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Posts Tagged "benefits"

11Oct

Town Talk: A Night To Dream gala benefits expanding Ronald McDonald House

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


Seen with singer-lawyer-artist-wife Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, artist-carver and Order of Canada member Robert Davidson is the subject of director Charles Wilkinson’s feature-length documentary, Haida Modern.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

SWEET DREAMING: Ronald McDonald House’s recent A Night to Dream gala was a recurring one for Lindsey Turner, who chaired it for the fourth consecutive time. The 17th annual event reportedly grossed $680,000 to help accommodate the 2,000-a-year families who occupy the 73-suite facility for an average 13-day stay. CEO Richard Pass and new board chair Patrick McGuinty may soon announce that up to 52 suites will be added to five-year-old Ronald McDonald House on the B.C. Children’s Hospital campus. Four-bedroom satellites are also expected beside Royal Columbian Hospital and Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. They’ll duplicate one at Surrey Memorial Hospital.


Ronald McDonald House CEO Richard Pass and four-time Night of Dreams gala chair Lindsey Turner saw that event reportedly grossed $680,000.

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MODEL CITIZEN: Masset-raised artist Robert Davidson is the subject of Charles Wilkinson’s documentary, Haida Modern, that premiered during the recent Vancouver International Film Festival. Called “a protégé and friend” by celebrated late carver Bill Reid, Davidson also perceives the Haida tradition not as inviolable rules but as the basis for evolving, living art. His own wide-ranging artworks include gold coins that the Canadian Mint released to accompany his 1997 elevation to the Order of Canada. $50,000 in ordinary currency came his way in 2010 with the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement. “I’ve been thinking about a new car,” the ever-modest Davidson said before cheerfully admitting that he’d forwarded the entire amount to fund post-secondary bursaries for Haida Gwaii students.


Former B.C. Lions coach-GM Wally Buono’s wife Sandy and their four children attended his induction into the Italian Cultural Centre’s Hall of Fame.

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FELICE ANNIVERSARIO: Italian Cultural Centre president Michael Cuccione welcomed community members to a recent 42nd anniversary fundraising gala. Such events have been staged annually since 13 Italian associations founded the Slocan-at-Grandview “Il Centro” on a 3.25-hectare former city dump site. This year, Cuccione inducted former B.C. Lions football team head coach and general manager Wally Buono into the centre’s Hall of Fame. Happily, his old team defeated the Toronto Argonauts 55-8 the following day. Buono likely approved the teamwork when catering director Fabio Rasotto’s kitchen squad served the centre’s fourth full-capacity banquet that week, then repeated it the following night when the Confratellanza Italo-Canadese Society honoured longtime community benefactor John DeLucchi.


Susan Mendelson celebrated her Lazy Gourmet catering firm’s 40th anniversary made possible by her policy of hiring “people better than me.”

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BON APPÉTIT: Lazy Gourmet owner Susan Mendelson celebrated her catering firm’s 40th anniversary at the Roundhouse Community Centre recently. She likely didn’t foresee that when a UBC arts-and-social-work degree scored her a $350-a-month job at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, now the Cultch. To meet her rent, she made carrot cake, cheesecake and Nanaimo bars for sale during intervals. She and friend Deborah Roitberg then founded Lazy Gourmet, but Mendelson’s brush with dramatics continued. That was when “two beat-up cars jammed in (a departing customer) and all these scruffy-looking people were waving guns.” Suspecting that it wasn’t part of an earlier movie shoot, Mendelson asked if she should call the cops. “We are the cops,” one fracas member replied. Her business maxim: “I always hired people who were better than me.” That doubtless pleased seven-year general manager Kevin Mazzone at the anniversary beano.


Actor-moviemaker Mark Oliver, who recently screened his 2018 short, Elvis Strung Out, likely benefitted from previous generations of showbiz pros.

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Mark Oliver’s parents, Jeanne and H.A.D (Bert), show the latter with Second World War medals and French, German and Liberian Orders of Merit.

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TREES AND APPLE: Actor-moviemaker Mark Oliver, who recently screened his 2018 short Elvis Strung Out, may appreciate late singer Judy Garland’s lyrics: “I was born in a trunk in the Princess Theater in Pocatello, Idaho.” Oliver has a trunkful of theatrical antecedents himself. Grandfather David Oliver owned theatres and produced films in 1910s and 1920s Germany. Grandmother Edith was a screen actress. A great grandmother danced with the Kirov ballet. Oliver’s late Berlin-born father, H.A.D. (Bert) Oliver, sidestepped the stage to study with a London firm of solicitors founded in 1560. “But inside every solicitor there’s a barrister struggling to get out,” he said after moving to Vancouver and pleading criminal law cases. But the theatrical gene survived. One of Bert’s many acquittals involved him holding up a pre-punctured cup of water that dripped steadily for 30 seconds. Then, facing the judge (he later became one himself), he said: “This decidedly reminds me of the case for the Crown.”


