the Gift of Life
SUMMER 2021 | VOLUME 34
th e w aitlist f or a mu
l transplan t.
Briar's Transplant Journey
Message from the Chairman
Message from the CEO
Message from the SVP, Fund Development
Message from the Director of Family Relations
Briar's Transplant Journey Continued
was born. Upon returning home Briar began to throw up. Only nine
Summer of Smiles
hours after leaving the hospital, the family was back in the emergency
Family Takeovers: Jen + Nate
clinic. Shortly after arriving, the medical team confirmed the family’s
What Does WestJet Mean to Nathaniel
Providing Support to Families from Coast to Coast
Briar’s Transplant Journey Thirty-six hours after Briar was born her parents, Morgan and Ryan, took her home to their small town in Saskatchewan. She had still not had any bowel movement and both parents thought that was odd as Briar was their second
Briar TRANSPLANT NEEDED: MULTIVISCERAL HOME: HANLEY, SK
child and this had not happened when Addilyn
fears. Briar was very sick. Morgan and Ryan spent the next four months bringing Briar to and from medical appointments, x-rays and tests. This was a challenging
The Foundation Welcomes DeerFields Clinic as Community Sponsor
Partner Spotlight: Schnitzer Steel
Thank You to All Our Partners
other organs in the body. Then she was misdiagnosed again with
Donate Life Canada
Hirschsprung disease, a birth defect that causes the muscles in an
time for the family as they worked to balance caring for Briar and Addilyn. Initially, she was misdiagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and
infant’s bowel to lose their ability to move stool through the intestines. 212 HENRY ST., VICTORIA, BC V9A 3H9 OFFICE: 250.475.1223 FAX: 250.475.1193 TOLL FREE: 1.877.777.7675 DAVIDFOSTERFOUNDATION.COM
Morgan had been researching constantly and suspected that Briar had Megacystis-Microcolon-Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome (MMIHS). MMIHS is a rare disease that affects the muscles that line the bladder and intestines and is characterized by the impairment of the muscle contractions that move food through the digestive tract and empty the bladder. Briar’s third formal diagnosis is MMIHS. CONTINUES ON PAGE 4
Making a Difference Message from the Chairman
his past year has been challenging in so many ways, but also rewarding. With the arrival of our son this year, I am greatly reminded how a parent will truly do anything for their child. Due to the global pandemic, I have had the opportunity to slow down and enjoy every moment and milestone with our son. These special moments are often missed for our transplant families, who find themselves in hospitals for their first birthdays, Christmas, or witnessing milestones, like a child's first steps. More than ever, I have reflected on the Foundation and how far we have come over the past 35 years. I am grateful that the Foundation is here for families to turn to for financial support and it allows for their primary focus to be on their child through their
transplant journey. Our support allows families to not worry about losing their home or car, paying common household bills, how to pay for food or clothing for their families. This has only been made possible by the amazing support of our financial donors, corporate partners and volunteers, who I am truly grateful for. Even with the challenges we have all faced, I am honoured to welcome our newest Community Partner, DeerFields Clinic, and express my great appreciation for their continued support. Together, we can make a difference by continuing to support transplant families and increase organ donor registration for generations to come. I encourage you to consider supporting our cause by donating funds towards a family’s non-medical expenses or registering your intent to become an organ donor at davidfosterfoundation.com.
Together, we can make a difference by continuing to support transplant families and increase organ donor registration for generations to come.
Let's make a difference this summer.
David Foster Founder and Chairman
Moving Forward Into the Summer Message from the Chief Executive Office
t is wonderful to see that our country and the world is starting to get back to regular living and the opportunity to be with our friends, family, and loved ones again is becoming a reality. However, in reflection of this past year, I have really come to understand and appreciate the stress, concern, and loneliness our Foundation families go through each and every day that their child is going through the transplant process. There is the constant concern of rejection or their child contracting a common cold due to their lowered immune system. There is a continual worry that if their child gets sick while waiting for a transplant, that could send their child into critical condition and affect the ability and eligibility for the child
to have a transplant. If I was to take one thing from this pandemic, it was a valuable reminder of how important relationships are and appreciate every moment we have together. My hope for this summer is that we all can feel more comfortable going out and enjoying the simple things we haven’t had the opportunity to experience in the past year and a half. My hope is also that our transplant families will be able to breathe a little easier knowing that no matter what happens in this world, the David Foster Foundation will ALWAYS be there for ANY family that is in need. I encourage you, your family and your friends to take advantage and
The Foundation will ALWAYS be there for ANY family that is in need.
enjoy the summer ahead of us to the fullest! Now, more than ever, it's time to connect with friends, and create memorable moments together. From my family to yours, have a wonderful summer creating memories!
