David Foster Foundation Winter 2020 Newsletter

Page 1


the Gift of Life

D ou

Nathan's Transplant Journey


Message from the Chairman


Message from the CEO


Message from the SVP, Fund Development


Message from the Director of Family Relations


Nathan's Transplant Journey Continued


Pay It Forward


Our Heroes Billboard Campaign


Ways To Give


Celebrating the Holiday Season with Transplant Families


The Foundation Welcomes ALLVISION to National Partnership


Partner Spotlight: WestJet


Thank You to All Our Partners


Donate Life Canada




tra ns


recipi e

nt, Na th

an with

his moth

er, Crystal.

Nathan’s Transplant Journey


212 HENRY ST., VICTORIA, BC V9A 3H9 OFFICE: 250.475.1223 FAX: 250.475.1193 TOLL FREE: 1.877.777.7675


Nathan Hutchinson, who turned two years Nathan old on October 14, 2020, has spent over 300 TRANSPLANT: days — nearly half of his life — in the hospital DOUBLE-LUNG for frequent admissions. He spent almost a TRANSPLANT DATE: AUGUST 27, 2019 year cumulative sleeping in a hospital bed while HOME: COURTICE, ON his parents, Crystal and Justin, waited anxiously by his side. During this time at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, Nathan underwent two open-heart surgeries, six catheterizations, spent four days on life support, and received a double-lung transplant. This is Nathan's transplant story. The Hutchinson family lives about an hour outside of Toronto with their dog, Baxter. Crystal and Justin were so excited to be expecting their first child. After a very healthy pregnancy, Crystal gave birth on October 14, 2018. Immediately, they knew something was wrong. “Nathan was born blue and not breathing. He was taken away right away. We never got to hold him or touch him. We hardly even got to see him. Nathan was taken to the NICU and soon after was transferred to SickKids. The first time we met Nathan, he was on life support; that memory is still one of the hardest,” Crystal remembers.

In March, the world changed as COVID-19 swept around the globe. This was an incredibly difficult time for the family as they managed the stress of the pandemic and Nathan’s medical needs without the support from their family and friends. CONTINUES ON PAGE 6

A Grateful Heart Message from the Chairman


f I have learned anything from the year 2020, it's to be grateful for the relationships and the loved ones around us. The support that we receive from others is crucial and sometimes all we have. Every year, but specifically this year, I am beyond grateful for the ongoing support we have received from our David Foster Foundation supporters. I am happy to announce that we have recently welcomed ALLVISION as our newest National Partner. This organization has graciously given our Foundation the use of all their LED billboards across Canada to raise awareness on the importance of organ registration and donation. During a year of uncertainties with COVID-19 and the inability to plan for significant fundraisers, this has meant so much.

Together, the David Foster Foundation and ALLVISION launched the "Our Heroes" billboard campaign. We celebrated our heroes, both the children who bravely fight for their lives and our amazing financial donors who unselfishly give to help ease our families' financial burdens when their child is going through the transplant process. The generosity that ALLVISION has shown is yet another wonderful example of our generous partners committed to making a difference in the community in which they live. As we enter the holiday season, especially now, I wish for everyone's health and safety. The holidays may not look the same as previous years, but I encourage you to connect with your loved ones. Let's be intentional with our conversations, keep up those FaceTime and Zoom calls, text a friend or family

Every year, but specifically this year, I am beyond grateful for the ongoing support we have received from our David Foster Foundation supporters. member and encourage them. More than ever, we need to stay connected, and we need each other's support and love. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

With sincere gratitude,

David Foster Founder and Chairman

Reflecting on a Difficult Year


s this year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on what challenges this year has posed for our communities, corporate partners, transplant families, and my personal family. I know first-hand how tough it has been within our communities, a constant worry for our corporate partners, and a fear for our transplant families. Everyone has been affected in some way, especially our transplant families. This stress is heightened for transplant families due to their child's lower immune system. In the last few months, we have seen a steady increase in transplants performed, though there are many new and different processes to keep families and hospital staff safe. These newly implemented processes have created longer wait times for families or required un-paid quarantine for a living organ donor. Sadly, there are so many


