David Foster Foundation 2019 Spring Newsletter

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Spring 2019 Volume 26

CELEBRATE The Gift of Life Rebekah’s Transplant Journey Nate, waiting for a multivisceral transplant, Maymont, SK.

WHAT’S INSIDE Message from the CEO . . . . . . . . . . .

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


Rebekah's Transplant Journey . . . . Message from the Chairman . . . . . .

Message from the Director of Family Relations . . . .

3 Family Meet & Greet in Toronto . . . 6 Organ Donor Awareness . . . . . . . . . . 7 Providing Much-needed Financial Support to Families from Coast to Coast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8 Congratulations David Foster . . . . 10 BC Children's Hospital Visit . . . . . . 11 Thanks to Our Life Legacy Members & Partners . . . . . . . . . .


Save the Date Simply Spectacular . . . . . . . . . . .


212 Henry St., Victoria, BC V9A 3H9 Office: 250.475.1223 Fax: 250.475.1193 Toll Free: 1.877.777.7675


hen Nathan and Sylvia welcomed a baby girl into the world they were met with many medical complications. Through it all, they never gave up on their daughter, Rebekah. Nathan recounts their journey: During the darkest days of Rebekah’s hospitalization, my mind alternated from blank to overdrive. Not much was intentional; distraction nurtured darkness and a feeling of helplessness fostered a desire to think and understand. I felt like I was simply taking a ride that I never wanted to get onto, and it was drowning me. Rebekah was diagnosed with congenital heart disease when my wife, Sylvia, was 20 weeks pregnant. After meeting the cardiologist, I remember getting lost and crying as we wandered through the halls of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. I knew that our lives would be forever changed by what we were about to go through. Sylvia and I mustered as much strength as we could and began preparing for our little girl’s arrival. Rebekah was born on November 7th, 2017. She waited a few moments after she was born to take her first breath.

PROFILE Rebekah Age: 1.5 years old Transplant: Liver Transplant date: May 7, 2018 Home: Petawawa, ON

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Rebekah, liver transplant recipient with her father, Nathan.

Message from the Chairman Did you know that 90% of Canadians support organ and tissue donation, but only 20% are registered? Did you know that you can save up to 8 lives if you are a registered organ donor? I know you have heard me say this many times before. This is a startling statistic that shows the heart of Canadians, but the lack of action by registering their intentions. This March, I was humbled to receive the JUNOS Humanitarian Award which highlighted my philanthropic work, but more importantly, the David Foster Foundation and our work with families who have children needing major organ transplants. I share this award with all Canadians that have registered to be an organ donor, and the multitude of people whose organs have saved countless lives because of their selfless act of registering as an organ donor. April is organ donor awareness month and we are working hard to build upon this important mission to educate and raise awareness about the importance of becoming a registered organ donor in both Canada and the United States. If there were more registered donors, many of the families we support would not need to be away from their homes and community for a prolonged time while their child waits for a life-saving organ transplant. It’s a harsh reality when there are over 4,500 Canadians and 115,000 Americans waiting for a second chance. We can change that statistic today! Join me in making a difference and visit davidfosterfoundation.com to learn more about organ donation and how you can leave a life legacy and register today!


David Foster Founder and Chairman

Message from the CEO 2019 has kicked off to a great start! It was an honour to watch David receive the Humanitarian Award from The JUNO Awards this past March in London, ON. Earlier in the year, we also had the privilege of meeting three very special families in Toronto. It was wonderful to meet these families, but I have to say I was in awe of 11-year-old Tanika, who received a double-lung transplant in 2016, unfortunately lost a leg from the knee down due to an infection and has been relisted for a second double-lung transplant. Tanika has been through more in her 11 years of life than many go through in their entire lifetime. Despite the challenges, Tanika remains so full of life with an incredible attitude that is so positive and inspiring. It was a true blessing to spend time with this amazing young survivor. To ensure we can continue supporting families like Tanika's, this July we are looking forward to returning to the Villa Eyrie Resort for our second Simply Spectacular Experience on Vancouver Island fundraising event, where we will host donors from all around the world and showcase the important work the David Foster Foundation does. April is organ donor awareness month and I encourage you to talk to your loved ones about the importance of becoming a registered organ and tissue donor. Make the decision to leave a life legacy tomorrow. Register today at davidfosterfoundation.com


