David Foster Foundation 2018 Holiday Newsletter

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Winter 2018 Volume 25

CELEBRATE The Gift of Life

Taya’s Transplant Journey Ryker, kidney transplant recipient participating in the Canadian Transplant Games in 2018.

WHAT’S INSIDE Taya's Transplant Journey . . . . . . . . 1 Message from the Chairman . . . . . 2 Message from the CEO . . . . . . . . . . 3 Message from the SVP, Fund Development . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Message from the Director of Family Relations . . . . 5 How Has the Gift of Life Impacted You? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Introduction to LMA & Siren . . . . 10 Foundation Family Update . . . . . 11 Thanks to Our Life Legacy Members & Partners . . . . . . . . 11 Save the Date Simply Spectacular . . . . . . . . . . 12 212 Henry St., Victoria, BC V9A 3H9 Office: 250.475.1223 Fax: 250.475.1193 Toll Free: 1.877.777.7675 Follow us on:


n August 24, 2007 Jennifer and Trieu welcomed their baby girl, Taya into the world. For the first few weeks everything was wonderful and Jennifer, Trieu and Taryn, Taya’s older sister, were all excited to have Taya at home. The family noticed that Taya had lingering jaundice, but when they sought out medical advice a nurse told them that it was probably caused by the breastmilk. After ten weeks the jaundice had not improved. The family reached out to one of their friends who was a nurse and asked her opinion. Their friend, who was familiar with the signs of liver failure, worried that was the cause of the jaundice and suggested that the family take Taya to emergency right away. As soon as the family arrived at emergency, the medical team looking at Taya knew that something was very wrong.

Taya was diagnosed with biliary atresia, which is a childhood disease that leads to liver failure. At 11 weeks old, Taya underwent a five-hour surgery called the Kasai procedure to prevent further damage to her liver and save her life. Although the surgery was successful, the family knew that Taya would eventually need a liver transplant. PROFILE Taya Vo Age: 11 Transplant: Liver Date: Dec 12, 2017 Home: Calgary, AB Taya, liver transplant recipient

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Message from the Chairman


s 2018 comes to an end, I enjoy reflecting on all the wonderful things we have accomplished in the past year. I could not be prouder of our supportive donors for making such an incredible difference in the lives of so many of our families we support! The dedication and passion of our sponsors, staff, Board of Directors, and our volunteers always amazes me. Our Foundation would not be where we are today without the generous support of our Life Legacy Members, National Partners, and Community Partners. This year, we welcomed Parq Vancouver as a Life Legacy Member and Tom Lee Music as a Community Partner. We are grateful to have two new community-driven companies playing an active role in the success of the David Foster Foundation! This summer, we held an extraordinary 4-day experiential fundraiser in my home town of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It was such a success that we are excited to announce that the second Simply Spectacular 4-Day Experience on Vancouver Island will be taking place July 29 - August 1, 2019 at the Villa Eyrie Resort. We are busy working on the itinerary and entertainment along with some great excursions and daily activities to choose from. This is one event that I am really looking forward to this coming summer. At this time of year, I always encourage people to embrace in the spirit of giving. There are so many ways you can give back over the holidays. Join our conversation online using #DFFGives and tell us how you plan on giving back this holiday season. The greatest gift you can give is the gift of life through organ donation. I want to thank you if you are already a registered organ donor. If not, I encourage you to talk to your family and loved ones about making a decision to become a registered organ donor. For one day your incredible act of kindness could give the greatest gift of all, the gift of life. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Sincerely,

David Foster Founder and Chairman

“Join our conversation at #DFFGives and tell us how you plan on giving back this holiday season.� The Foundation Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting in Muskoka, ON this summer.


Winter 2018

Message from the CEO


eflecting on 2018 makes me incredibly proud of our small and mighty team at the David Foster Foundation. This year, we welcomed a new member to our team, Aleea Dahinden, who has come on as our new Director of Family Relations and is working hard with transplant teams across the country to ensure transplant families have a place to turn when they need it the most. We also welcomed two new communication agencies, Siren Communications and LMA Communications Inc. to our team. We are very excited to work with two reputable Toronto firms as we strive towards a very exciting 2019 for the Foundation. This summer, it was such a pleasure to work with our long-standing team of volunteers on our first ever Simply Spectacular 4-Day Experience on Vancouver Island with David Foster. It was a real blessing to have my daughter, Amanda, join our team to assist with the logistics of our special event. I think we have another event planner in the family! I am incredibly proud of Amanda and our entire team for the incredible job everyone did to make the event Simply Spectacular! As we enter into this time of year with Thanksgiving just behind us and Christmas fast approaching, the excitement fills the air as the stores are full of holiday shoppers and Christmas carols filling the air. It brings people together to celebrate the season and enjoy the giving of gifts. However, for some it’s a very stressful time as they wait in hospital for a different type of gift, the gift of life. Some of our children have waited more than a year for that life-saving gift. During the season of giving, I encourage you to register to be an organ donor if you aren’t already one and tell your loved ones of your wishes. There is truly no better gift than the gift of life. Did you know that one donor can save up to 8 lives and improve the lives of up to 75 people? By registering to be an organ and tissue donor, one day, you can be a hero and leave a legacy that allows someone a second chance. I thank all the advocates, trailblazers and strong individuals who encourage a positive conversation about organ donation. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many children. Thank you again for the many memories that were made in 2018. From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! Blessings,

