LOADING...

Posts Tagged "Cancer"

20Jul

Gone Country for a cause: Twin brothers raise millions for cancer charities | CBC News

by admin

On a warm, breezy Thursday at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre in Surrey, B.C., a small army of volunteers is hard at work. 

Tables and chairs are meticulously placed, giant banners are hung and the bar is starting to come together. A small mountain of beverages grows as case upon case is hand-bombed onto the main stage. 

The seventh annual Gone Country music festival is taking shape, and on Saturday, this mostly empty field will be transformed into a full-throttle, sold-out, country music barn burner featuring headliners Aaron Pritchett and George Canyon. 

Gone Country is sure to be a boot-stompin, hootin’ and hollerin’ good time. But the event’s mission is unique. Gone Country is firstly, and most importantly, a grassroots cancer charity fundraiser. All proceeds go toward fighting cancer and supporting those who live with it. Over its lifespan, organizers say the event has raised more than $2.2m for cancer charities. 

Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski greet the crowd at the 2018 Gone Country event. (Angela Ruscheinski)

And at the helm of the organized chaos are Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski. In the midst of the action, they’re answering relentless phone calls and being peppered with volunteer questions. They’re delegating with speed and precision.  

Jamie and Chris are twin brothers, Fraser Valley realtors and in this setting, they’re two of the most prolific grassroots cancer charity fundraisers around. They’ve been at it for 20 years.

Jamie says they’re getting close to the $3 million mark over that time span. With the funds the twins have raised to date, they’ve helped renovate the Easter Seals House in Vancouver, established a music therapy room at Abbotsford Canucks Place Children’s Hospice and purchased equipment for the B.C. Cancer Agency.

The Ruscheinskis’ passion for cancer fundraising comes from a deeply personal place. They lost their mother and one of their best friends to the disease.

“When our mom was sick, her rent was $650 a month and her disability check with $675 a month. She had a long fight with breast cancer for about three and a half years … and she wasn’t able to work,” Jamie said.  

Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski address their team of Gone Country volunteers at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre in Surrey. (Angela Ruscheinski)


“And so we started doing a couple of cancer fundraisers and … when she passed away we just kept doing it and wanted to help some people that were going through the same stuff. Now it’s turned into this huge outdoor event with 6,000 people. It’s crazy.”

With this year’s Gone Country event being sold out for more than a month now, including the $1,200 per table VIP section, the Ruscheinski twins say they’re on track for their goal of raising $750,000 at this year’s event alone. 

And despite their own considerable efforts, they’re quick to credit their volunteers for the fundraising success. If Gone Country is a fundraising freight train, the volunteers are the fuel that moves it. 

“Some people have a soccer team or some sort of sports team that they play with. We are just one giant fundraising team now. There’s about 30 of us and everybody has a specific job,” Jamie said. 


“There’s one person in charge of ice for the event. You don’t think about keeping drinks cold for six thousand people, but you need one person in charge of that entirely. Everybody has their duties and we rely on all of them and it’s year seven now so they’re all really good at it which is fantastic.”

Ron Bate is a long-time friend of the Ruscheinskis and a volunteer with Gone Country. He says it’s the twins’ demeanour and focus that attracts people to volunteer their time.

It’s a real grassroots organization that comes from the heart. It comes from a real place,” Bate said. 

“They are so casual and welcoming. The way that they conduct themselves personally is the way that they conduct themselves professionally and that’s why it’s become such a success.They’re the type of people that people are drawn to, and they want to help.”

 

Throngs of country music fans crowd the stage at the 2018 Gone Country event. (Angela Ruscheinski)

But even with that big volunteer push, the Ruscheinski’s remain the events’ lifeblood. To put the 12-months-every-year level of commitment into perspective, two months ago, Chris started booking artists for next year’s event. 

The sold out  Gone Country music festival runs Saturday, July 20, at 2 p.m. at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre in Surrey.

Listen to the full story here:

The 7th annual Gone Country music festival kicks off this weekend in Surrey … and it’s a boot-stompin’ good time you can feel proud of. 6:19

With files from The Early Edition


Source link

18Jul

B.C. woman who lost son to skin cancer works to promote sunscreen stations

by admin

KELOWNA — A woman who lost her son to skin cancer three years ago is on a mission to introduce sunscreen stations at all beaches, parks and as many other public places in the Okanagan.

