David Foster Foundation Winter 2021/2022 Newsletter

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the Gift of Life

Liver t

WINTER 2021 | VOLUME 35 Matthew's Transplant Journey


Message from the Chairman


Message from the CEO


Message from the SVP, Fund Development


Message from the Director of Family Relations


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Matthew’s Transplant Journey Only 40 days after being born, Sheryl and Philip watched their baby son Matthew get


wheeled away to an operating room. They


were so hopeful that the surgery he was


Matthew's Transplant Journey Continued 4

about to undergo would mean he would not

Foundation Families Enjoying the Season


need a liver transplant at such a young age. Unfortunately, things did

Giving Tuesday


A Week of Giving


The Foundation Wishes WestJet a Happy and Successful 25th Anniversary


not go as hoped, and this hospital admission was the first of many. Matthew is Sheryl and Philip’s second son. His brother, Carter, is six years older than him, and the family was so excited to welcome Matthew into the world on January 30th, 2020, after trying to get pregnant for many years. Having already had a child, Sheryl and Philip

StayWell Partnership Announcement


Partner Spotlight: AWIN


urine was dark yellow, his eyes were yellow, and he had a pattern of

Thank You to All Our Partners


being sleepy most of the time. The family’s midwives ordered a blood

Save the Date! A Night on Broadway in Partnership with Hotel X Toronto


were concerned throughout February when they noticed Matthew’s

requisition on March 4th as Matthew’s jaundice persisted. On March 6th the results came back that Matthew’s bilirubin levels were very high, which is abnormal. The doctor at the Guelph General Hospital wanted Matthew admitted to McMaster Children’s Hospital, 50 kilometres

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

from the family’s home for further tests. Once he was admitted and


could to help Matthew.

completed more tests, Matthew was diagnosed with biliary atresia. Both Sheryl and Philip knew that they wanted to do as much as they


With Gratitude and Thanks Message from the Chairman


t is hard to believe that the year is almost over. Even though we all have had our challenges this past year, I am so proud of the work the Foundation staff have been doing to provide the much-needed financial support for families during an incredibly stressful time. I love the saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!" That is exactly what our team has focused on over the last year and a half. From finding alternative accommodations that will keep the family together and safe due to a child that is immunocompromised, or helping a family with special travel arrangements, our Foundation staff are there to help. I love watching and hearing about all of the stories our team has done to assist families in need. As I reflect on this past year, I am continually blown away by the incredible financial support our

donors have shown our Foundation, as I know it has been a challenging one for most. The generous giving has not stopped, and for that, I am truly grateful. I am encouraged to see the world starting to open back up and even more excited to personally get back out on tour and share my music with you all. I am also thrilled to announce that for the first time in two years, we will be holding the Foundation's charity gala in the spring of 2022 with some of my dear friends as we celebrate "A Night on Broadway.” As a thank you for everyone's ongoing support, we will be doing A Week of Giving the first week of December. For seven consecutive days, we will be giving a special gift to one of our social media followers. Our small way of saying THANK YOU! Over the giving season, I encourage you to consider giving the true gift -

I am continually blown away by the incredible support our donors have shown our Foundation

THE GIFT OF LIFE! It only takes two minutes to register to be an organ and tissue donor. From my family to yours, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!


David Foster Founder and Chairman

Family, Faith, and Friendship Message from the Chief Executive Office


ith summer behind us and the weather starting to change, I find myself stopping to look with amazement at the beautiful fall colours on the trees as they start to usher in the beginning of winter. I am reminded of the ever-changing seasons we are blessed within Canada but also reminded of how change can be welcomed by some and harder for others to adapt to. Over the last two years, we have endured a lot of change. Through this change, I have grown to really appreciate the important things in life. The three “F’s” - Family, Faith, Friendship. Change can have a silver lining, perhaps looking at the positivity of change and how we cherish and appreciate things more now than we