Rupa and Rana Vig staged a 100 Year Journey gala based on a same-name book he published following his and brother Minto’s Mehfil magazine.

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CENTENARIANS: Rana and Rupa Vig staged another 100 Year Journey gala recently. The annual event began in 2014 along with a same-name book marking the centennial of Canadian officials turning back South Asians aboard the ship Komagata Maru. The book, which contains illustrated accounts of 103 successful immigrants and their families, was developed from Mehfil, a glossy magazine that Rana and brother Minto founded in 1993. Four years later, then-premier Glen Clark called Rana “a politician in the making.” Evading that dubious assessment, he achieved something comparable in 1994 by becoming a diamond-direct dealer of the Amway multi-level marketing firm.


Pamela Anderson may break out her self-named wine should there be a successful outcome to her protesting a Port Moody park’s proposed roadway.

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BOTTOMS UP: Actress and animal-activist Pamela Anderson has joined others opposing a proposed roadway through a Port Moody park. If successful, they could celebrate with toasts of Anderson’s name-brand wine. That would be a step-up from the tankerloads of Baby Duck produced by Port Moody’s old Andre’s winery. Coincidentally, that concern’s former site is contentious, too, with three towers and nine lower buildings now proposed.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Brexiteering Britons may ruefully sing Three Blind Mice on that children’s rhyme’s 510th anniversary Oct. 12.

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13Sep

Town Talk: Treana Peake’s at-home rock concert benefits South Sudanese people

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ENCORE: Fancy having the Nickelback band and signers Barney Bentall, Jim Cuddy, Shawn Hook and Stephen Kellogg perform at your Gleneagles waterfront home. That happened when the Obakki clothing line owner, Treana Peake, staged the second annual White Envelope fundraiser at her, spouse Ryan and neighbour Judith Stewart’s estate-style properties. Ryan is a Nickelback band member. The event reportedly raised $400,000 to help sustain the Obakki Foundation’s educational, clean-water and other sustainable projects in South Sudan and nearby nations. Treana welcomed former South Sudanese child soldier Emmanuel Jal who is now a Toronto-based singer, screen actor (The Good Lie), political activist and leadership lecturer. His maxim: “Turn your eyes inside yourself and, as you change, saturate yourself with information that can enhance your new skills.”


At his Gleneagles home, Nickelback guitarist-songwriter Ryan Peake joined Barney Bentall and others to entertain White Envelope fundraiser guests.

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REVVED UP: The recent 10th annual Luxury & Supercar Weekend brought more exotic vehicles than ever to VanDusen Botanical Garden. As usual, a previous-evening reception filled Niels and Nancy Bendtsen’s Inform Interiors store.


With much high-end merchandise of their own, Inform Interiors owners Neils and Nancy Bendtsen always host Luxury & Supercar preliminary receptions.

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Luxury & Supercar Weekend co-organizer Nadia Iadisernia’s ensemble complemented a McLaren 720S Coupe beside Gastown’s Inform Interiors store.

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Cars inside included the show’s darling, a battery-powered 1,900-horsepower Pininfarina Battista costing around $3.5 million. That would get you a tasty West Vancouver home or, to those fully exploiting the Battista’s mojo, perhaps a visit to crowbar hotel. On the Inform store’s Water Street sidewalk, a 720-horsepower McLaren 720S Coupe was tagged at $401,910. The sky-blue coupe complemented L&S Weekend co-principal Nadia Iadisernia’s Ferrari-red Diane von Furstenberg dress and Ferragamo heels that together cost less than the $1,460 needed for the McLaren’s optional coloured brake calipers.


Danny Jadresko showed his 2,510-horsepower 1964 Pontiac Acadian to Luxury & Supercar Weekend principal Craig Stowe at VanDusen Botanical Garden.

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FANCY DANNY: Parked beside swanky-panky dreamboats on the VanDusen lawn, an Ontario-built Pontiac Acadian cost maybe $3,000 in 1964. Today, having gained a 10.3-litre, twin-turbo engine developing 2,510 horsepower, it could be worth $1 million. That said, not much, if anything, remains of the ho-hum two-door sedan that Victoria-based Danny Jadresko bought in 1983. He and bride Sandy later honeymooned in it. With son Cody, and aided by Quebec-based custom-car builder J.F. Launier, the Jadreskos spent 18 years developing the Acadian into a “street outlaw” that can blow the doors of most European exotics. Meanwhile, their W&J Construction and Woodsmere Holdings firms opened the doors to thousands of single- and multi-unit homes they’d built, including 600 units in Langford that rent for $800 to $1,200 monthly.


Some royalties from school principal David Starr’s Like Joyful Tears, part-edited by wife and vice-principal Sharon, benefit the Obakki Foundation.