Michael Ravenhill Chief Executive Officer

David Foster and CEO Michael Ravenhill at the Boston Pizza Foundation fundraising event in Vancouver, B.C. hosted by CBC Dragon's Den entrepreneur and David Foster Foundation Board member, Jim Treliving.

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


Message from the SVP, Fund Development


ach 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 no exception.

With an unpreceded and unexpected increase in the number of families requiring our financial support as their children go through the life-saving organ transplant process, it behooves me to sincerely ask for your financial support. Please appreciate that no donation is too small. Remember: 1. A “Restricted Fund” donation will go 100% to the families and none to administration costs. 2. You will receive a tax receipt for your full donation on your 2018 return. 3. If you have already fulfilled your philanthropic budget for 2018, please consider making a commitment to the David Foster Foundation for 2019. We have exciting news! Secure your seatbelts, the rumours are true! We listened, we heard, and we are confirming that the How to make a donation to Simply Spectacular 4-Day Experience on Vancouver Island with the Foundation: David Foster and friends is a reality. Join us July 29 - August 1, 1. Mail your cheques to 2019. Imagine, improving on excellence. David Foster Foundation, Although we had all the ingredients and enthusiasm for a simply 212 Henry Street, spectacular event, we had no idea it would be as remarkable as Victoria BC V9A 3H9 it was. In addition to raising over $2 million that can assist up 2. Credit card–call our to 200 families, the primary reason for having this event for the Victoria office using our 40 couples attending is a one-of-a-kind very special experience. toll free number Without exception, we will be hosting a similar even in the @ 1-877-777-7675 summer of 2019. 3. Online at My late father taught me that words are cheap! Success and davidfosterfoundation.com integrity are about what you do, rather than what you say. We have put together a fabulous video overview of the 4-day event to show what the guests can expect for 2019. To watch the "Save the Date" video please click CLICK HERE. Book your spots today! This amazing event will sell out fast. If you are interested in receiving further information, please contact our office for details. Thank you for your support this year and I look forward to a special 2019 with you! Sincerely,

John Danson SVP, Fund Development


Winter 2018

John Danson working as the auctioneer during the Simply Spectacular Experience on Vancouver Island.


Message from the Director of Family Relations


or many Canadian families winter means playing in the snow, building snowmen, having a vacation from school, giving and receiving gifts, eating delicious food, and visiting friends and family. This season is a time that families can enjoy a winter wonderland outside or choose to curl up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and a crackling fire. For families whose children need transplants, this season can feel like any other and does not hold the same diverse and magical qualities. These families might spend the holidays having blood drawn in hospitals and meeting with doctors, they may not be able to go outside to skate or ski due to medical conditions, and they may not be able to see their loved ones due to being hundreds of kilometers from home for medical treatment. While many children spend the holidays ecstatic about opening their gifts, children who require transplants are hoping for the most precious gift of all – the gift of life. I recently visited a family that the Foundation is assisting and met Kayden, who is waiting for a heart transplant, and his father Cruz. Kayden, who has a Berlin Heart (a medical device that connects to one’s heart and helps it to pump blood), was happy and lively when we visited. It was amazing to see how Kayden’s vibrant energy made all of us in his hospital room smile. There are so many children in Canada waiting for transplants just like Kayden. That is why I would like to use this opportunity to encourage you to take time this holiday season to start conversations about organ donation with those you surround yourself with. As it is a time for giving, consider starting a conversation that could save a life, and considering giving the gift of life through organ donation. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with special moments with your loved ones. Sincerely,

Aleea Dahinden Director of Family Relations

“As it is time for giving, consider starting a conversation that could save a life…”

Michael Ravenhill and Aleea Dahinden visit Cruz and his son Kayden, who is waiting for a heart transplant, at Toronto SickKids Hospital.