Michael Ravenhill Chief Executive Officer


Spring 2019


Message from the SVP, Fund Development Each year during this time, I take the opportunity to ask our readers to consider making a donation to the David Foster Foundation. This year is an exception. Imagine me, the SVP of Fund Development, whose single job is to raise money in support of families across Canada who have a child going through the lifesaving organ transplant process, not asking you for a donation. Today, instead of asking, I am thanking. Before the David Foster Foundation existed, up to 85% of families going through the pediatric organ transplant process, would end up bankrupt and/or divorced. Together we are creating more tomorrows for well over 1,200 families during a most dramatic and most difficult time. Similar to the name of our David Foster Foundation newsletter, today we CELEBRATE. On behalf of all our families‌ THANK YOU!


John Danson SVP, Fund Development

Message from the Director of Family Relations This quarter I am excited to share a Foundation milestone with you. Recently the Foundation assisted our 1,200th family! We are so proud to have stood alongside all these families during their transplant journeys and offered our support to help alleviate the financial stress they faced. Each year the number of families the Foundation assists in the twelve-month period grows, and we look forward to sharing more milestones with you. This quarter is also special because April is National Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness Month. Falling in the middle of spring, a time of renewal and growth, it is a wonderful month to reflect on the importance of organ donation. Without the organ donors who chose to give the gift of life, many of the families the Foundation assisted would not get to welcome Spring in with their children this year. In 2018, 56 of the children that the Foundation assisted received their life-saving organ transplant. This could not have happened without their organ donors choosing to give the gift of life and letting their loved ones know about their choice. By registering as an organ donor, you can save a life.


Aleea Dahinden Director of Family Relations

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


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“We gathered friends and family together at the hospital and prepared to say goodbye. She had other plans though. She’s strong. She pulled through.” was backing up into her lungs. She needed a lot of meds to control her blood pressure and machines to help her breath. Both her heart and liver were failing. Shortly before Christmas it was decided that she would undergo major open-heart surgery in January or sooner if she continued to decline. Then the worst thing happened. Aggressive septic shock set in one week before her scheduled heart surgery. Rebekah was on the maximum dose of lifesaving drugs and still barely holding on. In many cases, septic shock is fatal for previously healthy children and she was medically fragile to begin with. We gathered friends and family together at the hospital and prepared to say goodbye. She had other plans though. She’s strong. She pulled through.

Rebekah in hospital waiting for transplant.

Time has never moved slower nor have I ever felt such relief as when I heard her first cry. CHEO had a resuscitation and neonatal transport team ready for her and she needed them. Sylvia said goodbye to the daughter she had just given birth to and I went with Rebekah from Ottawa General to the NICU at CHEO. What came next was a whirlwind. At first cardiologists were very encouraged by her echocardiogram and we started to hope we could take her home. Then bloodwork and imaging revealed a serious liver problem, biliary atresia. No gallbladder or attachment from the liver to the intestines meant that her liver was becoming congested and beginning to fail. The pediatric general surgeons performed a complicated and daring procedure to try to buy time for her to grow before receiving a liver transplant, but they were unsuccessful. As far as her heart goes, the initial encouragement was fading. The right side of her heart was too big and fluid