Winter 2021

may have in the past. Things we took for granted like travelling, going to the movies or a restaurant, or spending time with family at home around the dinner table. However, the many families we support at the David Foster Foundation don’t always have these blessings. When they are given the daunting news that their child needs a major organ transplant or they will die, they don’t have the chance to stop and take in the beauty around them. Their life is changed in an instant, turned upside down, and that change comes with some of the darkest times of their lives. It is through these dark times the Foundation is there to provide financial assistance for all their nonmedical expenses. We take away the

parents' financial worries, so they can put their focus and all their attention where it should be… their CHILD. As Christmas comes upon us, if you are faced with change, I encourage you to embrace the change. Winston Churchill once said, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often!" From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.


Michael Ravenhill Chief Executive Officer

From My Heart to Yours Message from SVP, Fund Development


n a personal note, I hope you don’t consider my introductory comments “cheeky” in regards to why 2021 has been so special for me and why I feel fortunate to be part of the Foundation team. This year, I celebrated my 75th birthday as well as my 50th wedding anniversary. Imagine 50+ years in the workforce…easy, especially when you love what you do. The most common question I am asked by friends and colleagues, especially as virtually all of them have retired, is when do I plan to retire? My response is unequivocal, when the moment becomes I don’t love going to work every day. It’s easy to go to work when I work in an environment that supports families going through the challenging organ transplant process and requires financial assistance for day-to-day expenses. For families pre and post organ transplant, basic living expenses can become a financial burden.

COVID-19 has had a diabolical effect on what is considered “normal” activity. Things like grocery shopping, going to a friend's house or seeing a movie have all become something we need to think twice about. Unfortunately, the Foundation is not immune as our feature fundraising vehicle, our 2020 gala was cancelled. Through the pandemic, we have seen the number of families that requested financial support and funds distributed to families significantly increase. Even with events cancelled in 2020 and postponed, the Foundation remains committed to supporting every Canadian family as they go through the transplant process.

How to make a donation to the Foundation: 1. Mail your cheques to David Foster Foundation, 212 Henry Street, Victoria BC V9A 3H9 2. Please call 1-877-777-7675 3. Online through PayPal at davidfosterfoundation.com 4. Electronic funds transfer— please email info@davidfosterfoundation.com

that together, we will continue to make 2022 a very special year.

We can't achieve our ultimate goal without your financial support. Every donation is important and crucial to our families. From my heart to yours, I graciously thank you for your support and I know

John Danson SVP, Fund Development

Admiration for Transplant Families' Bravery Message from Director of Family Relations


021 has proven to be another challenging year for transplant families as they work to navigate the repercussions that COVID-19 has had within the transplant process. Families continue to face restrictions on accommodation options, new parameters around flights for necessary hospital appointments, and the ever-present worry of their immune-compromised child being exposed to COVID-19. Matthew’s transplant story featured in this newsletter helps to illustrate how COVID-19 has impacted the already stressful transplant process for families. While Matthew received transplant in 2020, even families whose children received transplant prior to the pandemic have faced the same worries as they attend follow-up appointments and support their children post-transplant.

Regardless of transplant status I know that the families the Foundation assists are looking forward to a holiday season spent with their loved ones. I would like to wish all of the transplant families that the Foundation has assisted, both in recent years and in past years, the warmest of holiday wishes. Your perseverance and bravery is always inspiring but even more so amid the turmoil of the pandemic. I hope that you and your families have a lovely holiday season filled with cheer.

Sincerely, Matthew's transplant journey continues on page 4.

Aleea Dahinden Director of Family Relations



During a situation like this, any help you get will lessen the stress on your family and the Foundation was able to give us that assistance and ease the stress. It helped us take the financial pressure off our family during a time of enormous emotional stress, family sacrifice, and upheaval. — Matthew's dad, Philip

Above: Matthew at SickKids in Toronto before his liver transplant. Below: Matthew with his big brother, Carter.