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HOMEWORK: For the principal of Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Secondary, David Starr, it entails writing books. His refugee-themed debut work, From Bombs to Books, and its seven successors were aimed at young readers. The latest, Like Joyful Tears, “is my first big-boy book,” Starr said. It has a Canadian woman help a South Sudanese massacre survivor relocate to Canada. Starr’s novel was aided by his own dealings with refugees, and polished by editor-wife Sharon, who is vice-principal at Port Moody Secondary. Partial royalties from it benefit the Obakki Foundation.


A 65_RedRoses film still of the late Eva Markvoort overlooked Oscar winners David Fine and Alison Snowden who lives with transplanted lungs.

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BREATH AND LIFE: At the Vancouver Playhouse recently, Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji screened, 65_RedRoses, their 2009 film about since-deceased cystic fibrosis patient Eva Markvoort. The fundraising event promoted CF awareness and organ donation. Although the lauded movie wasn’t an Oscar contender, attendees Alison Snowden and David Fine won one for their animated short, Bob’s Birthday, and earned three other Oscar nominations. Like Markvoort, Snowden received donated lungs, but survived. After a virus destroyed her own, Snowden was put into an induced coma for a month and deemed to be too weak for transplant surgery. Business and personal partner Fine said “a breakthrough idea” entailed awakening her and rebuilding strength during non-stop treatment by ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) heart-lung-bypass technology. It worked. Donated lungs arrived, Dr. John Yee undertook the surgery, and Fine and the recovering Snowden completed another Oscar-nominated short, Animal Behaviour. Snowden’s proposed acceptance speech at the February, 2019 Academy Awards ceremony would have praised VGH, her surgical team and Canadian medicine generally. However, the award went to Toronto director-writer Domee Shi’s Bao.


The Sequoia Quartet’s Catherine Teng, Kai Chow, David Han and Davin Mar demonstrated the prowess of VSO School of Music students.

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BRAVO: The effectiveness of the 16-year-old VSO School of Music was clear when four students performed at Ronald McDonald House recently. Sequoia String Quartet violinists Catherine Teng, 16, and Kai Chow, 15, violist Davin Mar, 14, and cellist David Han, 13, played works by Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi and others, with intelligence, clarity and youthful confidence.


Wally Buono, here with Moray Keith of a syndicate seeking to buy the B.C. Lions team, will be inducted into the Italian Cultural Centre’s Hall of Fame.

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FOOTBALL FAME: B.C. Lions fans still sang “Roar, you Lions, roar” in 2003 when Pasquale “Wally” Buono left the Calgary Stampeders to be the local team’s head coach. Roar they did, through five West Division championships, two Grey Cup wins and one loss (2004 to the Toronto Argonauts). After retiring in 2018, Potenza-born Buono will be inducted into the Italian Cultural Centre’s Hall of Fame Oct. 4 and possibly called “the pride of all B.C.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: As we consider electing more parliamentarians with no more authority than pets on a leash, a Scottish high court judge has ruled that parliament’s role in scrutinizing the government is a central pillar of the UK’s constitution, which follows naturally from the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

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1Sep

Real benefits to stenting multiple blocked arteries, not just the one that caused a heart attack, study says

by admin

Unblocking additional plaque or cholesterol-clogged coronary arteries with stents after a heart attack — instead of just the one that caused the heart attack — leads to a reduction in the risk of dying or having another heart attack, a multinational study involving B.C. experts and patients shows.

Experts predict the “landmark” study will have immediate implications for heart attack patients as interventional cardiologists will now stent additional coronary arteries with significant narrowing (more than 70 per cent) instead of just the culprit artery that caused the heart attack. There are three major coronary arteries and when heart attack patients have one blocked artery, it is not unusual to see blockages in the others, referred to as multi-vessel coronary artery disease.

The study began in 2013 at hospitals in 31 countries, predominately in Europe and North America. It was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and was presented as a late-breaking session at the World Congress of Cardiology in France.

The COMPLETE study, as it is called, involved 4,041 patients (200 in Vancouver) who were followed for about three years. All patients got stents in the culprit arteries as an emergency rescue measure. But in one arm of the study, half were then released from the hospital and prescribed the usual post-angioplasty medications while in the other study arm, patients had their other blocked arteries stented in what is called complete revascularization, either at the same time as the heart attack causing culprit stenting or within 45 days.


Participants in the COMPLETE trial

Deaths from heart disease, further heart attacks or related to the medical procedure occurred in 179 patients (8.9 per cent) in the complete revascularization group, compared to 339 (16.7 per cent) of those who had only one stent put in.

After a median followup of three years, the risk of a second heart attack or death from heart disease occurred in 7.8 per cent of the patients who had complete revascularization while it was 10.5 per cent in those who got one stent.