Karen Wells is founding director of Morgan’s Mole Patrol, a pending non-profit foundation she started in memory of her son Morgan, who died at age 33 in 2016 from melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

Wells said her objective is simple. She is working with the Vancouver-based national charity Save Your Skin Foundation and hopes to have portable sunscreen stations in as many public places as possible in the province.

As a pilot project this summer, Wells is working to introduce sunscreen stations at Gyro Beach, the Kelowna Golf and Country Club, and at Kelowna Visitor Centre.

Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in North America, surpassing lung and breast cancer, and just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles the odds of developing the disease later in life, said Wells.

“We really need this for our children and future generations,” said Wells, who broke into tears several times while recalling her son’s death and telling of her efforts to help others and prevent them from having to endure the same heartbreak and pain.

Her son went from seemingly healthy to seriously ill in a matter of months, and it’s difficult to believe a small mole led to such tragic consequences.

“He had a mole on his back and went to his family doctor and the doctor said it looked benign,” she said. “It was frozen with liquid nitrogen and covered with a Band-Aid. He came home and high-fived me and said everything was fine.”

It wasn’t. He returned to the doctor several months later and discovered a cancerous melanoma had spread to many parts of his body.

He died several weeks later, leaving behind a wife and two young sons, one of whom was only six months old.

“He went back to the doctor and it was too late . . . it came back Stage 4,” Wells said. “That’s the thing with melanoma. If it’s not detected early enough, it has the chance to spread very quickly, and it did. That was in March, and we lost him in December.”

Only weeks before this incident, she noticed a mole on her own leg, went to a walk-in clinic, was diagnosed with a small tumour and had it removed weeks later in late 2015, she said.

Still reeling from Morgan’s death almost three years later, Wells said working to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate has “become my life’s mission. I’m trying to raise awareness.

“If I can just stop one family from going through what my family has been through, to spare them, then my mission will be complete.”

She started the Mole Patrol movement soon after her son was diagnosed, but has since added his name to the cause and is close to reaching non-profit status after teaming up with Save Your Skin Foundation.

“My goal is to try and educate people on how to play safe in the sun,” she said. “I’m not saying stay out of the sun as we obviously need the sun to heat the planet, grow food and sustain life, but you have to stay safe and be aware of how deadly the sun can be.

“Melanoma is a very survivable cancer, but only if you catch it early.”

Wells was shocked by how many adults weren’t using any sunscreen when she took a survey on July 1, a hot day.

“There were 380 people questioned and more than one-third admitted they did not wear sunscreen,” she said. “Many parents would walk by with their children and the kids were covered in sunscreen, but the parents were not. I couldn’t believe it.”

The best way she could think of helping others is to install as many sunscreen stations as possible in public places, she said.

The stations will be filled with lotion featuring sun protection factor 30.

“We’re trying to get these sunscreen stations at various locations across the city and we’re just working on the logistics right now,” she said.

Kelowna Golf Course management have agreed to install one, and she’s working with city staff to bring one to Gyro Beach and the Kelowna Visitor Centre on Aug. 1, she said. Management at the Kelowna Yacht Club have also shown support to have one installed outside their building.

If the pilot project is successful, the plan is to have dozens installed in Kelowna starting in 2020, and then work with other communities to generate interest and have them installed there and then across the province, she said.

“We will be collecting data in July, August and September and maybe October, depending on the weather,” she said. “We’re going to go back to all the municipalities in B.C. to try and get them on board. We’ll start with Vancouver. We want to get this provincewide, starting here in Kelowna.”

Wells got the idea from two families in Toronto who also lost sons to melanoma, and she was thrilled to hear Toronto will be installing another 50 sunscreen stations this summer.

“My goal, honestly, would be to have one on every corner if I could,” she said.

Countries such as Australia and New Zealand have been offering free sunscreen stations to residents for many years, and the time has come to do the same here in the Okanagan, said Wells.

Save Your Skin Foundation is financing this project by paying for the dispensers and sunscreen.

Wells said she also lost both her parents and older brother to cancer and is willing to do whatever it takes to help others.

“I’ve had enough with cancer,” she said.

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected]


Source link

19Jun

New leader for B.C. Cancer agency is a prestigious oncologist and researcher

by admin


Dr. Kim Chi has been named the new leader of the B.C. Cancer agency.


NICK PROCAYLO / PNG

Dr. Kim Nguyen Chi, a renowned prostate cancer researcher and highly respected oncologist, will take over as head of the B.C. Cancer agency on July 1.

