David Foster Foundation Spring 2024 Newsletter

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CELEBRATE the Gift of Life

Wes's Transplant Story

In 2008, Jennah was at her 20-week ultrasound when her doctor told her that her baby Wes had a complex congenital heart defect. Despite attempts at two open-heart repairs and catheterizations, the reality of needing a cardiac transplant loomed. Wes has spent time in and out of the hospital in his sixteen years of being alive and faced many struggles. On Thanksgiving 2022, a phone call from Wes's cardiologist at Sick Kids in Toronto set the family’s course — an urgent move to Toronto was necessary so that Wes’s medical team could officially list him for transplant because although the medical interventions Wes had received over the years were successful the only clear path forward was a new heart for him.

In just twenty-three days, Jennah and her partner moved with Wes, their 6-year-old son, and a 6-week-old baby to Toronto. This transition brought with it not only the hope of a life-saving transplant but also the challenges of adapting to a new city, leaving behind their jobs, their supportive community, and beloved pets, to stand by Wes's side as he awaited a life-saving gift.

Once the family arrived in Toronto, Wes was officially placed on the transplant list on November 23, 2022. As of April 1, 2024, the family continues to wait anxiously for the call that will change their lives.

Photo credit: Flytographer
CONTINUES ON PAGE 4 SPRING 2024 | VOLUME 43 Wes's Transplant Story 1 Message from the Chairman 2 Message from the CEO 2 Message from the SVP, 3 Fund Development Message from the Director 3 of Family Relations Wes's Transplant Journey 4 Continued April is National Donor Organ & Tissue 6 Awareness Month We Have the Power to Save Lives 7 Supporting Summer Camps 8 Introducing Our Newest National 10 Partners Thank You to All Our Partners 11 Save the Date 12 212 HENRY ST., VICTORIA, BC V9A 3H9 OFFICE: 250.475.1223 FAX: 250.475.1193 TOLL FREE: 1.877.777.7675 DAVIDFOSTERFOUNDATION.COM
Mom Jennahwith her partner John, brother Maverick, brother Oakley and Wes

Making A Meaningful Difference

Message from the Chairman

As we mark over three decades of dedicated service to children and families navigating the complexities of organ transplantation, I am deeply moved by the support and generosity that have propelled the David Foster Foundation forward.

Our journey, rooted in a vision to make a meaningful difference in the lives of transplant families, has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of our cherished partners. From our Community Partners to our National Partners and Life Legacy Members, each of you plays a vital role in our mission to provide essential support and assistance to those in need.

I am delighted to extend a welcome to our newest National Partner, LIVE! Incorporated. Your decision to

join our cause speaks volumes about your dedication to making a lasting impact on the lives of transplant families, and we are profoundly grateful for your support.

As we continue to navigate the challenges and triumphs inherent in our mission, I am reminded of the profound difference we can make when we unite in purpose and compassion. Together, we have achieved remarkable milestones, yet there is still much work to be done.

Thank you for your commitment to our cause. With your continued support, we will continue to create brighter futures for transplant families and inspire hope for generations to come.

Your ongoing support fuels our determination to expand our reach, raise awareness about the importance of organ donation, and provide critical assistance to even more families facing the journey of transplantation.

Let's Continue To Spread Awareness

Message from the Chief Executive Officer

As we step into April, a month dedicated to raising awareness about organ and tissue donation, I find myself reflecting on the impact of our collective efforts at the David Foster Foundation.

Spring, with its blossoming flowers and lengthening days, brings a sense of renewal and hope. Yet, for many families we support, this season can be overshadowed by the uncertainty of waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. It's during these moments that our mission to advocate for organ donation becomes even more critical. Every new registered organ donor represents hope for those in need, illuminating the path toward brighter tomorrows.


I am continually inspired by the generosity and selflessness of our supporters, partners, and the individuals who choose to become organ donors. I’d also like to extend a warm welcome to Michael DiCienzio and the entire LIVE! Incorporated group as our newest National Partner. With the support of our National Partners, we can continue to support families whose children are going through the life-saving organ transplant process.

Your support and commitment to our cause are truly invaluable. Together, let us continue to spread awareness and advocate for organ donation,

ensuring that every child in need receives the gift of life.

With sincere gratitude,

2 Spring 2024
Canadian Armed
Foundation Honourary Colonel
Tactical Fighter Squadron
Wes, who is waiting for a heart transplant, last year in Toronto with his mother, Jennah.

A Special Intro To Our National Partner

Message from SVP, Fund Development

It is my honour and sincere pleasure to welcome LIVE! Incorporated and the JW Marriott Muskoka, under the leadership and vision of President and Founder, Michael Dicienzo, as the Foundation’s newest National Partner.

When asking Michael what makes LIVE! Incorporated so special, his response was unequivocal, “We believe in the transformative power of entertainment. We are much more than just an entertainment company; we are the architects of unforgettable experiences. Our mission is to elevate the entertainment landscape in hotels, restaurants, and concert venues and turn each event into a symphony of excitement and pure delight.”