“In the past, the gestalt was you do an immediate angioplasty to open the culprit blocked artery and then do less with the other ones, put patients on meds and monitor them instead of fixing the additional blockages at the same time or right after,” said Dr. David Wood, the Vancouver co-principal investigator and director of the Vancouver General Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

“But in this study, the results show that doing more stenting, even within the first 45 days after the heart attack, was beneficial. There was a 26 per cent reduction in the patients’ risk of dying or having another heart attack.”


Dr. David Wood and Dr. John Cairns at Vancouver General Hospital. The pair participated in the COMPLETE trial, focusing on the effect of stenting additional arteries of heart attack victiims. Photo: Arlen Redekop/Postmedia

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Dr. Shamir Mehta, the principal investigator of the study led by McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, said the data shows that there are benefits to clearing all the arteries and no major downside to the additional procedures.

“Given its large size, international scope and focus on patient-centred outcomes, the COMPLETE trial will change how doctors treat this condition and prevent many thousands of recurrent heart attacks globally every year,” said Mehta, an interventional cardiologist and a senior scientist at the Population Health Research Institute.

Dr. John Cairns, a Vancouver cardiologist who is the former dean of UBC medical school and a study collaborator said: “(Additional) blockages should be fixed in the first 45 days after a patient’s initial heart attack.”

Leslie Carey was one of the trial participants. In 2015, the Burnaby resident had a heart attack while riding a bus to work,

Carey’s chest pains were so severe that he got off the bus and called 911. Paramedics quickly attended to him in a nearby parking lot, whisking him off to VGH.

Life was stressful at the time but his health was pretty good, or so he thought.

“I didn’t have high blood pressure or diabetes but I was taking meds on and off for cholesterol,” said the 58-year old marine administrator for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.

Right after a coronary artery was stented, Carey said he felt so much better. His chest pain was gone. Since he was randomly assigned to the trial arm of patients who would get further treatment, he then had another stent inserted into another partly blocked artery. And months later, yet another stent was added so he now has three stents propping open his major coronary arteries.

“I’m fully wired now,” said Carey.

About 20,000 B.C. residents have diagnostic angiograms and angioplasties — usually with stents — each year and another 2,000 have open heart surgery, which is indicated for more serious cases and for patients with diseases like diabetes, according to a Cardiac Services B.C. provincial registry.


Leslie Carey had a heart attack while on a bus to work at Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and had three stents put in. Photo: Arlen Redekop/Postmedia

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Mehta said patients who had angioplasties were on the right medications to reduce their risk of a heart attack. No one should jump to the conclusion that the medications weren’t effective.

“We don’t know if the same benefit of angioplasty would be there if they were not on the medication. The angioplasty can be considered as an add-on to the medications to prevent further events.”

Mehta, Cairns and Wood agreed that doing more angioplasties on patients with heart attacks is not going to overburden the Canadian health care system. A future study may look at the economics of “front-loading” angioplasties and Cairns said he thinks there could be some cost efficiencies in addition to health benefits.

“We are well equipped in Canada to perform the additional procedures, particularly since the trial shows they can be done any time within 45 days of the index (first) heart attack,” said Mehta.

The median age of trial participants was about 62 and 80 per cent were male. Study authors said that is because more men have large heart attacks.  About 50 per cent of study participants had high blood pressure and 40 per cent were smokers. Just under 40 per cent had high cholesterol.

The study cost over $14 million; $3 million came from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and just over $11 million from Boston Scientific and AstraZeneca. The companies had no role in trial design, analysis or manuscript writing, according to the authors.

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11May

Town Talk: Gallery gala benefits Lions Gate Hospital just up the road

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Farah Sayani chaired and Lions Gate Hospital Foundation chair Pierre Lebel aided a gala at the North Vancouver waterfront Polygon Gallery that reportedly netted $1.2 million for new-technology services.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

HOSPITAL AID: It’s hard to beat the cross-harbour view from the Polygon Gallery at the foot of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Avenue.

But those who gathered there recently were figuratively looking the other way and 15 blocks up the hill to Lions Gate Hospital. Chaired by Farah Sayani, a 19th-annual event reportedly netted close to $1.2 million to support new-technology services at a hospital that recently completed a $100-million medical-and-surgical campaign. Ian Telfer and wife Nancy Burke represented the event’s published title sponsor, Goldcorp Inc., which was acquired by Newmont Mining Corp. recently to become Newmont Goldcorp. Perhaps relieved by events, Goldcorp chair Telfer looked a decade younger, as Burke always does.


Nancy Burke and long-time Goldcorp chair Ian Telfer represented the previously sold firm as the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation gala’s title sponsor.

