to open my hands, to stand on my legs and feet for over a minute, not to walk but use a wheelchair without falling over on my side; and I began to be able to talk. My wife of 27 years says I haven’t shut up since!

I am a husband, a father, a grandfather, a best-selling author, an award-winning journalist, and a holder of two honourary university degrees.

But — hark! — here’s what I am most proud of: I am a Canadian taxpayer, not a tax recipient.

Why? Two parents had a dream and over 100 people who bought into that dream, when they needed it the most. SO WHY ME now? Why do I hold the DFF so dear? And why — I have never needed an organ transplant — should I ask you, dear reader, to share your time reading my stuff? Fair point. But… I know how important it is for parents of kids who need help. It changed my life. Over the four decades in the daily newspaper business, I hope, I have learned not only to tell stories.

But to triumphantly celebrate them.

We’re going to talk to families, to past recipients, to donors, to medical experts and more.

We’re going to also promote how selfless and humanitarian it is to sign a donor card.

So: please join us.

Wayne Gretzky knows how important organ transplants are. David Foster brings it home.

Let’s all welcome the chance to share a common ‘goal’ with the great ones.

Cam Tait facing off with Wayne Gretzky.
10 Fall 2022

Partner Spotlight: Joan and Paul Waechter

Joan and Paul Waechter are friends and enthusiastic supporters of the David Foster Foundation. We are thrilled to welcome them as new Life Legacy Members as a result of their recent incredibly generous $1 million donation in support of 100 families going through the pediatric organ transplant process.

Joan and Paul are both extremely giving within the greater Dufferin area, which is their local community, and throughout Canada. Joan has been a member of Headwaters Healthcare Care Foundation in Ontario for 14 years and Chairs the incredibly successful annual Headwaters Golf Classic. The Headwaters Healthcare Centre has recognized and honoured Joan and Paul’s million-dollar donation to their Foundation by naming the newly renovated Welcome Centre after them. In 2017, Joan retired from her family business, Ideal Supply Company, after a 35-year career as VP of Human Resources. In her spare time, Joan is a Founding Director of the Dufferin Community Foundation and a Board Member of the Smilezone Foundation.

Philanthropists, Joan and Paul Waechter..


Life Legacy Members

Jim & Sandi Treliving

Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation

Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in Partnership with Catalyst Capital Group

Kyle MacDonald & John Franklin Jim Pattison

Joan & Paul Waechter

Walter & Maria Schneider

We are thrilled to welcome them as new Life Legacy Members as a result of their recent incredibly generous $1 million donation in support of 100 families going through the pediatric organ transplant process.

National Partners

Cares for Kids

Paul works with The Arctic Research Foundation, a private non-profit organization based in Canada. Federally incorporated in 2011, ARF works with Indigenous and Northern communities, NGOs, government, private corporations, and academia to facilitate scientific research and community initiatives in the Arctic. Two of Paul’s areas of focus within the ARF are building greenhouses with Inuit communities to help facilitate a longer

growing season and therefore have more sustainable produce options, and building solar systems that help maximize the benefits of the limited sun in the arctic.

Philanthropy, both within their home community and across the country, is a quintessential part of Joan and Paul’s lives and the David Foster Foundation is so grateful to have their dedication and support.

Community Partners

The David Foster Foundation

Did you know…

• One organ donor can save up to eight lives and can improve the quality of life for up to 75 people.

• Over 90% of Canadians support organ donation, however, only 32% are registered organ donors.

• Every 30 hours, a Canadian on the transplant waitlist will pass due to an organ not being available.

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 about the importance of becoming a registered organ donor in Canada and the United States.

Heart transplant recipient, Rosie, with her bravery beads. Each bead represents a procedure or test she has undergone, creating a colourful representation of all her medical needs.

Together, we can a difference

To learn more, please visit davidfosterfoundation.com

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