He is the first visible minority leader since the agency was established 45 years ago.

Chi, who went to medical school at the University of Ottawa, succeeds Dr. Malcolm Moore who announced four months ago that he would be leaving his post about a year early. Moore said he was moving back to Toronto for personal and professional reasons. The typical duration of such leadership positions is five years but the agency has had trouble keeping leaders. Dr. Max Coppes stayed in the job for two years and Dr. David Levy stayed just 18 months.

Chi came to B.C. in 1996 to do an oncology fellowship at BC Cancer, following an internal medicine residency in Ottawa.

BC Cancer has had a high churn rate for leaders and it has been criticized for too often choosing Americans over Canadians, and out of province experts over local ones.

In a press release, the agency says Chi understands the “intricacies of patient care and operations based on his current role as B.C. Cancer’s Director of Clinical Research and Medical Director for the Vancouver Centre.”

Chi has an interest in developing biomarkers and new treatments for those with the most advanced form of prostate cancer. He was a lead and collaborating author on some recently published studies on new drug treatments for men with metastatic prostate cancer.

Chi said he’s honoured to take over.

“As I step forward now, I do so with the profound understanding that B.C. Cancer is not about one person or one leader, it is about our tremendous history of achievement — of world-class research and knowledge translation and unparalleled patient care — made possible by the collective will of all of our clinicians, researchers and staff. I am proud to be the one who will take us forward in building on that legacy.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix called Chi an excellent choice.

“He understands firsthand the worlds of medical oncology and cancer research, but he also knows where B.C. Cancer has come from and where the opportunities lie to leverage the investments the B.C. government has made in cancer care to improve the lives of patients in every corner of our province.” 

Chi started at the B.C. Cancer agency 20 years ago. He says the bond between patients and physicians is nowhere stronger than in cancer care “where you are helping a person navigate one of the most serious issues they will ever face.”

Chi’s official title will be Chief Medical Officer and head of B.C. Cancer as well as vice-president of the Provincial Health Services Authority, to which the cancer agency is accountable.

Chi takes over during a time of relative calm. That had not been the case in the past decade or two. Scientists and clinicians have in the past cited concerns about poor staff morale, long patient waiting times and inadequate government funding.

The B.C. government’s latest budget included increased funding for the cancer agency, earmarked for increased cancer-related surgeries, diagnostic imaging, expanded positron emission tomography and computerized tomography scans, and chemotherapy demands.

More to come…..

[email protected]

Twitter: @MedicineMatters


Source link

10Jun

New drug helps extend survival rate of men with advanced prostate cancer: B.C. Cancer Agency study

by admin


Dr. Kim Ch, who led a clinical trial which found that over half of patients who used a new type of hormone-reducing medication saw a reduction in their risk of cancer progression and a 33% improvement in overall survival, in Vancouver BC., June 10, 2019.


NICK PROCAYLO / PNG

A new drug has helped reduce the risk of death by 33 per cent in men with prostate cancer that has spread, according to the results of an international trial led by the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Dr. Kim Chi.

The double-blind study on the androgen receptor inhibitor drug called apalutamide was conducted in 23 countries at 260 cancer centres. It involved 1,052 men whose median age was 68. The study was sponsored by Janssen, the drug company who makes apalutamide.

At two years, those taking the treatment drug in addition to their standard treatment had a 52 per cent lower risk of cancer spread or death.

The findings of the TITAN (Targeted Investigational Treatment Analysis of Novel Anti-androgen) trial which began in 2015 are published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Results were also recently presented by Chi at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Chi, an oncologist, said overall survival rate is only about five years once prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate so new treatments are desperately needed. The percentage of patients who took the drug whose cancer did not spread was 68.2 per cent, but in the placebo group the proportion was 47.5 per cent. There was a 33 per cent reduction in the risk of death for those who took the drug.

After about two years, 82 per cent of men in the investigational drug group were alive compared to 74 per cent on placebo. Men in both groups also took standard male hormone deprivation therapy showing that combination therapy helps to improve survival. Male hormones (androgens) like testosterone feed prostate tumours and currently, men with metastatic cancer are put on hormone deprivation treatment that has been the standard of care for many decades. Apalutamide, also called Erleada, is said to more completely block male hormones.

Chi said the drug is “not toxic” and there were no significant differences in the proportion of study participants in the intervention or placebo groups who experienced side effects, but skin rashes were just over three times more common in the drug group.