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TOASTING SISTERS: It takes chutzpah to stage alcohol-themed events in high-performance-car showrooms. But Cheryl Nakamoto and Cam and Sarah McNeill’s Grape Juice wine tasting and auction in Asgar Verji’s Weissach Porsche showroom reportedly added $84,000 to a 12-year total nearing $900,000. This recent sum will elevate 42 girls from Big Sisters of Lower Mainland’s 137 wait-list, said executive director Hanne Madsen. She’s also pleased to launch Big Sisters’ Career Camp program for 36 girls in Grades 10 to 12 to spend a two-overnight July weekend readying for university at her Simon Fraser alma mater. Madsen, meanwhile, fancied a 1963 Porsche 356 coupe that would have cost her $100,000-plus.


Cam McNeill, Cheryl Nakamoto and Sarah McNeill’s Grape Juice event reportedly benefitted Big Sisters of Lower Mainland to the tune of $84,000.

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Big Sisters of Lower Mainland’s Hanne Madsen figured a $100,000-range 1963 Porsche 356 coupe would be an engaging alternative to her Honda Odyssey.

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TOUGH TIMES REVISITED: Williams Lake sisters Jeeti, Kira and Salakshan Poonin’s childhood years of sexual abuse are a quarter century behind them. Now residing in Vancouver, they had the courage to recount youthful anguish, along with challenges to the legal system and non-protecting parents, in director Baljit Sangra’s 85-minute movie Because We are Girls. Encouraging other women to not stay silent about abuse, it opened the recent DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver as part of the Justice Forum series.


Jeeti, Salakshana and Kira Poonin backed Baljit Sangra whose Because We Are Girls documentary revealed their quarter-century-past sexual abuse.

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CHOCS AWAY: Caren McSherry’s Hastings-off-Clark Gourmet Warehouse filled up recently with folks munching on chocolate in order to help children who seldom get that chance. That was when Firefighter of The Year Justin Mulcahy and Vancouver Firefighter Charities executive director James Docherty staged a contest between seven chocolatiers ranging from Christopher Bonzon to Thomas Haas. Mentored by Daniel Capadouca, Okanagan College’s Jalayne Jones won, and the event reportedly raised $21,000 for Snacks For Kids, Project Chef and the Strathcona Community Centre Backpack Program.


Dotty Kanke and Caren McSherry tempted firefighter Justin Mulcahy when the Chocolate Challenge event benefited children deprived of foodstuffs.

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LIONS’ PRIDE: The Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club celebrated its 65th anniversary at Keefer Street’s Floata restaurant recently. Close to 700 banqueters, including club president David Mao and event committee and three-time Lion of the Year chair Syrus Lee, saw non-member Richard K. Wong receive the organization’s Medal of Merit. Hong Kong-born former banker Wong was cited for “promoting intrinsic Canadian ideals of diversity, harmony and inclusion.” He continues to be involved in dozens of community and charitable endeavours. Wife Grace is feted for public service, too, not least as the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. community-service agency’s former chair. The Wongs also attended the club’s flag-raising ceremony on a newly installed pole in the adjacent Memorial Square. Possibly more delighted was 97-year-old former Master Warrant Officer George Chow, who fought with Canadian troops at the June 6, 1944 Normandy landing and the liberation of Holland. His many medals include that of the French Legion of Honour. Still, Victoria-born Chow’s long ambition was to see the Canadian flag fly over Vancouver’s Chinatown. Objective realized.


Former S.U.C.C.E.S.S. service agency chair Grace Wong saw the Chinatown Lions Club honor husband George’s countless community works.

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Consul General of China Tong Xiaoling congratulated George Chow, 97, who fought at the 1944 Normandy landings and then for the liberation of Holland.

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TRUTH TO TELL: Chinatown Lions Club board member and accounting firm principal Hebron Shyng expressed an amusing but pertinent opinion of the Canadian Revenue Agency: “I’d like to thank the CRA, without whose incomprehensible regulations I wouldn’t have a job.”

SLOW SPEEDSTERS: Most of the 250 police-escorted cars nose-to-tailing to Whistler in the recent Diamond Rally would have cost well over $100,000. Still, along with Luxury and Supercar Weekend and other related events, the rally has been money in the bank for Craig Stowe and Nadia Iadisernia. With collector-enthusiast Robbie Dixon, they have enjoined owners of cars that can exceed posted speeds three times over to putter along rural blacktop and benefit various charities as an option to startling pedestrians by razzing around downtown streets.


Diamond Rally organizers Craig Stowe and Nadia Iadisernia saw this Mercedes-Benz AMG GTR and 250 other exotics prepare for a Whistler roundtrip.