Spring 2019

About two weeks after septic shock, Rebekah had openheart surgery on February 6th, 2018. Recovery was almost as difficult to watch as septic shock; however, it went faster than expected and she was smiling within a few weeks. Her eyes and skin remained deep yellow, abdomen distended and firm to the touch, and her liver function was decreasing, but she still found time to smile, even at four months old. Towards the end of February, it was decided that Rebekah would be transported by air to SickKids Hospital in Toronto to be assessed for a liver transplant. On February 27th she took her first breaths of outside air with a smidgen of diesel exhaust from the ambulance. I remember landing in Toronto and not having a place to stay. For the first few hours it was the least of my concerns. I just wanted to make sure that all of the important information was conveyed to Rebekah’s new care providers. That first night I passed out exhausted on a bench in the NICU waiting room. Sylvia and I took turns staying in Toronto at the Ronald McDonald House and looking after our other children in Petawawa, Ontario. Eventually, I had to return to work and would drive with the kids to see Sylvia and Rebekah on the weekend.


“The funding we received helped alleviate much of this pressure. It also helped us know that we weren’t completely on our own. There are people who care. We made it through together.”

The first time Rebekah laid on grass.

Both Sylvia and I applied to donate part of our liver to Rebekah. Sylvia was screened first and was a perfect match. On May 7th both my wife and daughter underwent major liver surgery, Sylvia at Toronto General, Rebekah at SickKids. That was a very hard day.

gathered around us to encourage us and provide for our physical needs during the hardest trial of our life. During the times my mind was in overdrive, one of the things I worried about was how we would afford all the additional expenses associated with supporting Rebekah. The funding we received helped alleviate much of this pressure. It also helped us know that we weren’t completely on our own. There are people who care. We made it through together.

Both surgeries went extremely well. It was remarkable how quickly Rebekah’s colour returned to normal. Recovery was a long process but every day she smiled more, ate more, and showed us more of the wonderful personality that had been suppressed by the severe abdominal pain that she had suffered as a result of liver disease. In the first week of June, Sylvia gave me the best surprise anyone could ever wish for. She brought Rebekah home for good. Seven months of hospitalization finally ended. Over the next weeks and months Rebekah needed less and less medication and ate more and more on her own. By mid-summer she was meeting all of her developmental milestones. By Christmas she was standing on her own. In February of this year, she took her first steps. In the craziness of life, I sometimes take for granted the incredible journey that we’ve been on as a family. We went through something real and challenging but we didn’t so on our own. We could not have. Many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers literally saved Rebekah's life on more than one occasion. As for us, friends, family, volunteers, and charitable organizations like the David Foster Foundation

Rebekah (left) with her siblings, happy at home.

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


Family Meet and Greet in Toronto

David listens to Tanika as she talks about her double-lung transplant journey.


n February, David Foster took the opportunity to meet with three families who were supported by the David Foster Foundation while they received their life-saving organ transplant. David spent time with the families, and learned more about their struggles and successes through their transplant journeys.

Each family had a unique story to share with David. Rosie's family was separated while she spent the first four months of life at SickKids Hospital waiting for her lifesaving heart transplant. Rahmat, an 11-year-old kidney transplant recipient, recieved a living donation from his mother, Faye. Tanika who is also 11 years old, received her first double-lung transplant in 2016 and is now waiting for her second double-lung transplant.

David and Rahmat, kidney transplant recipient.

The Foundation was able to financially assist each of these families through their transplant journeys with household and transplant specific costs so that the families could focus on caring for their children instead of their financial stability.

“We are the only piece of good news in what is the worst day of any parent’s life,” said Foster. “We provide financial support for families so that can they support their children at an extremely difficult time.”


Spring 2019

David and the Audia family celebrate the family returning home and Rosie receiving a heart transplant.


APRIL is National Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Month

Time to #GETVOCAL about organ donation and registration FACTS ABOUT ORGAN DONATION

90% of Canadians

More than 4,500 Canadians

support organ & tissue donation, but only 20% have registered.

are waiting for an organ transplant. Many of them are children.

Almost 300 Canadians die each year waiting for an organ transplant.