The drug has already been approved in Canada for certain patients with hormone-resistant, non-metastatic cancer but Chi said now that it is showing benefit for patients whose cancer has spread, he expects the drug will be approved by Health Canada for those patients as well, perhaps later this year. After that approval, provinces will have to decide on whether to expand funding for the drug, which costs about $3,000 a month. Chi said he expects more Canadian patients will have access to it next year.

“This is a next generation, better-designed androgen inhibitor and we really need better drugs for those with metastatic prostate cancer,” Chi said.

“There’s a critical need to improve outcomes for these patients and this study suggests this treatment can prolong survival and delay the spread of the disease.”

Chi was also a co-author on another drug trial, the results of which were published in the same issue of the NEJM medical journal. The ENZAMET trial, as it was called, is on a drug called enzalutamide (Xtandi). The results of that trial were similarly favourable.

About 2,700 men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer in B.C. this year. More than 600 men will die from it. 

[email protected]

Twitter: @MedicineMatters




Source link

13Apr

Top-ranked Canadian trampolinist speaks openly, hopefully about having cancer at age 22

by admin

Weeks after winning a silver medal in double-mini trampoline at the 2017 World Games, Tamara O’Brien felt a strange lump under her chin while watching TV in her mother’s Coquitlam duplex.

She received an ultrasound and a biopsy, but life went on as usual for the 20-year-old athlete who continued to train and then flew to Spain for another international competition, where she won silver again. After she returned home, she was summoned to her doctor’s office.

It was Friday, Oct. 13.

“The dermatologist says, ‘So they found melanoma in your lymph nodes.’ And I just started bawling,” O’Brien recalled. “It was this really weird shocking thing that was going on. I thought, ‘Oh my God I just got diagnosed (with cancer).’ I thought, ‘How am I going to tell anyone this?’”

O’Brien’s surprise is understandable, as it is relatively rare for someone her age to get cancer. Just two per cent of the new cancer diagnoses each year in Canada are in people 15 to 29 years old, representing about 2,250 people annually, says the Canadian Cancer Society.

As a result, experts say, there is a lack of programs, and sometimes even treatment, for these young people who are trapped between services for children and those designed for much older cancer patients. 

“We are kind of the forgotten generation,” said O’Brien, who has Stage 4 melanoma.

“Most people think about their 20s as these years of figuring out their shit. And I feel like that all got taken away from me, right? I so desperately would love to move out of my house and start a career and think long-term with my boyfriend. But I don’t get to think about that — that’s not on my priority list any more. It sucks. It’s a really weird stage in your life to be diagnosed.”

O’Brien, who spent her childhood on her sport’s world stage, is now opening up about her difficult health journey. She hopes she can help other youth battling cancer who are struggling, as she initially did, to connect with people their own age.

“I was thinking: What do I want someone to take away from reading this story? A huge part of it is that my life isn’t sad. When people hear I have cancer, they must think, ‘Oh my God, that’s so depressing. She must be so sad. Her life must suck,’” she said.

“But, honestly, I’ve had some of my happiest days. … Your whole perspective changes when death sits right at your door. As morbid as it sounds, that’s true.”

O’Brien has her ups and downs, said her mother Tina Geulen, but “for the most part she is really positive. And she really tries to be.”

The pride in her voice dissolves into sorrow, though, when she talks about the injustice of this illness. “To watch this happen and not be able to have any control over the outcome and what is happening, is the hardest thing in the world.”

O’Brien has transferred her strong work ethic and determination to become one of Canada’s top trampoliners to her task of battling cancer, said former coach Curt De Wolff.

“I’m just so amazed by how it has brought out more passion for life in her,” said De Wolff, who coaches at the Shasta Trampoline Club in New Westminster.

“Sometimes you can look at something like this as an end, but I think it has almost been her second beginning. She has almost treated every day as a new beginning. It’s crazy impressive.”

By her own account, O’Brien has good days and bad days, days of determination and days of dark depression.

When Postmedia met with her just over a week ago, she was having a good day. But she was feeling “crappy” on Monday, when she posted on her blog that she just wanted to be “normal” again — although she wasn’t even sure what normal was anymore.

“Cancer at 22 is not ideal. Well, cancer at any age isn’t ideal,” she wrote. “I wake up some mornings so tired my eyes are literally glued shut wondering how I’m going to get out of bed. It’s a strange feeling knowing that cancer has taken up a huge part of my life and always will.”