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CHERRY CHEERY: Linda Poole celebrated another Cherry Blossom Festival by staging Sakura Night in the Stanley Park Pavilion. Seven restaurants, from Benkei Ramen to Zen, served Japanese-themed cuisine, and five beer and wine purveyors helped attendees wash it down. Among the latter, Stanley Park Brewing general manager Doug Devlin said that the firm’s long-gestating restaurant-brew pub should open in the park’s 2016-closed Fish House premises by mid-June. Ten location-only beers will be served alongside the firm’s six existing one, Devlin said. The 260-seat restaurant will be managed by Andre Bourque and Ryan Moreno’s Surrey-based Joseph Richard Group as the first Vancouver operation in their Richmond-to-Chilliwack chain.


Linda Poole, who stages the Cherry Blossom Festival’s Sakura Night, always counts on be-gowned friend Daphne Crocetti to fly in from Switzerland.

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Plying beer at a Cherry Blossom Festival event, Neesha Hothi and Doug Devlin said Stanley Park Brewing’s brew-pub reopening of the Fish House is nigh.

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DOWN PARRYSCOPE: While Queen Victoria might finally be amused to have a great-great-great-great-great-grandson named Archie, his great-grandma, Queen Elizabeth, would doubtless welcome a Betty.

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2May

B.C. study finds no mental health benefits to eating human placenta

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New research debunks the supposed mental health benefits of eating your own placenta.

UBC and the B.C. Mental Health and Substance Use Services’ Research Institute says their study found no difference in the mental health of mothers who had eaten their placenta versus those who had not.

The data came from a 10-year genetic study involving 138 women with a history of mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder. Lead investigator Jehannine Austin says the comparison took into account a mother’s psychiatric diagnosis, medication use, age and income.


A woman grinds dehydrated human placenta.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

She says moms who had consumed their placenta did not have more energy, had no increase in their vitamin B12 levels, and required no less help breastfeeding than those who had not consumed their placentas. She adds that eating one’s placenta also did not appear to worsen mental health.

Nevertheless, Austin discourages the practice in light of Health Canada’s warning late last year that it could lead to bacterial or viral infections in mothers or their babies.

Austin’s study was published online Thursday in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

Proponents of human placenta preparations believe it helps prevent postpartum depression, overcome anemia, increase energy levels and boost breast milk production.


In this file photo taken on November 3, 2018, Kim Kardashian-West arrives for the 2018 LACMA Art+Film Gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California.

CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Alicia Silverstone and Hilary Duff are among the famous moms who have popularized the trend, in which the organ is sometimes dehydrated and put into capsules, but it has drawn increasing scrutiny in the medical community.

“People are taking them because they see celebrities in the news doing it and they talk about their experience with doing it and so other women think, ‘Oh that sounds like a good idea,”‘ said Austin, executive director of the research institute and a professor in medicine at UBC.

“But the point that we’re trying to really make, having analyzed our data, is that there’s no evidence from our study to suggest that this actually helps in any way.

“It doesn’t help with mood, it doesn’t help with energy, it doesn’t help with nutrition levels and it doesn’t help with breastfeeding.”


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8Jan

‘Abuse is possible’ with B.C. nurses’ unlimited massage benefits

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Unlike most other public and private employees, nurses do not have a limit on the number of massages they and their family members can get each year and there are no co-pays.


Unlike most other public and private employees, nurses do not have a limit on the number of massages they and their family members can get each year and there are no co-pays.


David De Lossy / Getty Images files

The B.C. Nurses Union is investigating how one nurse’s family managed to use $174,000 in massage therapy benefits over the course of a year through the taxpayer-funded extended benefits plan.

This amid a raging controversy triggered by news that public health care employers spent $31 million in nurses’ massage therapy costs in 2017, a 900-per-cent increase from 2008.

Unlike most other public and private employees, nurses do not have a limit on the number of massages they and their family members can get each year and there are no co-pays; massages are 100 per cent employer paid at rates up to $110 per hour.

According to BCNU contract bargaining documents, a disproportionate number of nurses are using most of the massage benefits. Twenty-one per cent ate up 82 per cent of the expenditure on massage therapy.  The vast majority — 80 per cent — of union members used less than $1,000 per year in such benefits.

But there are cases of apparent abuse, according to nurses union CEO Umar Sheikh.

In a town hall question and answer teleconference for nurses soon after the tentative contract was reached last month, he told union members that under the system of unlimited massages “abuse is possible.”

He cited the $174,000 case and said at that rate, the nurse and his or her dependents would have had 1.8 massages per day. There is a provision in the nurses union benefits package to curb such egregious spending but the language is vague, with reference to “reasonable and customary limits” on such perks.

 

Sheikh said there is no proposal to revoke massage therapy for “vulnerable” nurses who need them for medical and preventive purposes, but the proposed review to take place over the next year would consider whether to introduce a cap to curb the exponential growth in costs to publicly funded hospitals and other health care facilities.