Biliary atresia is a disease where a baby’s bile ducts don’t form properly, and bile leaks into the liver, which quickly damages it. Matthew underwent a Kasai procedure in hopes of reestablishing bile flow from the liver to the intestine. This procedure is successful in 25% to 60% of children and allows them to grow for several years, making a transplant easier in the coming years. Roughly 25% of children who have a successful Kasai procedure do not require a liver transplant. After undergoing the operation and spending 10 days in the hospital recovering, Matthew underwent testing once he was back home, and the family was informed that the procedure was unsuccessful. The family remembers feeling disappointed and hopeless but determined to continue doing all they could. On June 22nd, 2020 Matthew was admitted to SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Only four days later, Sheryl and Philip were told that only a liver transplant could save him, and Matthew was actively listed for transplant. Sheryl took a leave from work so she could stay with Matthew at SickKids. During this time, the Foundation began assisting the family with expenses like their mortgage, food, gas, and parking costs. “During a situation like this, any help you get will lessen the stress on your family and the Foundation was able to give us that assistance and ease the stress. It helped us take the financial pressure off our family during a time of enormous emotional stress, family sacrifice, and upheaval,” writes Philip.


Winter 2021


On top of financial strain, the family was dealing with the immense pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic while in hospital. Sheryl was staying with Matthew at SickKids Hospital in Toronto and Philip was back at home caring for Carter in Guelph. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it was very hard for the family to see each other. Sheryl and Philip remember being separated from each other and their children was one of the most difficult parts. It began to get extremely challenging for Sheryl, Philip, and their whole family to watch Matthew get sicker and sicker. Philip’s sisters Bernice and Georgia used social media to appeal for a living liver donor for Matthew, knowing that neither Philip nor Sheryl were a match for Matthew. The Mayor of Guelph even showed her support for the family as they desperately searched for a living donor. Derek, a 25-year-old man from Guelph, saw the request and could not stand by. He knew he was within the age group and the right blood type so went in for testing to see if he was a match at Toronto General Hospital. Derek, a complete stranger to the family, was confirmed as a suitable donor and on October 8th, Matthew and Derek both went in for surgery. Derek represented hope for the family right when Matthew’s condition felt dire. Derek was in surgery for over eight hours, while Matthew’s surgery lasted thirteen hours. Due to COVID-19, Philip was not allowed in the hospital, so Sheryl and Philip were separated while they waited for their son to be out of surgery, feeling both relieved that it was finally happening and anxious. The surgery went well for both Derek and Matthew, who then started on the road to recovery. On November 5th, after roughly six months spent at SickKids, Sheryl and Matthew were able to return home to be reunited with Carter and Philip. Today, Matthew has regular bloodwork and is on the following medications: anti-rejection, anti-infection, antivirus, blood pressure, iron supplements, vitamin D, and aspirin. He requires closer attention than most toddlers and craves his mother’s constant attention. Matthew is “a beautiful and happy baby boy with no obvious signs of disability. He is delayed mentally, mostly in his speech. Physically he is behind in growth for his age but is crawling, active, getting into trouble and constantly showing off his infectious smile.” The family was able to meet Derek and his fiancé on November 16th, 2020, at Matthew’s aunt’s house in Guelph. Sheryl and Philip were excited to meet their son’s angel to thank him personally for his selfless act of kindness. It was a special moment, all thanks to Derek and the gift of life.

Above: Matthew meeting his organ donor, Derek.