Winter 2020

unknowns. The biggest hurdle we are seeing is when a family is required to move temporarily for a transplant. A majority of the time, our families reside at Ronald McDonald Houses located near their transplant hospital. Unfortunately, fewer families are being admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions, which leaves them with the added financial burden of finding alternative accommodations, sadly expensive hotels or Airbnb's. In addition to increased financial stresses, hospitals have also increased restrictions on how many people can be at the bedside. Because of these restrictions, we see more and more families separated. Parents and siblings have been forced to be apart from one another when they need each other the most. It's an emotional reality, especially during the holiday season. Our transplant families continue to

demonstrate and exude resilience through all these uncertainties. I share these realities to give you a small glimpse of what it looks like for our families over Christmas, a time when no one wants to be away from their family. This Christmas, I encourage you to hold your family tight and embrace your time together this holiday season. Please keep our children and families in your thoughts and prayers. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and safe New Year.


Michael Ravenhill Chief Executive Officer

It's Not Too Late To Donate


nfortunately, charities are not immune to the negative effects of COVID-19. Allow me to explain why the David Foster Foundation has been affected so dramatically by COVID-19. Donations are significantly down, while the number of families requesting financial assistance as their child goes through life-saving organ transplant process is dramatically up. The Foundation's primary fundraising initiative planned for 2020 was A Night on Broadway with David Foster at Hotel X Toronto. Incredible as it sounds, the event sold out early in January. Unfortunately, planning came to an immediate halt, and the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. Due to the financial challenges directly connected to COVID-19 hoisted on a large swath of the population, we

have received, through to the end of August 2020, an additional 49% more applications than the same period in 2019. Could it get any more challenging? For one of our families, the answer is a demonstrative yes. A few years ago, the Foundation received an application from one family for financial support as their child went through the life-saving liver transplant process. Inconceivable as it sounds, their second child, also required a life-saving liver transplant. Once again, the Foundation was there to provide financial assistance. Imagine two youngsters in one family needing a liver transplant to survive. The near impossible, a third child was born and now also requires a lifesaving liver transplant. The Foundation is there to support families through

every step of their journey, but we can’t do this without your support. • Donations can be designated into the "restricted fund" whereby 100% of your donation goes directly to help transplant families and none to the administration. • Donations of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt for the full amount of the donated gift. • Make a one-time payment or multiple payments monthly or annually. Your support through a donation is particularly crucial during COVID-19 and every dollar is so very much appreciated.


John Danson SVP, Fund Development

The Value of Human Connections


t is hard to believe that we are reaching the end of 2020. It has been a challenging year for the entire world, and I think that most people have had to reimagine their lives and what is most important to them. In my reflections, I was reminded that human connection and meaningful, loving relationships are one of the greatest joys that humans have. So, while this year has forced many of us to be isolated and unable to experience as much human connection as we are used to, I think that we have been reminded of the value of our loved ones.

child while their extended families are hundreds of kilometres away. Siblings are left at home while parents rush away with their sister or brother when they get the call that an organ is available.

In a year without a pandemic, transplant families usually need to separate so that their child can receive medical care in hospitals far from where they live while someone ensures their responsibilities at home are taken care of. Parents sit bedside with their sick

I am grateful to work for a Foundation that has been able to financially assist transplant families through this incredibly difficult year and hopefully alleviate some of the stress they have faced through these many months of isolation and uncertainty.

But this year, transplant families have faced even more separation than usual. Transplants were put on hold due to COVID-19 so wait times were increased, restrictions in hospitals mean that sometimes only one parent is allowed to be with their child who is an inpatient, and extended families have not been able to visit for risk of exposure to the virus.

While this year has forced many of us to be isolated and unable to experience as much human connection as we are used to, I think that we have been reminded of the value of our loved ones. Thank you to all our partners, donors, and the hospital staff that work with us to make this all possible. I wish the happiest of Holiday seasons to you all, filled with many moments of joy.