Massage therapy is a popular health and wellness treatment approach and many have said it can help nurses reduce stress and its associated symptoms, not to mention relieve muscle and joint pain. B.C. has eight schools for massage therapy training and there are about 400 new registrants each year. In 2015, there were 4,183 active registrants, up from 3,653 just two years earlier.

The Registered Massage Therapists Association of B.C. said the “significant rise” in massage therapy use is attributable to studies showing evidence of benefits, an increase in the public’s interest in non-surgical and drug-free treatments and higher educational standards among therapists.

According to companies that specialize in health benefits, private companies and public employee plans typically have limits on the dollar value or number of massages that are covered per year. A recent survey showed that the upper limit of coverage in the most elite plans is $400 per person. The B.C. Public Service Benefits Guide shows that employees can claim up to $750 a year per person for massage therapy.

Sanofi Canada Healthcare Surveys have shown that massage therapy is one of the fastest growing benefits and that nearly half of those who have extended health care benefits filed at least one claim for massage therapy. The steady growth in the use of employer-sponsored massage therapy has caused much consternation and navel-gazing in the insurance industry. Green Shield Canada, which calls itself Canada’s only national not-for-profit health and dental benefits company, recently posted this commentary: We Spend More on Massage than Mental Health Services…Time For A Change?


B.C. Nurses Union CEO Umar Sheikh.

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Green Shield Canada has initiated a rethink on massage benefits, removing it as a core benefit in its new SMARTspend plans, as they are called, “in order to reinvest significant funds in more serious health challenges.”

Under siege Tuesday from angry nurses who read the first Postmedia story about the tentative contract, Sheikh declined to be interviewed. On social media channels, some nurses were vociferous in their protests over some elements of the agreement, including the plan to consider capping massage benefits.

Nurses are also angry that Sheikh said the average annual wage for nurses is about $45 an hour. For the 36,420 registered nurses in the B.C. Nurses Union, it is currently $42.35, according to a union factsheet. For 9,229 licensed practical nurses, the average in 2018 was $29.42. If nurses approve the tentative agreement by the Jan. 21 deadline, licensed practical nurses’ wages on April 1 would range from $27.87 per hour to $32.46 per hour, depending on job descriptions and experience. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses would be paid anywhere from $34.83 to $55.18 per hour.

While nurses’ benefits are part of their collective agreements, in other health care unions there are joint benefit trusts that are co-managed by union and employer-appointed trustees who get funding from employers that is fixed to a percentage of the payroll.

Roy Thorpe-Dorward, spokesman for the Health Employers Association of B.C., said “no benefit costs are unlimited.”

“Working together, both parties (unions and employers) are motivated to operate efficient and sustainable benefits plans that provide the best possible benefits for employees,” he said, adding that historically health sector agreements have included caps on “paramedical” expenses such as massage therapy.

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16Nov

Town Talk: $3.99 million benefits VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation

by admin

Naz Panahi and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation's 23rd-annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala that reportedly raised $4 million for an MRI scanner and multi-campus programs.



Naz Panahi and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd-annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala that reportedly raised $4 million for an MRI scanner and multi-campus programs.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

STARRY HIGH: Hospitals always have the edge when fundraising. So it was when the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala reportedly raised $4,000 for each star in its title. OK: $4 million. That total delighted multi-time chair Devi Sangara and Naz Panahi, who co-chaired this year after several at-bats with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Ball and Arthritis Research Canada’s annual ARThritis Soirée.

Aquilini Group founder Luigi Aquilini was flanked by former police chief Jim Chu (left) and surgeon John Yee at the Night of a Thousand Stars event.


Aquilini Group founder Luigi Aquilini was flanked by former police chief Jim Chu (left) and surgeon John Yee at the Night of a Thousand Stars event.

Malcolm Parry /

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Still, the four megabucks raised were overpowered by last December’s $25 million donation from Gaglardi family members who received the foundation’s Leadership Award at the gala. The night’s proceeds will pay for a new MRI machine and support various programs at the two hospitals, the G.F. Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. It was rewarding to see attending surgeons Marcel Dvorak and John Yee’s whose labours kept me working and, in Yee’s case, alive. Anyone disgruntled by this column now knows who to blame.

Spine surgeon and orthopedics professor Marcel Dvorak accompanied wife Sue at the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation's $3.99-million gala.


Spine surgeon and orthopedics professor Marcel Dvorak accompanied wife Sue at the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s $3.99-million gala.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

Founder Carol Lee chaired and Mayor Kennedy Stewart attended the Vancouver Chinatown gala to benefit a downtown social-housing complex.


Founder Carol Lee chaired and Mayor Kennedy Stewart attended the Vancouver Chinatown gala to benefit a downtown social-housing complex.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

Festive dragons surrounded Vancouver Chinatown gala chairs Carole Taylor and Sam Feldman while kicking off a Fairmont Hotel Vancouver banquet.