The next day she was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital with abdominal pain, where she will remain over the weekend as doctors investigate what is causing her discomfort.

“I realize how powerful my story is to people. I think that is a huge purpose in my life, just being able to share and help, in whatever people decide to take out of my story.”


Tamara O’Brien.

Pam Kriangkum

O’Brien had “an abundance of energy” when she was a toddler. “I used to stack stuff together when I was young and stand on it. My mother put me into gymnastics when I was two.”

She started trampoline at age nine and by age 10 was training 36 hours a week. She made the national team at age 11 in 2009, and competed that year in an international competition in Belgium. When she was 12, she won an unprecedented seven medals at the Canadian nationals, qualifying her for the world championships in Russia.

But the trip to Russia was going to cost $3,500 and O’Brien, who was raised by a single mother, didn’t think she could afford to go.

Publicity from her seven-medal haul led to Elaine Tanner, a 1968 three-time Olympic swimming medallist, offering to help O’Brien find funding, and eventually to Woody’s Pub in Coquitlam offering to sponsor the young trampolinist through its Dare to Dream Foundation.

“Her enthusiasm caught my eye,” pub owner Gordon Cartwright told The Province in 2009.

Woody’s Pub paid for all her travel expenses until she turned 18, for which both mother and daughter are eternally grateful.

“Without that she would never have been able to continue,” said Geulen.

 


Tamara O’Brien (front) with Gordon Cartwright (left), Gordon Kendall Payne (top) and Vicki Cartwright (right) of Woody’s Dare to Dream Foundation in Coquitlam on Oct. 28, 2009.

She estimates the pub could have spent up to $40,000 supporting her daughter.

Medals piled up as O’Brien competed around the world.

“She was a very exceptional athlete. Amazing work ethic and very committed to what she was doing,” recalls coach De Wolff.

After she turned 18, O’Brien worked two jobs to continue to pay for her training and travel.

O’Brien’s discipline of double-mini trampoline — an acrobatic performance involving triple somersaults and twists, first on a mini-trampoline and then on a landing mat — is not in the Olympics, so the highest honour for her sport is the World Games very four years. When she became one of three Canadian trampolinists to qualify for the 2017 World Games in Poland, she changed her diet and trained even harder.

But something didn’t feel right.

“Every single day I was so tired,” she recalled. “I thought, ‘I just need to suck it up. I’m an adult now.’”

She put in the performance of her life, earning her best marks ever, and won silver for Canada.

“It was this really special moment because the hard work had paid off.”


Tamara practising in 2009.

Ward Perrin

After she returned home, she found the lump under her chin. It was near a spot where, the previous year, she’d had a mole removed that would test positive for melanoma.

“I never called it cancer. It didn’t seem like a big deal,” she recalled. “I never in a million years expected it would have turned into anything like it has now.”

O’Brien underwent an ultrasound and a biopsy, then focused on training for her meet in Spain in October.

Soon after, back home, she cried in the dermatologist’s office. “I never thought that this melanoma was going to come back,” she recalled thinking.

O’Brien knew her battle with cancer would force her to quit the national trampoline team and focus her energy entirely on her health.

While the vast majority of melanomas are caused by exposure to the sun or tanning beds, O’Brien grew up inside a gym and when outside always wore sun block. She is among the minority of melanoma patients whose cancer is linked to genetics, doctors have told her.

On Oct. 25, doctors removed the cancerous lymph nodes. “I had no cancer left in my body but there was a 50 per cent chance it could come back because it had metastasized,” she said.

She was told chemotherapy was not successful against melanoma, which made her happy because as a young woman with a boyfriend, she didn’t want to lose her hair.

But about a month after her surgery, a new lump appeared under her chin. The melanoma was back.

“So that was really awful to hear that I had recurrence six weeks after surgery. It was really, really aggressive.” 

She would have four more surgeries, between January and March 2018, but doctors couldn’t remove all the stubborn cancer spreading microscopically through her neck. After a scan in April 2018, her oncologist delivered the worst news yet.

“She said, ‘You have spots in your lymph nodes, in your neck, under your armpit, in your groin. You have spots in your liver, you have spots along your bones. … It’s on your ribs. It’s on your vertebrae. It’s on your pelvic bone,’” a stoic O’Brien recalled.

The cancer was now Stage 4, the most severe.

