The Winter Foundation Report

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Winter 2019

Linda and Mika Palikko, grateful patients.

In This Issue:


Message from Our President and CEO

Idling in her car on Montreal Street, fingers crossed, Linda Palikko waited to see if she was going to pass the ultimate compatibility test in her more than twenty-year marriage: did she have the right blood type to give her husband, Mika, one of her kidneys?

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“I pulled off to the side of the road while the nurse from the Living Kidney Donor Program looked up my medical history to find my blood type,” says Linda. It was a pivotal moment and the first of many tests both she and Mika would have to pass in a healthcare odyssey that has brought the pair closer together than they ever imagined.


Continued on page 5.

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Message from our President and ceo My first message to you, as the new President and CEO of UHKF, comes during the holiday season—a time to reflect upon the past year and look forward to the beginning of a new one. This year, I am especially grateful to have landed here in Kingston and I look forward to all that the new year has to offer. After more than three decades in the philanthropic sector, I continue to be heartened by the outpouring of generosity, especially during the holidays. Donors like you have choices about where to give and when you choose to give to health care. I want you

Tamás (Tom) Zsolnay, President and CEO

to know that your donation is valued. But more than anything I want you to know that your donation is an investment with a real return. The story of Lori McKee and Dr. Borschneck (pg. 2) is an excellent example of this. A grateful patient makes a donation with the hope that it will pay dividends to others. In this case the value consists of immeasurable benefits: pain-free living, a faster recovery, and a swifter return to healthy living. Traditionally, this space has belonged to the Foundation’s President and CEO but if giving way to someone who can speak, first-hand, to the impact you are having makes better sense, that’s what I will do. The most important thing I can do is make sure you always know that your investment is in good hands.

“Miracle Worker” surgeon goes the distance for PATIENTS After her one-year check-up this past May, Lori McKee was, “just so thankful.” “I had been in so much pain—bone on bone, my disc was pretty much gone. Dr. Borshneck gave me back my quality of life and for that I am grateful,” says Lori. On May 22, 2018, the Peterborough woman underwent a minimallyinvasive L4/L5 spinal fusion thanks to the man she calls a “miracle worker,” Dr. Dan Borschneck, an orthopedic surgeon at KHSC and chair of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine at Queen’s University. “I was over a year trying to get someone to take me as a patient,” she says, recalling her long struggle with pain.

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On Thursday, September 5, UHKF celebrated the arrival of its new President and CEO, Tamás (“Tom”) Zsolnay. Zsolnay has made the nearly 5,000 km journey to Kingston with his wife, Caroline, from the University of Victoria where he served as Associate Vice-President, Alumni & Development.

“Where other doctors had said ‘No’, Dr. Borschneck said ‘Yes.’” Lori McKee is grateful for the surgery that restored her to pain-free living, and Dr. Borschneck is grateful for the generosity of a previous patient whose donation helped to make her procedure possible in the first place. “I was able to do that surgery,” says Dr. Borschneck, “because of a high-definition camera and magnifying lenses we were able to purchase thanks to that patient’s gift.” “When I first met Dr. Borschneck,” says Lori, “I told him, ‘I just want to get back on my bike.’ And he said, ‘I’ll get you back on your bike in a couple of months.’” With permanent rods and screws, Lori did get back on her bike. She joined Dr. Borschneck to kick-off UHKF’s lifeCYCLE event on September 8 which raised more than $18,000. 3 | WINTER 2019

Krista Wells Pearce, Vice-President, Planning & Corporate Support Services for Providence Care, Vice-President, Planning at KHSC, at the construction site of Providence Care Hospital in 2016.

Excitement building for new and improved Providence Manor Krista Wells Pearce is no stranger to long-term projects. “It’s the nature of our business,” she says, “any project needing government approval is going to be a long haul.” As Vice-President, Planning & Corporate Support Services for Providence Care and the Vice-President, Planning at KHSC, Wells Pearce has spent the past seventeen years leading multiple redevelopment projects in Kingston. She says vision is essential to staying energized on the long road to completion. “We all come to work to provide healthcare services to people who need us. For me and my team our goal is to make each person’s experience more comfortable. That is our fuel.” Comfort is a major factor in the planning for Providence Care’s new Providence Manor. Wells Pearce first began work on the project in 2012. She admits anticipation is building as plans for the new home continue to come together. Continued on pg. 6

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 115 Gives Generously On October 21, 2019, KHSC’s Board of Directors and UHKF celebrated a gift of $25,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 115. Since their first donation to UHKF in 1999, IBEW have provided more than $51,000 in support of health care in our region.