Aleea Dahinden Director of Family Relations



completely in love with him. He was really sick, and we weren’t sure if he would ever make it home. The day we held him our nurse wasn’t having any of it. She said we’ve waited long enough and she’s putting him in our arms. Our fears came true, we fell hard and never looked back. We didn’t care what his future held. From that moment on we weren’t letting go.” Nathan later developed a very progressive form of Pulmonary Vein Stenosis, a disease with no treatment or cure. This disease thickens the walls of the pulmonary veins and blocks them from bringing blood from the lungs back to the heart. The family’s only option was a double-lung transplant. On August 19, Nathan, who was 10 months old, was listed for a double-lung transplant.

Nathan with his dad, Justin, finally arrived home on July 15, 2020.

Nathan was placed on an ECMO machine to provide cardiac and respiratory support almost immediately after his birth and remained on it until October 18. Nathan was diagnosed with a very rare and critical heart condition called Supracardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return. This condition affects how the pulmonary veins return oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the heart. He underwent his first openheart surgery to treat this condition on October 26 and would undergo a second on December 5. On November 2, 19 days after Nathan was born, Crystal and Justin were allowed to hold their child for the first time. “When we were waiting to hold Nathan, we were actually scared to. Not because we were afraid of doing something wrong or hurting him but because we knew we would fall Nathan became the 7th infant in Canada to receive a double lung transplant.

Crystal and Justin remember these first ten months as being full of challenges. “Nathan’s first ten months were hard. He would cry all the time, he hardly slept. He would have meds, feeds and cares every two hours including the night. He is also our first baby, so we were dealing with being first-time parents at the same time. It was exhausting and there were times when I felt like I couldn’t get through the days. We were in constant fear of what was going to happen. We knew we were living on borrowed time, a lung transplant was not something we were thinking about until Nathan was 9 months old and we knew that even finding lungs for his size were very rare. Despite all this though, we loved him as hard as we could.” Seven days later after being listed, at 7 pm, the family received the call that there was a set of lungs available, and Nathan would be undergoing a transplant. After a successful surgery, Nathan became the 7th infant in Canada to receive a double-lung transplant. Despite a successful transplant, Nathan became very sick posttransplant. As Crystal remembers, “Transplants in general are difficult. Our journey was more difficult than anyone expected. We almost lost Nathan; he had many complications after his surgery. As parents we really struggled mentally, we still do. It’s not easy watching your child's health decline. It took a toll on our relationships and family, but we couldn’t give up. We choose to “smile.” This was important to us as we didn’t want Nathan to see us struggle. We needed to lead by example. Once we accepted our journey, it was easier for us to move on. It was still hard, but we needed to stay strong for Nathan. We took it one day at a time and celebrated our wins and good days.” SickKids is the only hospital in the country that performs pediatric lung transplants, which meant the family had to relocate to Toronto for Nathan’s medical care. Given Nathan’s uncertain health status post-transplant, both Crystal and Justin took leaves from work, which impacted them financially. Their social worker at SickKids told them about the David Foster Foundation, as did other families they connected with at the hospital whose children required transplants. The Foundation assisted the family with expenses including food, mortgage, car payments, gas, and cell phone bills while Nathan fought



Winter 2020


to recover post-transplant. The family says that “if it wasn’t for the David Foster Foundation, our biggest struggle would have been our finances. They took care of all the financial things we couldn’t and helped keep our family together. We couldn’t have gotten this far without them.” Post-transplant, Nathan remained in the ICU, where only two caregivers could be present. Nathan and Crystal spent most of their time at SickKids alone. “As much as we wanted family at our side for support, it would have taken us away from Nathan and he needed our support the most. It was difficult, hard and lonely,” Crystal revealed. “We had to leave our dog behind; he thought we abandoned him. We spent Nathan’s first birthday with the staff at SickKids and we spent Christmas by ourselves.” In March, the world changed as COVID-19 swept around the globe. Nathan was still an in-patient at SickKids. The hospital restricted access to one caregiver to try to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19. This meant that Crystal and Justin were even more isolated as Justin went home and Crystal stayed to care for Nathan. This was an incredibly difficult time for the family as they managed the stress of the pandemic and Nathan’s medical needs without the support from their family and friends. On July 15, the family was finally able to return home for good. Nathan has a tracheostomy tube connected to a ventilator, which helps him breathe due to complications. The family does not know if Nathan will ever not need the tracheostomy tube,