The next day was April 20 — the date of the annual marijuana counterculture celebration — and O’Brien was starting immunotherapy treatment at the B.C. Cancer agency. “I remember joking, ‘It’s 4/20. I’m getting my drugs.”

Her body reacted poorly to the immunotherapy and the cancer worsened, leading to severe back pain that forced her last summer to quit her waitressing job.

Her grandfather took her to the B.C. Cancer to start radiation, where the staff assumed it was he who had come for treatment.

“I was like, ‘No, it’s actually me,’” she recalled. “The young adults are forgotten. There are supports out there, but I really had to look for it. Which is sad.”

One of the groups she found was Callanish, which provides a space for people to support each other through this life-altering disease. O’Brien counts on the group’s monthly drop-in sessions.

“You basically can sit there and bitch about your problems without anyone telling you how to be or that you can’t feel that way or that your feelings aren’t valid. Everybody in the room gets exactly what you are going through,” she said.

“They’ve helped me so much through my own struggles.”


Tamara O’Brien in 2009.

Ward Perrin

There are a handful of programs and support groups for adolescents and young adults, including the Kristian Domingo Foundation and Young Adults Cancer Canada (YACC).

But there is a need for more, said art therapist Sara Hankinson, who offers an art therapy program in Vancouver for young adults through the B.C. Cancer. Last week, she started an online group using Skype for young patients in other parts of the province.

Participants can discuss issues that are relevant to their lives, said Hankinson, such as body image or fear of losing their fertility after cancer treatments.

“Figuring out how to return to work can be a really big struggle for them. A lot of them are dating or in new marriages, which can often times be really challenged,” Hankinson said.

The challenges can also be medical for this age group, which is dubbed AYA, for adolescents and young adults, in health circles.

The survival rate for this group is improving, but not at the same pace as the advancements for children, said Dr. Karen Goddard, medical director of the Adult Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program at the B.C. Cancer.

“Some of the reasons are that AYA, in clinical trials and research, they are very under-represented,” Goddard said.

These patients often have one foot in childhood and one in adulthood and would benefit from a team approach. England has created special AYA clinics, and the B.C. Cancer hopes to develop one here, too.

“We need to bring adult and pediatric oncology together, so they can better look at treatment planning and psycho-social needs for these patients,” Goddard said. “I’ve talked to guys who say, ‘Everyone else (getting treatment) was over 60 and I’m here and I’m 25.’ They feel completely out of place and sort of abandoned and on their own. And cut-off from their peer group.”

Goddard is creating a program that would give young patients, after discharge, a document that shows their treatments, possible long-term health risks, and how they should be screened years down the road.

In the fall, O’Brien’s doctors put her on new pills that try to slow down the cancer, and they appeared to be working — although the nasty side effects include hair loss.

“I have had two stable scans showing disease regression, so things are getting smaller. They are doing their job for now, which is really awesome,” she said. “The problem with these drugs is that the cancer will become resistant to them, at some point, and it will start growing again.”

When that will happen and what she’ll do next remain uncertain, although her doctor is looking into a clinical trial in Toronto.

A GoFundMe page started for O’Brien last fall raised $16,000. She gave some money to her mom and thinks she may use the remaining $10,000 to fly back and forth to Toronto during the clinical trial.


Tamara O’Brien, centre, with her mother Martina Guelen and boyfriend Jamie Moors at last year’s Cayford Gala, was the first recipient the Forward Foundation, which was created to help terminally ill young adults make the most of their time.

Pam Kriangkum Photography

Geulen is an on-call clerical worker for a local school district, a job that has given her flexibility to be with her daughter during appointments and hospital stays. But the less she works, the less she gets paid, often making it difficult to cover monthly expenses.

“This is just such a surreal life at the moment, and you can’t believe that it’s happening to you and you can’t believe it is happening to your child, and you can’t understand what you did to deserve this and what she did to deserve this,” she said.

After back pain forced O’Brien to quit her job last summer, she went on disability payments. She is grateful for the money, but notes she could never support herself on the meagre payments if she didn’t live with her mother.

“You are 100 per cent in poverty on disability, which I think people don’t even understand.”

She would like to get another job, but doesn’t have the strength to return to waitressing. “I’m trying to figure out what work would be good for me physically, and how I could make some money. So that is challenging right now, for sure.”

A highlight for O’Brien in the past six months was being the first recipient of the Forward Foundation, whose mission is to “provide young adults who are terminally ill with meaningful end-of-life experiences.” It was started by a remarkable young man, Christopher Cayford, while he was dying of cancer, and is now run by his mother, Claire Conde.