With sincere appreciation,
Michael Ravenhill Chief Executive Officer
Why the Foundation Needs YOU!
comparative analysis from 2019 to the present. The following is the question I am most often asked, and my response is supported by the numbers. How has COVID-19 affected the number of family requests and total funding along with fundraising efforts? · The stats from pre-COVID 2019 through to May 28, 2021, show the actual numbers are remarkable. The total number of family requests for financial assistance have increased by 44% and the total funding to families has increased by 76%. · The current published statistics from the Canadian Health Institute for health information shows the David Foster Foundation provided financial support to over 25% of families across Canada, who were going through the pediatric organ transplant process. · Due to COVID-19, the sold-out 2020 Toronto Foundation event was
cancelled. There are real uncertainties around holding a fundraising event this year, thus we have moved the date to spring of 2022. Details forthcoming in the fall. In short, we have lost two years of our single most potent vehicle to raise money for families. On behalf of our families, a donation of any denomination would be special and important during these most challenging times. As you know: 1. You will receive a tax receipt for the full amount of your donation. 2. If you would like to support our families and the David Foster Foundation, but have fulfilled your philanthropic commitments for this year, making a commitment now for a donation in 2022 and/or 2023 would greatly assist us in our ongoing future budgeting.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your ongoing support,
John Danson SVP, Fund Development
Cherishing the Little Moments
he Canadian Health Institute for Health Information has yet to release transplant statistics for 2020, but they have recently published statistics for 2019. Over 25% of Canadian families whose child received an organ transplant in 2019 received assistance from the David Foster Foundation. Without the support of our donors, partners, and the families’ social workers that we work closely with, we would not be able to help such a significant percentage of the Canadian pediatric transplant community. Thank you to all the Foundation's supporters. We could not do what we do without you, and we are incredibly grateful for your support. I would also like to share some exciting news. In the coming months the David
Foster Foundation will be sharing some little victories that transplant families are celebrating. Sometimes children can wait years to receive the life-saving organ transplant they need. The stability of each child can go up and down while they wait for, and even after they receive, transplant. Understandably, this can be incredibly stressful on parents. Thus, moments of stability and good health are cherished.
are extra special. Keep an eye on future newsletters and our social accounts for more.
Two families whose daughters are doing well amid their transplant journey are featured on page 6. Maddy and Bella’s parents shared with us some special moments they have recently had, moments that may seem small but when you have a medically complex child all the happy moments
Aleea Dahinden Director of Family Relations
I wish everyone a very happy summer and remember to enjoy all the happy moments—even the small ones.
The David Foster Foundation
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Above: Briar admitted at the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital in Saskatoon, SK. Below: Briar enjoying the sunshine this year.
At the beginning of 2021, shortly after Briar’s diagnosis, Briar, Morgan and Ryan travelled from their home in Saskatchewan to Edmonton for a transplant assessment. The medical team determined she would need a transplant and she was placed on the waitlist for a multivisceral transplant on January 4th. In Briar’s case, this means she has now been waiting over half a year for a kidney, liver, small bowel, and pancreas transplant. The Foundation assisted the family with the cost of accommodation, gas, parking and food for the transplant assessment trip at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. Briar’s medical condition and subsequent need for a transplant has been challenging for the family. They have extra fuel costs, daycare costs for their two-year-old Addilyn, and additional medication costs as some of the prescriptions that Briar needs are not covered by insurance. Ryan has missed a lot of work since Briar was born and Morgan is unable to return to work as she balances being a full-time mother to two young children and Briar’s nurse. Due to COVID-19, the family has been separated from most of their extended family who lives three or more hours away, which Morgan acknowledges has been challenging for everyone.
The family is constantly wondering how they will be able to afford to pay their mortgage and bills that need to be paid regardless of their life circumstances.