“some doctors believe it’s possible and some don’t think he will. Nathan has a lot of complications and having just one of them can have him trached for life. After Nathan's transplant, we found out his diaphragm became paralyzed, probably the main reason he got the trach. Over many months he miraculously got use of just the left side. There is almost no chance he will get use of his right side. We can only hope as he grows older and his lungs grow stronger, he can be trach free. It’s ok if he doesn’t though. We wouldn’t be here today if he didn’t have his trach. I’m just going to have to educate as many people as I can about him and most importantly, I’m going to teach him how to find his ability within his disability.” Nathan still requires 24/7 care and nursing support. He needs to take daily medications to keep his new lungs from being rejected. The family has constant speech, physio and occupational therapists at their house to help Nathan progress his development after his lengthy stay in ICU. But as Crystal notes, “Before transplant, Nathan wasn’t even able to gain weight, he was so sick, and now he is just thriving. Despite everything, he's the happiest human I have ever known. He doesn't know any different. He’s learning and growing just like we had hoped. Some days he even just blows us away with how quickly he is catching up. He spends his days chasing his dog around the house and I spend my day chasing him around with his vent! He's worth every sleepless night and we would go through this journey again for him.”

If it wasn't for the David Foster Foundation, our biggest struggle would have been our finances. We couldn't have gotten this far without them. —Crystal, Nathan’s mom

Nathan post-transplant with his bravery beads. Children at SickKids Hospital get one bead for every medical intervention.


Pay it Forward T

hroughout the COVID-19 pandemic, society has supported each other. We have been shopping locally, supporting small businesses, thanking our first responders, wearing masks to reduce virus transmission, and lending a helping hand when we are able. In the spirit of supporting one another, the David Foster Foundation launched a small campaign to help our transplant families acknowledge their loved ones during this difficult time. Thanks to our donors and partners' generosity, we randomly selected ten DFF families and mailed them each two gift cards from a Canadian company. Along with these gift cards was a letter explaining that we hoped they would use one gift card to buy something for themselves and give the second card to someone who helped their family during their child's transplant journey.

DFF's goal was to bring joy to transplant families and the people who have supported them through this incredibly challenging year while granting an opportunity for transplant families to thank their loved ones. Clara's family chose to give their second gift card to Sol, their family friend. Sol had been assisting the family as both Clara and her father recovered from transplant surgery, as Roberto was Clara's living liver donor. The Foundation is always in awe of the resilience that transplant families, like Clara's, demonstrate continuously. The trials and tribulations of the pandemic have only emphasized the immense strength these families have. However, like every one of us, they cannot do it alone. The Foundation is happy to have provided an opportunity to celebrate transplant families' resilience and those who hold them near and dear.

Paying it forward with Clara! This family gifted their second gift card to their family friend who helped them during their transplant journey.

Canadian Blood Services Donation & Transplantation Facts* • In 2019, the generous gifts of 1,436 organ donors and their families saved or improved the lives of 3,053 Canadian patients. • There were 8% more deceased donors in 2019 as compared with the previous year, with Canada’s national deceased donation rate increasing from 20.6 donors per million population in 2018 to 21.9 dpmp in 2019. • There were 11% more living organ donors in 2019 as compared with the previous year, with Canada’s national living donation rate increasing from 15.0 donors per million population in 2018 to 16.3 dpmp in 2019. • In 2019, in Canada, there were 822 deceased organ donors and 614 living organ donors. • In 2019, 250 Canadians died while waiting for a transplant, up from 223 in 2018. • Canada still has a shortage of organs, with 4,419 patients waiting for transplants at year’s end 2019.