I never found it to be a difficult decision. As soon as I read Matthew's story and his family's plea for a donor, I wanted to volunteer. I knew the chances that I would be a match would be small, but I thought if I could at least help increase the odds that the family found a suitable donor, then that was something I should do. I knew that being the right age and having universal donor blood, I would have a better shot than most to help. Matthew is such a happy child, even when I met him—shortly after the surgery—he was all smiles and laughter. All I can say is that I was so happy I was able to help out, and that I recommend becoming a donor to everyone who asks. Don't get me wrong, it is a huge commitment, but being able to help in a situation like that easily makes it worth it. - Derek, Matthews's living liver donor The David Foster Foundation


Celebrating the Holidays with

No Negatives


Foundation Families Enjoying the Season! T

Photo credit

: Kyla Shaw,

his fall, the David Foster Foundation worked alongside talented photographers and transplant families in British Columbia and Manitoba to create memories and share stories through photographs. These quality images will be cherished and looked back on by transplant families for years to come.

A sincere thank you to Kyla Shaw, Mandy Wright, and Terrence Wall for capturing and showcasing Foundation transplant families. If you are interested in photography and volunteering for the David Foster Foundation, please email info@davidfosterfoundation.com.

Photo cred

it: Mandy W right , Flytog


The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.

— Andy Warhol Photo credit: Terren


Winter 2021

ce Wall, Due Nor th


the David Foster Foundation Giving Tuesday G

iving Tuesday is a global movement created to encourage the spirit of giving and kick-off of the giving season. Following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is on November 30, 2021, a special day that allows communities to give back to their most cherished charities. On Tuesday, November 30, you can participate and give back in many different ways:

1. You can donate online 2. Become an organ donor in two minutes 3. Donate Aeroplan Miles 4. Donate RBC Reward Points 5. Like and follow the David Foster Foundation on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share important messages with your friends and family. 6. Start a Facebook Fundraiser

Visit davidfosterfoundation.com/giving-tuesday to learn more.



A Week of Giving A s a thank you to all our supporters and their continued generosity through 2021, we are giving back!

Mark your calendars! Following Giving Tuesday, the David Foster Foundation is launching A Week of Giving December 1 to 8, 2021. Follow the David Foster Foundation on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about how you can win a variety of prizes that are the perfect addition to your family over the holidays.

The David Foster Foundation


The Foundation Wishes WestJet a Happy


ince 2013, the David Foster Foundation and WestJet have teamed up to help Canadian transplant families with their travel needs. Through the Gift of Flight, WestJet has flown hundreds of families to their much-needed transplant appointments, assisted families in relocating to other cities and reconnected families who have spent months apart.


The support that WestJet has provided the David Foster Foundation goes even further. Each major fundraising event that the Foundation has hosted, WestJet has been an instrumental sponsor. In 2014, part of the WestJet headquarters in Calgary, AB was transformed from an airport hangar into a luxury gala venue. With the hard work of all, an impressive $8.2 million was raised to support transplant families. WestJet and the Foundation made massive steps forward for organ donor registration in 2015. Volunteers from provincial organ registries and WestJetters embarked on sharing valuable information about the Foundation, raising awareness about registration, and handing out custom bag tags in 20 different airports across Canada.


In 2016, both organizations ventured to support their friends at Boston Pizza with a humanitarian build in the Dominican Republic. In addition to building two new homes for very worthy families, the relationships gained, and experiences shared between the organizations were priceless. Today, the David Foster Foundation and WestJet continue to work side-by-side to support families requiring travel during their transplant journey. A special thank you to Jenifer Badry, Brittany Tough, and Liz Guillemaud.




Winter 2021

and Successful 25th Anniversary! 5

Cares for Kids From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for the David Foster Foundation families and your community. Your 25 years of service have changed so many lives for the better. 6 1. A successful WestJet golf tournament in 2019! Thank you Louis Bourbonnais. 2. David Foster in Calgary, Alberta with the WestJet pilots. 3. Mike Ravenhill, CEO, and volunteers during the 2015 organ donor registration initiative in airports across Canada. 4. The 2014 Calgary Miracle Gala & Concert was hosted at the WestJet headquarters in an airport hangar. $8.2 million was raised to support transplant families. 5. Over the years, WestJet has kindly gifted Toronto Blue Jay tickets to transplant families. A great way to connect and enjoy an evening! 6. WestJet, Boston Pizza, and the David Foster Foundation teamed up to build a home for a very worthy family in the Dominican Republic. 7. Past CEO, Gregg Saretsky, welcoming all the guests at the 2014 Miracle Gala & Concert.