Amongst Michael’s impressive portfolio, he is the owner at the luxurious JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa. Muskoka is

a place that I like to call my second home and it holds so many wonderful memories. Imagine, traveling approximately 200 km north of Toronto to the breathtaking beauty of rugged landscape and crystal-clear water to the iconic cottage country of Muskoka, Ontario to stay at the magnificent property with year-round indoor and outdoor activities aplenty.

Based on my personal experience, indulge yourself, some may say, spoil yourself in the various restaurants, a fitness center, and a spa. Customer service excellence is their mantra and they do it extraordinarily well.

In addition to being on the magnificent Lake Rosseau, they are linked to two other magnificent lakes, Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka. Don’t forget your camera. As you are strolling through one of the wonderful close by country

Sharing Admiration for Family Strength

Message from Director of Family Relations

April is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month, an important reminder to register as an organ donor and talk to your family members and loved ones about organ donation.

Helping to illustrate what the transplant journey can be like for families is Wes’s story shared in this newsletter. Wes has been waiting for a heart transplant since 2022 in Toronto with his family. I invite you to learn more about Wes's journey on pages 1-5 and join us in raising awareness about the importance of organ donation.

There are many families that the Foundation assists like Wes who have spent the first quarter of 2024

sitting at their child’s hospital bed or at home, waiting to receive a call that there is an organ donor for their sick son or daughter. These months waiting are stressful and the resilience demonstrated is inspiring. In fact, there are currently over 4,000 Canadians on the waitlist for an organ transplant.

Through National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month, let us stand together in solidarity, advocating for increased awareness and support for those in need of life-saving transplants. By sharing stories like Wes's and championing the cause of organ donation, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of countless individuals, offering them the gift of renewed hope and possibility.

towns, you may very well run into some of the other cottagers such as Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Martin Short, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, Justin Bieber, Kevin O’Leary, celebs galore.

We are thrilled that over the next short while, we will be announcing some exciting joint entertainment ventures with Michael and the LIVE! Incorporated group.

Please welcome our new partners, LIVE! Incorporated, and stay tuned for new updates!

With sincere regards,

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

With heartfelt appreciation,

The David Foster Foundation


The toll of the transplant journey has been immense, both emotionally and financially. The Priestman family has exhausted all employment insurance benefits, lost their jobs, and depleted their savings. Amidst the challenges, the family’s social worker helped the family apply for support from the David Foster Foundation. The Foundation's financial support has assisted in covering accommodations in Toronto and alleviating some of the financial burdens back home. By relieving the stress of financial worries, the Foundation has allowed the Priestman family to focus their energy on what truly matters: Wes and his well-being.

Jennah emphasizes the impact of the David Foster Foundation with the following. "We are often asked 'How do you do it?' It comes down to not having a choice. We choose to fight for and with Wes every day because giving up isn't an option. Regardless of the emotional, physical, and financial cost of waiting for a deceased donor organ transplant for our son, we pay those costs with a grateful heart because as long as there is a cost, the fight is ongoing and there is hope."

Imagine having to choose between paying the rent, and holding your child's hand during painful procedures, or having to miss making memories with your terminally ill child to work. Thanks to the David Foster Foundation families like ours do not have to make those choices. The generous financial support that DFF provides gives children like mine the best medicine possible: their families.

The old adage "money doesn't buy happiness" I believe, is true, but what it can buy is time. Time is our most precious and fleeting resource. As parents, we never feel like there is enough time with our children as time passes in the blink of an eye. However, as parents of children requiring life-saving organ transplants, we feel time ticking away, holding our breath for a miracle before the clock runs out.

While the David Foster Foundation uses the money from their generous donors to pay for accommodations, food, bills at home, and more, what they're actually buying is time. The David Foster Foundation's unwavering and immeasurable support has proven there is no cost too great to make sure Wes has the support he needs to live to see his younger siblings grow up and perhaps see his Toronto Blue Jays win the series.”

Today, Wes requires a feeding tube, oxygen, and ventilation therapy at night, along with numerous medications and therapies to maintain his health as he awaits his life-saving transplant. Yet, amidst the medical complexities, the Priestman family remains steadfast in their hope and determination.

4 Spring 2024
Above: Wes and his mom Jennah in Toronto, ON. Below: Wes with his brothers, Oakley and Maverick. Far Right: Maverick, John, Jennah, Wes and Oakley in front of the CN Tower, Toronto, ON.

Wes, an avid Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors fan, now a vibrant and outgoing 16-year-old, finds joy in his passions for sports, reptiles, and spending time with his siblings. Despite his medical challenges, he approaches each day with resilience and a zest for life.

As they continue their journey, the Priestman family's story serves as an example of hope and resilience, reminding us of the transformative power of love, community, and the support of organizations like the David Foster Foundation.