Spotlight on Redevelopment: KHSC’s WORLD-CLASS CLINICAL LABORATORIES Dr. Graeme Quest is an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, and Director of Transfusion Medicine and Immunology at KHSC. How specialized is the laboratory work surrounding organ donations? The histocompatibility laboratory is highly specialized: KHSC is only one of five transplant laboratories in the province. When there is an organ available, making sure it is safe for that patient is job number one. How would you describe tissuetyping, in layperson’s terms? Tissue typing, and cross-matching are vital to determining if an organ will be a match for that patient. Every 4 | WINTER 2019

one of our cells bears a signature of our tissue: that’s how our body tells the difference between what is us versus what is an infection. It’s our job to play matchmaker before the transplant happens – making sure the recipient isn’t already primed to attack and reject that organ. We also help identify rejection if it does happen, which helps guide and monitor treatment with immune suppression. How will new Clinical Laboratories improve patient outcomes?

happen without this highly-skilled lab work, so new technology and constant improvement is at the heart of securing the best outcomes for patients. We have the potential to build a truly great lab that is better-suited to keeping up with today’s technology as well as training new technologists, but right now the space is too tight to accommodate learners or new equipment. In the past two years we’ve improved tissue typing turnaround time from eight hours to two and a half but more improvements are needed.

Organ transplantation cannot

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EMBRACING A BRIGHTER, HEALTHIER FUTURE Continued from page 1. As she merged back into traffic that day, Linda felt relieved, having received a green light on her blood type. With this hurdle overcome she was able to move to the next stage of compatibility testing, what she calls the “running the gauntlet” phase of the living organ donation journey, which took almost a year. Linda says the quiet intervals between the various tests—not knowing if she’d get more green lights— was the toughest part. At the age of 19, Mika Palikko was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. “My kidneys failed as a result of that,” he says. In recent years, Mika’s creatinine levels had been climbing, and attempts to control the growing toxicity in his body with diet and other therapies had failed. By February 2018, Mika’s doctors told him he was in the end stages of his disease. The next steps were dialysis and transplant. Linda and Mika, who live in 5 | WINTER 2019

Napanee but work in Kingston, are grateful to have had access to Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), one of only five transplant centres in Ontario. Nearly a year after the day she said “Test me!” Linda Palikko got the ultimate green light. “It was in December, I was sitting at my desk when the hospital called to say, ‘We’re going to surgery.’” February 26, 2019, the day of the transplant surgery, marked the dawning of a new day in the couple’s lives. “It totally changed our quality of life,” says Linda, “We were able to get back to the things we like to do.” “I was in ICU for five days after the surgery,” says Mika, “and was walking after two and a half days.” Linda returned home after two days. Today, the pair is the picture of good health. They are grateful for all the support they have received from friends and co-workers, as well as from KHSC’s Living Kidney Donor

Program.“It has given us our life back.” Mika, who has recently returned to work full-time, says he feels fantastic. “I carried sixty pounds of water for over a year. I’ve got a 35 year-old body back!” Mika is not shy to brag about Linda’s “superstar kidney” that, according to surgeons, kicked into high gear as soon as it became part of him. From Mika’s standpoint, the couple’s matching status has never been called into question. “Linda and I met in 1991,” he recalls, “and in less than eight weeks I proposed to her.” There was never any doubt in his mind about the eventual compatibility of the living organ transplant. “From the first day I didn’t see any other outcome. I had hope.”

It has given us our life back.” - Mika, grateful patient



report Winter 2019

The current landlocked site of Providence Care’s Providence Manor.

Excitement building for new and improved Providence Manor Continued from page 3. “What excites me the most is the positive impact that the new building is going to have on the residents, families, and staff who are with us when we move: rooms will be larger, and there will be more daylight throughout the building.”

“We all come to work to provide healthcare services to people who need us. For me and my team our goal is to make each person’s experience more comfortable. That is our fuel.” - Krista Wells Pearce, Vice-President, Planning & Corporate Support Services for Providence Care, Vice-President, Planning at KHSC

The new site at Providence Village—the park-like, historical Motherhouse property in the centre of Kingston owned by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul—is going to be life changing. “We’re going to have so much more green space for residents to enjoy,” says Wells Pearce. “I was at the site just recently and took a moment to just stand and look at the site. I had a flashback of when we did the land-planning exercises for the Providence Care Hospital. It’s incredible to have a green space to work with.” As these projects go, she says, “It’s going to be a great one!”

COME LIMBO WITH US IN YOUR BEST ISLAND WEAR! Aloha! Join us for a Hawaiian Luau on March 28, 2020 at Ban Righ Hall for UHKF’s annual Benefit Dinner. Dress in your vibrant tropical attire, enjoy music and live entertainment as you hula through the night. For more information, visit 55 Rideau Street, Suite 4 Kingston ON, K7K 2Z8 613.549.5452