David Foster Foundation Newsletter


Jennifer, mother, holds her daughter's hand one day after she was the living liver donor.

continued from page 1 Thinking back on this time, Jennifer remembers, “We always knew that Taya would need a transplant as she had a chronic progressive liver disease, but we were never sure when. Always living with that in our minds was difficult, always wondering, when?” When Taya was 10 years old, she developed hepatopulmonary syndrome which is a condition that causes shortness of breath and low oxygen levels. This condition was caused by Taya’s liver disease. Knowing that Taya’s condition was worsening, Taya’s doctors placed her on the transplant list in August 2017. The family anxiously waited to receive a call telling them that they had found a match for Taya, but the call didn’t come. Given the severity of Taya’s medical condition, the family did not want to wait any longer and Jennifer began to be worked up to see if she could be a living liver donor for Taya. Jennifer was approved by the medical team to be a match for Taya, and the transplant surgery was scheduled. The family prepared to leave their hometown of Calgary to travel to Edmonton for the surgery. Jennifer and Trieu had to take leaves of absence from work, and Taryn, who was in junior high, left school. The family relocated to Edmonton and on December 12, 2017 Taya and Jennifer


Winter 2018

went into surgery. Recalling this time brings up memories of helplessness and anxiety for Trieu, “Going through the transplant was hard on the family because not only was Taya going to have to endure this very scary procedure but her mom as well. Essentially 50% of our family was going to go through very serious surgeries. No words can describe the emotion that I went through pacing the hospital hallway as I waited for any news from the

Taya one month before her transplant.


surgeons.” After six and a half hours, Jennifer was finished surgery. After twelve hours Taya was out of surgery as well. Jennifer’s gift of life saved Taya. The family remained in Edmonton after the transplant while Jennifer and Taya recovered. For Trieu, “The biggest struggle [during our time in Edmonton] was definitely having to watch Taya go through so much. She is only a child and to see her in any kind of pain or discomfort was heartbreaking. Everything else didn’t matter as long as she was ok. Whenever she had a set back we would be so fearful and full of anxiety, worried that the transplant did not work, that her body was rejecting the liver and she would have to go through it all again.” Despite Trieu’s worries, after three and a half months the family was able return home to Calgary. Because of the support of the Foundation’s donors and partners, the Foundation was able to assist the family leading up to, during and after transplant. Jennifer and Trieu shared some kind words about the support the Foundation provided. “The Foundation went above and beyond what we ever could imagine. We knew that they could help us, but the extent to which they did and with the kindness and compassion they offered, we are extremely grateful for. They were able to relieve any financial stresses that we faced while we were going through some of the darkest days of our lives. To have that peace of mind so that we could focus on just getting Taya well was invaluable.”

Taya with her sister Taryn at the hospital.

December 12, 2018 marks one year post transplant for Taya. Despite some minor bumps along the way within the first few months, Taya is doing very well. Taya will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life, and she has gone down from taking twelve medications a day to four. Annually, she will have routine blood work and hospital appointments so her medical team can monitor her enzyme levels and the success of the transplant. Jennifer and Trieu are grateful that they get to watch their daughters grow up together and enjoy being kids once again.

Taya going into surgery.

David Foster Foundation Newsletter


How Has the Gift of Life Impacted You? Pediatric Transplant Social Worker s a member of the transplant team, I have the honour of walking along side children and families through their journey of transplant and witnessing how resilient individuals can be during the most challenging circumstances. Seeing children, families, and communities come together in times of need is truly a humbling experience. —Maggie


Transplant Recipient am a post-transplant kidney patient who received a kidney from my mom in March this year. This transplant gave me a way of seeing how a miracle is in my life. I am very thankful to experience such a big thing in life. Now I am able to live a healthy life and play all the sports and activities I wasn't able to do before. I am now playing basketball, Indiana Jones in the gym, and running races with all my friends. —Rahmat


Mother of Child Waiting for Heart Transplant very was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome—the fix of which is three reconstructive heart surgeries. She did so well in her first two heart surgeries, but unfortunately, after the third, she suffered a complication called protein losing enteropathy which requires a very complex care treatment. Avery needs continuous infusion of medication to manage her heart failure. That’s why she has to stay in hospital. Avery will be able go home after her heart transplant. This long hospitalization and the travel to Edmonton for Avery’s major procedures have hit the family hard



Winter 2018

financially, emotionally and caused a lot of anxiety. As a single Mom with four other kids needing attention at home, I do have a long-term commitment of giving my time and energy. My little girl has shown impressive resilience though, with the countless procedures and daily pokes, several cardiac catheters and central line insertions. She is in kindergarten and has been advanced in her learning. I’m really hopeful that one day soon, she will get a new heart, so we can bring her home and she can be attending a regular school. I look forward to the day that Avery is given that second chance—a new beginning at living a normal life again. —Candice