The David Foster Foundation


Foundation Community Partner: StayWell Suites Charity


he David Foster Foundation is delighted to welcome StayWell Suites Charity as the newest Community Partner. In 2018, the principals of Sky View Suites learned of the troubles that patients from out of town had when trying to secure accommodation in Toronto while they attended lifesaving medical appointments. It was in response to this need that StayWell Suites Charity was created. StayWell’s mission is to provide accessible accommodation options to patients and their families while they receive critical medical care. StayWell launched in 2018 with 135 room nights provided. In 2021, they are on track to provide 14,000 room nights in Toronto alone, working with all major hospitals in the area. StayWell's focus and vision are to provide all Canadians access to affordable accommodations required for critical medical treatment.

StayWell is honoured to be included as a community partner with the David Foster Foundation. It means so much to all the volunteers building StayWell Charity. —Sass Khazzam, Co-CEO

In 2019, the David Foster Foundation began working with StayWell to provide subsidized accommodation options for transplant families who didn’t live in Toronto but whose children needed care at SickKids Hospital. The work the David Foster Foundation is doing, providing financial support for children requiring organ transplants, is critical to the well-being of the children and families utilizing this accessible accommodation. StayWell is proud to play a role in its success. To learn more about StayWell Suites Charity, visit www.staywellsuites.com.

StayWell Suites accommodated Bri and Oliver's families during their stay in hospital.

• Before StayWell, the only available options for accommodations were Ronald McDonald House and hotels. The suites at StayWell provide a new level of comfort for families during this difficult period. • ●To date, StayWell has provided 10 David Foster Foundation families 535 nights. • ●Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of traditional accommodations was greatly reduced. StayWell was able to fill this gap in accommodation options.



Kyle MacDonald & John Franklin Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in Partnership with Catalyst Capital Group

Meet the many faces of AWIN Group of Dealerships, Life Legacy Member of the Foundation.

Walter & Maria Schneider

Partner Spotlight:


ounded in 1988 by Pauline and Dr. Sylvester Chuang, AWIN’s first dealership was Volvo Villa. It was a small operation that quickly grew to offer from entry level models to luxury models, and as a result, catered to all sectors. A strong positive force anchored within its community, the AWIN Group of Dealerships employs more than 1,000 associates at 25 locations throughout Ontario. Beyond its impressive automotive presence, AWIN has demonstrated its leadership over the past several years by performing numerous acts of philanthropy on behalf of its community. In fact, during the pandemic, AWIN stepped up its commitment as an agile leader by making donations to hospitals in need and offering vehicle purchase discounts to many front-line workers. AWIN has worked diligently to cultivate a community presence that is both familiar and welcoming. With its focus on a culture centred on the true value of family, AWIN – along with its employees and customers – is what the Foundation seeks in an organic partnership. With AWIN’s support, the Foundation can now help even more families

Jim Pattison

We Are You. What do we mean when we say that? At AWIN, we don’t just operate within your community; we thrive as a member of your community. Our support, loyalty and commitment to all families in our neighbourhoods is why it felt so natural to partner with the David Foster Foundation, whose focus on supporting Canadian families nationwide mirrored our own priorities. We now look forward to continuing this special partnership. After all, when it comes to understanding the importance of family, AWIN and the David Foster Foundation are

not just there for you. WE ARE YOU

Jim & Sandi Treliving Joan & Paul Waechter

National Partners

Cares for Kids

Community Partners

meet the needs of their children, especially during these trying and challenging times.

To learn more about the AWIN Group of Dealerships, visit us today at awin.ca The David Foster Foundation


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