1 donor can save up to 8 lives & improve the quality of life for up to 75 people

Be someone's hero by registering to be an organ donor today. It only takes a few minutes to #GETVOCAL “I’ll be the hero you’re dreaming of.” – Glory of Love, David Foster

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Visit davidfosterfoundation.com

Providing Much-needed Financial Support

Khai Grand Prairie, AB Multivisceral Transplant

Lily Edmonton, AB Liver Transplant

Jayden Winnipeg, MB Heart Transplant

Piper Winnipeg, MB Liver Transplant

YUKON NORTHWEST TERRITORY Logan Prince George, BC Heart Transplant





Evanne Victoria, BC 2X Heart Transplant

Coen Victoria, BC Kidney Transplant


Spring 2019

Ryker Surrey, BC Kidney Transplant

Aidyn Langley, BC Kidney Transplant


Nate - Maymont, SK Waiting for a multivisceral transplant

to Families from Coast to Coast

Rosalie Severn, ON Heart Transplant

Erin Toronto, ON Liver Transplant

Rebekah Petawawa, ON Liver Transplant

Charlie Alma, QC Liver Transplant

Élissa St-Denis de Brompton, QC Heart Transplant





Ella Kingston, ON Liver Transplant

Alyssa Williamsburg, NB Heart Transplant

Isla Kentville, NS Liver Transplant

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


Congratulations David Foster!


e are delighted to congratulate our Founder and Chairman, David Foster, on receiving the 2019 Humanitarian Award at the 48th JUNO Awards on March 17 in London, ON. Each year, a Canadian artist or industry leader is presented with this esteemed award that recognizes humanitarian efforts in Canada and on a global scale. David is being recognized for his founding and continued commitment to the David Foster Foundation, as well as his support of hundreds of other charities.

David Foster, Michael Buble, and Michael Ravenhill at the gala dinner.

The David Foster Foundation was established after David’s mother requested visit a young girl from his hometown of Victoria, BC, who was at the UCLA Medical Centre waiting for a life-saving liver transplant. Inspired by the visit, David created the Foundation, knowing that he could make a difference and help to save lives. The Foundation has now entered its 33rd year and helped over 1,200 families whose children are going through the organ transplant process. The dedication and vision from David leads the Foundation to encourage and increase organ donor awareness and registration. Michael Bublé made a surprise appearance at the pre-telecast gala dinner and presented the 2019 Humanitarian Award to David Foster. Michael Bublé expressed how he inspired him through his successful career and called him “a man whose heart is as big as the sun.”

Sting and David Foster take the stage to talk about the importance of becoming a registered organ donor.

During The JUNO Awards broadcast, David Foster and Sting took the stage to talk about the importance of organ donation and what the David Foster Foundation does to help families. They encouraged every single Canadian to make a difference and register to be an organ donor. On behalf of the Foundation's Board of Directors, staff, and the countless families you have supported, CONGRATULATIONS on this well-deserved award.

The 48th JUNO Awards in London, ON.


Spring 2019

Michael Bublé expressed how he inspired him through his successful career and called him “a man whose heart is as big as the sun.” www.davidfosterfoundation.com

BC Children's Hospital Visit


n February, Dr. Anne Dipchand, who sits on the Foundation’s Board of Directors as the Director of Medical Relations and Transplant; Michael Ravenhill, the Foundation’s Chief Executive Office; and Aleea Dahinden, the Director of Family Relations, met with transplant team members at BC Children’s Hospital. Meetings like these are an important way that the Foundation shares information on assessment and funding processes, and also allows Foundation and hospital teams to meet face to face. We would like to thank all who attended the meeting at BC Children’s Hospital and look forward to our continued work together.

Aleea Dahinden, Director of Family Relations, presents to BC Children's Hospital transplant team 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 | Jim & Sandi Treliving | Parq Vancouver




David Foster Foundation Newsletter


S AV E T H E DAT E! The David Foster Foundation is excited to once again offer a 4-day luxury experience with 16-time Grammy Award winner, David Foster.

Simply Spectacular E X PE R I E NC E





VILLA EYRIE RESORT | VANCOUVER ISLAND MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT | CULINARY CLASSES GOLFING | FISHING | SHOPPING | SPA | 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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