O’Brien’s chosen experience was to attend the 2018 Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Russia last November, so she could say goodbye to her Canadian teammates.

When she arrived in Russia, she received one heartfelt surprise after another: the Canadian team members wore “We Jump for Tamara” T-shirts, she was asked to be their flag bearer, and Olympic gold medalist Rosie MacLennan gave her one of the bronze medals the team won.


Trampoline gymnast Tamara O’Brien, with gold medallist Rosie MacLennan at the World Trampoline Championships in Russia in November.

Pam Kriangkum Photography

“I ended up walking away from that competition with the exact opposite outcome: It was not a goodbye. It was: My community is with me and they will always be with me,” O’Brien said, adding that she felt Cayford’s presence while in Russia.

“I definitely feel like he’s almost looking out for me. I feel like I know him but we never met. It’s super bizarre, and I’m not one to believe in stuff like that.“

For the last four months, since she returned from Russia, her cancer has been fairly stable. O’Brien has had two recent hospital stays: a two-week admission for a blood infection and her current treatment. To remain as upbeat as possible, she hung a poster board in her hospital room, and recorded the things for which she was grateful: her mom, nurses, friends who visit.


Tamara O’Brien on Apr. 5, 2019 with her hospital poster board.

But the hospital stays taxed her spirit, which happens at other times, too. “I’ve had really dark days, days when I’ve been in the car driving and thinking this would be a good song at my funeral.”

She said, though, that she has good support from her mother, her boyfriend and some “true” friends.

Cancer, she jokes, can be “quality control” for relationships. Some people don’t know what to say and bolt, while others provide unwavering support.

“It was really, really hard initially getting diagnosed and thinking, ‘Well, this is my life now. So how do I introduce myself? ‘I’m Tamara and I have cancer.’ But it’s not a defining feature for me anymore.” she said.

O’Brien has now lived for one year as a stage 4 cancer patient — a thought that brings questions about her future but also relief that she is feeling more or less OK at the moment.

“I think it’s a celebration that I have had this year. And that hopefully I’ll have another,” she wrote on her blog. “I count my blessings each day because what else can you do when a huge chunk of your life is filled with uncertainty and with fear.”

[email protected]

Twitter:@loriculbert




Source link

12Apr

Town Talk: BMW showroom gala supports pancreatic cancer research

by admin

BEEMER TEAMING: BMW dealer Brian Jessel and managing partner Jim Murray cleared all but one vehicle from their Boundary-off-Lougheed new-car showroom to stage the 14th annual Cabriolet gala. Previous runnings reportedly raised $2 million. Staged by Diana Zoppa and sponsored by ZLC Financial chairman-CEO Garry Zlotnik, the recent one benefited Pancreatic Cancer Canada by netting some $525,000. The sole car left standing beside a spotlit stage and dining tables reflected the ever-more-elegant gala’s name. It was a just-introduced BMW M850i Cabriolet tagged at $145,000. Figuratively donning his dealer hat, Jessel compared it to a certain $350,000 British sportster, “But this is a nicer car.” As for other BMW introductions, half-year Cabo San Lucas resident Jessel said: “We’ve got a lot of new product coming this year. I won’t have to marry for money after all.”


Elektra Women’s Choir conductor and co-founder Morna Edmundson welcomed operatic soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian to a benefit banquet at the Sutton Place hotel where she sang works by Berlioz, Bevan and Schubert.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

BETTER WORLD: Operatic soprano and graduate biomedical engineer Isabel Bayrakdarian sang at the Elektra Women’s Choir’s recent benefit-banquet in the Sutton Place hotel. Elektra honorary patron Bayrakdarian also performed at the choir’s 30th anniversary concert in 2017. At the hotel, co-founder Morna Edmundson conducted the 53-voice ensemble as she did in January at East Hastings Street’s Oscar’s Pub. That Elektra Uncorked fundraiser followed the release of Elektra’s 15th album, Silent Night. No repertoire stick-in-the-muds, the choristers are heard prominently on Gibsons-based progressive-metal musician Devin Townsend’s Empath album that released March 29 to seven-figure YouTube hits. Such musical genre-bending aside, few would dispute Schubert’s An Die Musik that Bayrakdarian sang to Elektra patrons: “You, lovely art, in how many gloomy hours of experiencing the turmoil of life have you ignited love in my heart and transported me to a better world?”