*Results as of December 31, 2019.


Winter 2020

Our Heroes Billboard Campaign

ALLVISION billboards are found on some of Canada’s busiest highways in Ontario. You can find them on the 401, 400, 410, 403, and 427.


n September 11, the David Foster Foundation teamed up with billboard giant ALLVISION to launch their latest Our Heroes campaign across the country celebrating and acknowledging the heroes in their life. Featured on these billboards are the Foundation’s top supporters who make it possible for transplant families to stay together during their most challenging times. The Foundation is inspired by the journeys taken by their transplant families and grateful for the funding from their major supporters who make it possible to assist transplant families in need financially. This campaign was put together to highlight a transplant recipient and sincerely thank the supporters of the David Foster Foundation for their generosity. Throughout this campaign, the David Foster Foundation placed full-page ads in the National Post thanking and acknowledging their incredible heroes. This campaign ran from the beginning of September to December in esteemed locations throughout main city centres across Canada including Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. ALLVISION’s LED billboards measure an impressive 48 feet and 29 feet, flipping every 10 seconds 24 hours a day. Thank you ALLVISION for your dedication and support in raising awareness about the importance of becoming a registered organ donor and the work the Foundation does.

Thank You To Our Super Heros Supporters • Aird & Berlis LLP

• RN Designs

• Andrin Homes

• S.G. Cunningham Ltd


• Walter & Maria Schneider

• Barkuna • Deerfields Men & Women Health Clinic • Jonathon & Christine Fischer

• Schnitzer Steel • Slaight Family Foundation • TELUS

• Georgian Capital Partners

• Jim & Sandi Treliving

• Hotel X Toronto

• Joan & Paul Waechter

• Kyle MacDonald & John Franklin

• Warren & Debbie Kimel Family Foundation

• Ken & Patricia Mariash

• WestJet

• Curtis & Mary McCone

• Windrock Investments

• National Post • Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in partnership with Catalyst Capital Group


Ways to Give! There is no denying that 2020 has been a trying year for all of us.


hroughout the past nine months, the David Foster Foundation’s priority has remained the same - ensuring that families continue to be able to stay together and not worry about the financial repercussions of their child’s transplant. Like many this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation has seen a sharp increase in the financial support required by transplant families while experiencing a decrease in donations. As we enter the holiday season, there are many ways you can give back or support the David Foster Foundation. You can make a difference, and by giving back, you will help families with children going through the life-saving organ transplant process.

"The Foundation helped keep our family together." — Crystal, Nate's mother, double-lung transplant recipient

Become an Organ Donor

Over the holidays, we encourage you to talk to your family and share your wishes to register as an organ donor. By becoming a registered organ donor, you may save a life someday. There is a chronic shortage of most organs needed for transplant in Canada and the United States. Organ and tissue donation provide each of us with a special opportunity to help others. Sharing your decision

now will help your family to carry out your decision later. It is necessary for you to document your decision by completing your registration in your resident province or state.


You can make an online donation in memory of someone, in honour of someone, or as a general gift. The David Foster Foundation’s goal to create an endowment with the purpose of continuously supporting all Canadian families who have a child going through the life-saving organ transplant process. You can make a single donation or make a financial commitment over multiple years.



Donate Online

Donate Aeroplan Miles

The donation of Aeroplan Miles is a unique way to provide a direct and immediate benefit to the Foundation. Miles are used for accommodation and travel for a family with a child going through the life-saving organ transplant process away from their home.

To learn more about all the ways to give and to make a donation visit us at www.davidfosterfoundation.com.


Winter 2020

Celebrating the Holiday Season with Transplant Families!