Festive dragons surrounded Vancouver Chinatown gala chairs Carole Taylor and Sam Feldman while kicking off a Fairmont Hotel Vancouver banquet.

Malcolm Parry /

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FORTUNE COOKING: Newly elected mayor Kennedy Stewart joined diverse attendees at the 11-year-old Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Vancouver Chinatown gala. The $1.1 million reportedly raised will benefit the 58 West Hastings social-housing complex. That sum was noteworthy for an event that Carol Lee founded only last year and that was MCed by former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor and music-biz agent Sam Feldman.  Fairmont Hotel Vancouver chefs served dim sum, shrimp har gow, chicken sui mai and smoked maple sablefish to guests, many being devotees of the brisket, chicken, duck and pork at Lee’s year-old and much lauded Chinatown BBQ on East Pender Street.

Mortgage brokerage executive Meryll Dreyer launched a benefit for KARES that will fund programs to serve disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds.


Mortgage brokerage executive Meryll Dreyer launched a benefit for KARES that will fund programs to serve disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds.

Malcolm Parry /

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DOWN PAYMENT: Charity fundraisers seldom make seven figures at their first or even second events as the Vancouver Chinatown gala did. Still, Dreyer Group Mortgages COO Meryll Dreyer was pleased when her debut event for KARES (Kids At Risk Embracing Success) reportedly brought in $50,000 to aid disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds. Dreyer hopes to parallel the similar Invis Angels in The Night program where she also had a starter role.

Langley sheep farmer Marianne Iberg showed Shetland ewe Thumbelina at a celebration for wool in Gastown's Secret Location store.


Langley sheep farmer Marianne Iberg showed Shetland ewe Thumbelina at a celebration for wool in Gastown’s Secret Location store.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

BAA BAA: Fashion-industry professionals and customers celebrated Canadian Wool Week at Gastown’s Secret Location store recently. Before becoming cosy garments, sheep’s wool is washed, dried, oiled, carded, died, glazed and woven, not to mention sheared from sheep twice annually in two-to-eight-kg lots. Giving the event perspective, Butterfly Fibres principal Marianne Iberg brought three-year-old Shetland-breed twin ewes Sweetpea and Thumbelina from her family’s Langley farm. With winter imminent, having their fleeces clipper-ready mightn’t be the sheep’s best prospect. Encouraging for us, though.

The gift following Cindy and Ryan Beedie's 50th birthday party was his $50-million commitment to scholarships for bright but hard-up students.


The gift following Cindy and Ryan Beedie’s 50th birthday party was his $50-million commitment to scholarships for bright but hard-up students.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

SHINING LIGHT: Ryan and Cindy Beedie’s pre-48th-birthday party at Malkin Bowl in 2016 had Huey Lewis and the News entertain 3,000 guests. Lewis’s hit song, Build Me Up, may have suggested a possible birthday present. Ditto Take Me To The Top by Loverboy’s Mike Reno, who sang at a repeat outdoors party this year. The present actually took shape at the couple’s official 50th birthday rock party in the Commodore Ballroom on Sept. 7. It would be $50 million. Not for them, though. That sum would launch the Beedie Luminaries Foundation. According to property-development firm principal Ryan, the foundation will provide scholarships to “bright, driven students from disadvantaged backgrounds … who are smart, but constrained by circumstance.” Some recipients may progress to Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, possibly humming Lewis’s Give Me The Keys.

RED, WHITE AND BLUET: Philippe Tortell, Mark Turin and Margot Young, University of B.C. anthropology, oceanography and law professors, edited and recently released a book titled Memory. It was sparked by post-First World recollections and a 2017 discussion at the varsity’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies that Tortell directs. Accepting that “the essays share an appreciation of the fragility and fluidity of memory,” the editors also note: “Why we forget is just as important as thinking about what we can remember.” French consul general Philippe Sutter, who donated a memorable amount of Château De Fesles wine to the release readings, contrasted attendees’ red and white poppies by adding the cornflower “bluet” with which his nation respects fallen warriors.

EVER REMEMBERED: Margot Young’s father Walter headed the UBC and, later, the University of Victoria’s political science departments. As a wittily perceptive political columnist to Vancouver magazine, when local periodicals had such things, he was politely asked why one monthly opus was a little overdue. “It’s a good reason,” he replied languidly by phone. “I have a brain tumour.” He perished, to widespread dismay, at age 51.

LOVIN’ YOU: Peter Wall, whose institute published the Memory book, will present his own composition while hosting the Wall Ball on Dec. 18. Past events featured live cattle, an ostrich, Santa Claus and miniskirted elves criss-crossing the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre’s glass ceiling while ball-goers dined below. This year, Canadian tenor Richard Margison will perform a “love song” for Vancouver that Wall wrote and frequently warbles.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Where’s Wally Buono? In our hearts.

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