Now that the family is at home waiting for a transplant, Morgan explains that the family is constantly wondering how they will be able to afford to pay their mortgage and bills that need to be paid regardless of their life circumstances. On top of financial stress, she says that “every phone call that is received by a private number, an unknown number, or any hospital number immediately makes me start running through questions: Is this the call that is going to change our lives even more than they have already changed? Is everyone ready to drop everything immediately to help us get in gear to go? Where are we going to stay exactly and how much will the expense be? How will the trip work logistically with COVID-19? How long will we have to leave our home empty? Both our children are with each other every day, how are they going to handle being separated for possibly a long time due to COVID-19? How will we be able to handle the transition to an entirely new province where we have no supports?” Currently, Briar is hooked up to a total parenteral nutrition machine for 18 hours a day so she can get the nutrients that she needs. She has adapted to the lines that connect her to the machine and sometimes her parents have to chase her to ensure that she doesn’t pull the lines too hard. Most of her appointments are online or by phone, but the family still makes trips to the hospital as well. Her liver is slowly getting worse amongst other issues due to her lack of mobility. For the rest of her life, she will also have an ileostomy, a surgery that creates a pathway from the lowest part of the small intestine to the abdomen that helps solid waste and gas exit the body without passing through the colon or rectum.”
Above: Briar with her big sister, Addilyn. Below: Briar with mom, Morgan.
This summer, Morgan and Ryan are looking forward to being able to see friends and family outside. They think that Briar will start walking soon, as she currently crawls after everyone in the family and are excited to see her and her sister running around and playing together. Morgan shares that Briar and her sister, Addilyn, have a very special bond and are hilarious together. For now, the family is happy to be at home with each other while they wait for the call to transplant.
The Foundation assisted the family with the cost of accommodation, gas, parking and food.
The David Foster Foundation
L I T T L E V I C TO R I E S A
fter a long hospital stay at SickKids in Toronto, Bella returned to Saskatchewan where her wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation was waiting. Bella had wished for a playhouse of her dreams. What a perfect surprise after a long-term stay in hospital! Bella has been eligible for a wish since her bone marrow transplant for SCID in 2015, and has recently been listed for a bowel transplant in July 2020.
Transplant recipient, Maddy, hard at work typing braille.
Maddy was unable to attend school for six months due to her recovery after transplant. When she returned to school and got back to her studies, she participated in a "braille challenge" which is a yearly event across the country for children with visual impairment. Maddy did so well in the event, she won an award. We are very proud of Maddy for how hard she has worked to achieve her goals!
Above: Bella in her playhouse that she got from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
— Mom, Jess
SUMMER OF SMILES Khai has been doing AMAZING! He is growing and advancing well, along with remaining medically stable. He’s so smart and goofy and still loves being the star of the show around anyone!
— Mom, Julia
Nathan is 2.5 years old and received a lung transplant in June 2019. Nathan and his parents, Crystal and Justin, are excited to spend the summer outside. Nathan is a big fan of the family's backyard and is all smiles in the summer sunshine.
— Parents, Crystal and Justin Multivisceral transplant recipient, Khai Lung transplant recipient, Nathan
Multivisceral transplant recipient, Nate Starycki, with his mom, Jen on the day of Nate's SickKids Hospital discharge.
Liver transplant recipient, Nathaniel, was provided with the ability to travel safely to his transplant and appointments through WestJet.
Family Takeovers: Jen + Nate
What Does WestJet Mean to Nathaniel?
n April 23, 2021, during the week of National Organ and Tissue Donor Donation Week, Jen and Nate Starycki took control of the David Foster Foundation’s social media. Jen had full control of the Foundation’s social media to share Nate’s transplant journey through a series of Instagram stories and posts. The takeover also marked a special day for the Starycki family. After 146 days in the hospital, on April 23, 2021, Nate was discharged from SickKids Hospital. THANK YOU to both Jen and Nate for giving our followers an inside look at your transplant journey and advocating for organ donor registration. Watch Jen and Nate’s takeover on the David Foster Foundation’s Instagram profile highlights and tune into more family takeovers in June and August!
athaniel was born with Alagille Syndrome, a disease that severely affects the liver. Nathaniel flew over 3,300 kms back and forth from Vancouver, British Columbia to Toronto, Ontario for a liver transplant and follow-up appointments. WestJet provided Nathaniel the ability to travel safely during COVID-19 by ensuring he was situated with his family away from other travelers. WestJet went above and beyond by providing Nathaniel his own seat when possible so he could travel more comfortably. WestJet staff from the beginning of the journey to the end, always took the time to chat with Nathaniel’s family and see if there’s anything they needed, and to do anything within their ability to ease the stress of traveling with an immune compromised child. WestJet has provided Nathaniel the opportunity to get the best care he can.