Clara - Liver Transplant

Ben - Liver Transplant

Madelynn - Kidney Transplant

Brennan - Kidney Transplant The David Foster Foundation


The Foundation Welcomes ALLVISION to National Partnership


he David Foster Foundation is beyond thrilled to announce its new partnership with ALLVISION, Canada’s premium large format digital OOH media company. Access to ALLVISION inventory offers the Foundation the

My family and I have had the pleasure and luxury to spend time with some receiving families over the past few years. To see, to feel, to hear, and to truly understand how the Foundation can truly bring benefit and joy to children and families is something that will stay with me indefinitely. I couldn’t be prouder to be involved and to support the David Foster Foundation. —Brandon Newman, President of Media

opportunity to reach millions of daily commuters along Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver’s busiest highways and the surrounding communities. Leading the market with innovation, technology, billboard design and unprecedented placements, ALLVISION is poised to help the Foundation deliver its message to millions of Canadians. With 32,000,000 daily impressions available for purchase across 47 screens and 3 markets, ALLVISION is a welcomed partner to the David Foster Foundation. ALLVISION has been a leader in the billboard space for over 20 years. With a focus on business development, ALLVISION has obtained a large inventory of billboards across Canada and the United States. ALLVISION has 47 large format digital screens and dominates the Greater Toronto Area with billboards on the 400 series highways (401, 407, 403, 427) and Mississauga, the second largest city in the GTA.

The Foundation is honoured to share important messaging about organ donation awareness, thanking our supporters, and celebrating the transplant children we support.

The David Foster Foundation is immensely grateful for the support and billboard space that ALLVISION has provided for our awareness initiatives. With less than 25% of Canadians being registered as organ donors, we feel we can make a difference working with ALLVISION. On behalf of the Foundation and the transplant families we support, I want to sincerely thank Brandon Newman and the ALLVISION team.

—Michael Ravenhill, CEO, David Foster Foundation

To learn more about ALLVISION and their locations, please visit www.allvision.com.


Winter 2020

Partner Spotlight: THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PARTNERS Life Legacy Members Jim & Sandi Treliving

Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in Partnership with Catalyst Capital Group

Heart transplant recipient Logan on board a WestJet plane with the amazing staff.


OVID-19 has greatly impacted the ease of travel for people all over the world. WestJet's continued commitment and unwavering support of the David Foster Foundation has been incredible this year as they continue to help transplant families fly to and from major pediatric hospitals for their children’s life-saving medical needs amid the pandemic. Transplant families are often required to fly thousands of kilometres from their home for a transplant assessment, or need to relocate if their child is admitted into a hospital, or need to travel to attend transplant followup appointments. WestJet has stood beside the Foundation for many years to help us facilitate this necessary medical travel and 2020 was no exception. This summer, with WestJet’s help, the Foundation flew a family over 2,000 kilometres from the prairies to Toronto for their child’s transplant assessment at Toronto SickKids Hospital. This child was ultimately listed for transplant, and while Mom and child stayed in Toronto waiting for an organ to be available, Dad was able to fly back home to keep working and take care of the house. When the family received the call, and this child received their gift of life, Dad was able to get back to Toronto quickly through last-minute travel to be with his family. Their child recovered

successfully from the transplant, and all three were able to fly home together. The Foundation was able to ease family stress by coordinating flights for this family, and many others this year, all because of our partnership with WestJet. Thanks to the generosity of WestJet, the Foundation is able to provide essential travel for transplant families across Canada. We know that our families are in good hands when they are flying with WestJet to their destination. WestJetters always work to accommodate the medical needs for families and have worked tirelessly with the Foundation to accommodate the extra flexibility with flights that COVID-19 has made necessary due to changes in hospital policies and family needs.

WestJet’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of children and youth has never been more important. We are grateful that through our WestJet Cares for Kids partnership with the Foundation, transplant kids and their families are able to get to the lifesaving medical care they need, no matter the distance.

Walter & Maria Schneider Jim Pattison

National Partners

Community Partners

—Richard Bartrem, Vice-President, Corporate Communications and Chief of Staff, WestJet 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.

Coming soon!