The David Foster Foundation encourages you to consider registering as an organ donor.
Your selfless act has the power to save lives and offer hope to individuals like Wes, waiting for their second chance.
Every donor registration brings us one step closer to transforming lives and creating a brighter future for all.
Photo credit: Flytographer Wes at a Toronto Blue Jays Game posing with the team mascot with John, Jennah and Maverick.

APRIL IS… National Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Month

April marks National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month, a time dedicated to highlighting the critical need for organ donation and honouring those who have given the ultimate gift of life. We encourage you to take two minutes to register as an organ donor and share your wishes with your friends and family.

Your act of kindness holds the potential to offer hope to a family eagerly awaiting their child's second chance at life. To learn more about organ donation and to find out how you can register in your province or state, please visit davidfosterfoundation.com.

This is an important month for all of us to draw awareness to and the alarming numbers show the urgent need for organ donation. Just ask yourself, what if it was your life that needed to be saved? Let's spread the message together."

6 Spring 2024
Would you take two minutes to help save a life?
Organ donation is more than a gesture; it can be your legacy. We are all the key to making a positive change and have the power to save lives."
— David Foster, Founder & Chairman



• Over 4,000 Canadians are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

• Currently, those on the waitlist, the number of deaths works out to roughly 5 deaths per week and 1 death every 30 hours.

• 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives and improve the quality of life for up to 75 people.

• In 2022, 50% of living donors were from relatives and friends, while the remaining where unrelated donors.

• You are 6x more likely to need a transplant than to become an organ donor.

• DFF supported 29% of Canadian families whose child received a liver, kidney, heart or lung transplant in 2022.


Celebrating the spirit of organ donation, our team proudly wore our green shirts in honor of Green Shirt Day on Sunday, April 7. On this special occasion, we joined individuals nationwide to commemorate the legacy of Logan Boulet and raise awareness about the importance of registering as an organ donor.

The David Foster Foundation 7

Supporting Summer Camps

This summer, the David Foster Foundation is extending its support to three incredible organizations that provide opportunities for children awaiting or recovering from organ transplants to attend special camps across Canada!

Hello Camp Organizing Team, We

are very thankful for including our son in Camp Kivita! It was quite an experience for him. It was such a joy to see him happy and with so many friends at the camp when we came to pick him up. For an hour when we were driving home, his mouth would not close he wanted to tell us right away all the things he experienced at the camp. He loved fishing, playing soccer, climbing the great wall, and paddle boarding. He enjoyed his time with new friends, his cabin counsellors, and the camp staff. He enjoyed everything he was doing and loved the food. He definitely had a blast, and we can see that. He said that If he had a chance to go again he would go with joy even if tomorrow. We are very happy he had that chance to enjoy the time with other kids like him. It was a great experience. You guys really do great things for the kids.

— Thank you!

8 Spring 2024

Since its inception in 2008, Camp Kivita has provided children in Ontario who have received solid organ transplants and those living with organ failure a summer camp experience. It has been a haven for these brave youngsters, offering a safe and inclusive environment where they can thrive and create lifelong memories.

The Kidney Foundation brings together young Canadians aged 10-18 affected by kidney disease or those who have undergone kidney, lung, liver, or heart transplants at different summer camps across Canada. With a myriad of exciting activities such as water skiing, crafts, and hiking, these children are given the opportunity to bond with peers who understand their journey while enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood.

Based out of Vancouver, BC, the Children's Organ Transplant Society ensures that children and youth have access to a specialized transplant camp experience at Camp Latona Amidst the beauty of nature, campers engage in thrilling activities like ziplining and whale watching, all while forging friendships and embracing their unique medical journeys.

These camps, supported by the David Foster Foundation, provide far more than just recreational activities. They serve as important places where transplant kids can feel empowered and have fun. For many transplant recipients,

camp is not just a week-long adventure but a lifeline— a place where they can be their true selves without fear or judgment.

As we look ahead to another summer filled with laughter and camaraderie, let us celebrate the unwavering dedication of organizations like Camp Kivita, the Kidney Foundation, and the Children’s Organ Transplant Society in enriching the lives of children facing extraordinary challenges. Together, we can continue to provide hope, healing, and happiness to those who need it most.

The David Foster Foundation 9
Above: Group photo at Camp Kivita 2023 in Ontario. Left: Campers at a camp supported by the Kidney Foundation in 2022.


Life Legacy Members

The Anschutz Foundation

Jim and Sandi Treliving

James Wilson and Vivian Roy

Jim Pattison

Walter and Maria Schneider

Argyros Family Foundation

Joan and Paul Waechter

Kyle MacDonald and John Franklin

Newton Glassman Charitable Foundation in Partnership with Catalyst Capital Group

National Partners

Community Partners

Cares for Kids

11 The David Foster Foundation
Please visit davidfosterfoundation.com for further exciting announcements something BIG is about to hit HOLLYWOOD november 2 & 3 2024 stay tuned…
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