Cares for Kids The David Foster Foundation
Providing Much-needed Financial Support
Evanne Victoria, BC 2X Heart Transplant
Logan Prince George, BC Heart Transplant
Khai Grand Prairie, AB Multivisceral Transplant
Nate Maymont, SK Multivisceral Transplant
to Families from Coast to Coast
Rebekah Petawawa, ON Liver Transplant
Charlie Alma, QC Liver Transplant
Alyssa Williamsburg, NB Heart Transplant
Isla Kentville, NS Liver Transplant
This map showcases the distances that some families must travel for appropriate medical care.
The David Foster Foundation
Helping you take control of your health by way of conventional medicine, naturopathic practices and lifestyle behaviours.
The Foundation Welcomes DeerFields Clinic as a Community Partner
he David Foster Foundation is delighted to welcome DeerFields Clinic as the newest Community Partner. Although, a new Community Partner in 2021, DeerFields Clinic has a long-standing relationship with the David Foster Foundation and has supported through previous partnerships, hosting an event on their distinguished property in 2014, and participating in all fundraising events. DeerFields Clinic is based in the Greater Toronto Area and helps its clients take control of their overall health focusing on living happy, healthy and long lives. Their comprehensive approach incorporates the latest in medical tests, tools and expertise to prevent disease, slow biological ageing, and allow their clients to perform and live better.
In 2014, the David Foster Foundation and DeerFields Clinic teamed up to host an exclusive event behind the gates at DeerField's tranquil property. During the intimate afternoon, David Foster shared some of his most iconic stories and memories with Ben Mulroney on stage. Guests had the opportunity to follow along and experience the inside stories of Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Michael Bublé, Chicago and more. Today, the David Foster Foundation and DeerField's Clinic has teamed up again to make a difference in the lives of Canadian transplant children. Thank you to Jim Wilson, Vivian Roy, and DeerFields Clinic! To learn more about the wonderful work done by DeerFields Clinic, contact Kevin Roy by email: email@example.com, by calling the clinic: 416-253-9769, or visit www.deerfields.ca.
Being invited to get involved with the Foundation has been one of the most gratifying experiences for Vivian and I. Having awareness of the impact the Foundation has, makes us so proud to be associated with their great work. —James D. Wilson
DeerFields Clinic Values • Trustworthiness • Sincerity • Accountability • Integrity • Loyalty
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PARTNERS Life Legacy Members Jim & Sandi Treliving
Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in Partnership with Catalyst Capital Group
Walter & Maria Schneider The David Foster Foundation teamed up with the Victoria Rebels, Used Victoria, and TELUS for a community scrap drive in 2017.
he David Foster Foundation embarked on a very special relationship with Schnitzer Steel in 2013. Since then, after countless scrap drive events and a donation bin set up at their Victoria location, Schnitzer Steel has donated over $300,000! Through multiple different scrap drives and initiatives, Schnitzer Steel has partnered up with RBC and TELUS to fundraise for the David Foster Foundation. Schnitzer Steel has been in business for over 100 years and has locations in both Canada and the United States. The David Foster Foundation is grateful for Jack Sheppard and Schnitzer Steel’s ongoing support and looks forward to exciting new initiatives ahead in 2021.
Learn more about Schnitzer Steel here: schnitzersteel.com
Over the course of the past 12 years, it has been an honour for the team at Schnitzer Steel Industries to support the important work performed by the team at the David Foster Foundation. It is our goal in the upcoming year to expand our partnership by engaging our vast network of metal collection resources to assist in providing additional funding to this incredible organization.
Cares for Kids
—Jack Sheppard, Executive Director, Commercial Operations/Ferrous Sales Schnitzer Steel Industries
The David Foster Foundation
A liver transplant when she was a toddler has given Valerie more than 25 years of excellent health. It also made possible a college degree, a great job, a loving marriage and now the joys of motherhood.