Father of Child Waiting for Heart Transplant s a father of a future recipient, I have thought over the last few months what this gift would mean to me personally. My son spends 24 hours a day, 7 days a week inside Toronto SickKids Hospital, which has the most amazing staff that help care for my son on a daily basis. But to me, this gift would mean that my son would no longer have to stay in the hospital. He would be able to be at home, sleeping in his own bed with non-medical surroundings. We could enjoy him having a bath with bubbles, be able to see him splash and laugh in the water, and venture out together to do what most people take for granted—like going out for lunch, shopping together, or attending birthday parties with family and close friends. I have thought of what it could be like to be able to go trick or treating with him, or have him wake up Christmas morning all excited to run and to see the gifts that Santa has left under the tree for him, and have a normal life like others. This would be the greatest gift and for that I say thank you. —Cruz


Brother to 2-time Heart Transplant Recipient he gift of life has given me the ability to be the best little brother to the best big sister. Evanne has had two heart transplants. The first was before I was born, the second was when I was 4 years old. It was so hard to say goodbye to my mom and sister, not knowing if they would return. I am so lucky a heart was available for Evanne. She is the kindest older sister… I just wish she would come watch me play soccer more often! —Bauer


Mother of Liver Transplant Recipient allum received his liver transplant in July 2013. Today, Callum is just shy of turning 7 years old and thriving. Although he will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life, he now has a second chance at living; a life we will always cherish. They gave Callum (and us) a second chance, as without them, he wouldn’t be here today. Callum is living proof that organ donation works so we encourage everyone to have the conversation with their loved ones about organ donation and their wishes! —Joon


Transplant Recipient y gift of life has let me be able to enjoy life to the fullest and to become a competitive dancer which I always wanted to do but being in heart failure prevented me from doing so. This year I will be graduating from high school! I am forever grateful for my gift and my donor family. —Alyssa


David Foster Foundation Newsletter


Introduction to LMA & Siren

The David Foster Foundation meets with Siren Communications and LMA Communications in Toronto, ON.


he David Foster Foundation is proud to announce the partnership of two new agencies who will operate cooperatively to implement an aggressive awareness campaign to be launched in early 2019. Toronto-based LMA Communications and Siren Communications will handle the Digital Communications and Public Relations respectively, at a time when the need for organ donation continues to be a challenge in Canada. LMA Communications will handle the digital strategy and execution of the campaign. LMA has experience working with mental wellness associations and nonprofit organizations including CBT Associates and Bladder Cancer Canada. John Ozikizler, President, Owner of LMA, is proud to be working with the Foundation – and says his team are too. Siren Communications will be responsible for all media relations for the Foundation. The agency has a long history of involvement with charitable campaigns from both a volunteer and public relations


Winter 2018

perspective. However, according to Siren Communications CEO Ann Layton, this campaign is personal. “I spent two years on the list for a liver transplant in the 1990’s. I am one of the very lucky people who has made a full recovery, but it means I have a very strong commitment to this cause.” The campaign plans for 2019 include fundraising events, a national media awareness campaign, social campaigns around Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month in April, outdoor advertising, and online organ donor registration drives.


here is nothing greater than the gift of life through organ donation. Over the giving season, we are encouraging an online conversation about the importance of organ donation and asking people how they plan to give back. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #DFFGives and share how you give or why you think it's important to register to be an organ donor.


Michael Ravenhill, CEO of the David Foster Foundation notes, “This is an important phase in the history of the organization. The good news is that transplant technology has advanced enormously over the past 31 years since we began our work. But encouraging Canadians to register for organ donation is more pressing than ever. In addition, the need to help families grows every year, so we are currently looking to build our endowment, so we can continue our work well into the future. We are confident that our new agencies will play a major part in helping us reach our goals.”

Foundation Family Update


n October 4, 2016 Ryker received his life-saving kidney transplant. His father was able to give Ryker the gift of life by being Ryker’s living kidney donor. The Foundation was able to help support Ryker’s family financially leading up to, during, and post-transplant so that the family could focus on Ryker’s well-being. Two months after the transplant, Ryker was able to walk for the first time in his life at the age of two and a half years old, and he has been staying active ever since. Now, two years later, Ryker has started pre-school. He is an energetic little guy who enjoys swimming, spending time at the park, playing soccer, and riding both his bike and scooter. As part of his recovery, Ryker is doing therapeutic horseback riding and loves it. This summer, the Canadian transplant games were hosted in Vancouver, and Ryker was the youngest participant. He was super excited to participate in long jump and ball throw. As the two-year anniversary of Ryker’s transplant came and went in October, Ryker’s mother, Magda shared the following sentiments with the Foundation regarding the anniversary: “It’s hard to believe it’s been two years already – Ryker has been so busy being a kid that time

Ryker, kidney transplant recipient participating in the Canadian Transplant Games in 2018.

has flown by. I’m just really grateful that everything has been stable, and our clinic appointments are starting to be less frequent because it means they won't interrupt pre-school. With every year that passes, a part of me still worries knowing that his kidney won’t last forever, but this just encourages me to continue being grateful for whenever things are stable.”

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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