City singer Amanda Wood accompanied an ovarian cancer fundraiser’s fashion-show models with an energetic rendition of Alicia Keys’s Girl On Fire.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG


Anna Wallner, Marousa Dumaresq and Kristi Brinkley modelled Chikas, Sundress and Riana garments at the Love Her benefit for Ovarian Cancer Canada.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG


Okanagan Crush Pad owner Christine Coletta brought wine to and accompanied cousin Lisa Konishi at a $225,000 Ovarian Cancer Canada benefit.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

OVARIAN OVATION: With Franci Stratton chairing for the third time, the recent Love Her gala reportedly raised $225,000 for Ovarian Cancer Canada. The lunchtime event included a fashion show by West Vancouver retailer Marilyn Diligenti-Smith. Local volunteer models hit the catwalk as singer Amanda Wood belted out Girl On Fire. Ovarian cancer, however, is a murderous fire that researchers and practitioners yearn to put out while striving to discover how its starts. Back at the gala, attendees applauded when an annual award commemorating business and community leader Virginia Greene went to Christine Coletta and cousin Lisa Konishi who have jointly lost eight friends and family members to ovarian cancer. More cheerfully, Coletta donated and served much wine from her 45,000-cases-a-year Okanagan Crush Pad operation.


His artist in residency at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden now over, Paul Wong will publish a book based on 700 letters to his late mother.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

PAUL’S LETTERS: Paul Wong’s year-long artist in residency at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden ended with a reception at his Keefer Street studio. Fifty-five arts-related tenants reportedly pay $2 a square foot to occupy the building’s lower, third and fourth floors. A Korean restaurant and Scotiabank branch are conveniently located at street level. Meanwhile, Wong’s now-concluded exhibition of 700 letters to late mother Suk Fong has received a reply. The Canada Council for the Arts reportedly offered $54,500 to fund a related book. “We’re trying to get the money as soon as possible in case there’s been a mistake,” Wong cracked while admitting, “It was more than I asked for.”


With one of her works to open the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Baljit Sangra hopes to make a feature about Canadian South Asians in the 1970s.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

POST PAST: B.C.’s early 20th-century South Asian pioneers were the subjects of a recent Vancouver Sun article. Now, moviemaker Baljit Sangra wants to portray their second- and third-generation descendants. To open the DOXA Documentary Film Festival May 3, Sangra’s 85-minute Because We Are Girls examines three Williams Lake sisters who concealed their shared sexual abuse for almost 25 years. She hopes that her next, and bigger, project will be a feature-film drama. “I would love to do a coming-of-age narrative of South Asians growing up in the 1970s,” Sangra said. “The fashion, the music, what they thought.” That might cost $5 million. Let’s hope she raises it.


Former mayor, former premier, cannabis firm principal Mike Harcourt received Simon Fraser University’s President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

NEW LEAF: Simon Fraser University chief Andrew Petter presented the President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award to Mike Harcourt recently. The latter’s merits aside, the Four Seasons Hotel ceremony echoed Petter having been in 1991-96 NDP premier Harcourt’s cabinet. No such gender or partisan links occurred in 2010 when the honour went to Petter’s decade-later successor as B.C. Liberal finance minister, Carole Taylor. Her co-awardee, since-deceased husband Art Phillips, was Harcourt’s predecessor-but-one as Vancouver mayor. Soon after her award, Taylor was named chancellor of SFU where, vis-à-vis president Petter, she said: “My job is to protect him.” In his early 20s, lawyer Harcourt counselled Kitsilano-based Cool-Aid youth social services’ clients, some of whom were jailed for possessing marijuana joints. Today, he chairs Lumby-based True Leaf that plans to produce 2,500 kg of cannabis annually.


Andrew Petter made an SFU president’s award to Mike Harcourt as he had done in 2010 to the university’s then-pending chancellor, Carole Taylor.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: A century ago, satirist Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary contained: “Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.” Also: “Conservative: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.” Finally: “Liberty: One of imagination’s most precious possessions.”

[email protected]
604-929-8456


Source link

23Jan

She tried to donate a kidney to save him, then they found cancer

by admin

Tracy took Richard Stuart to be her husband 22 years ago on New Year’s Day, in sickness and in health, until death do they part.

When the Nanaimo couple discovered Richard needed a kidney, Tracy was first in line to be the donor. Then doctors found the cancer.

The Stuarts met in Prince George in 1995 while working at a Sears store, where he was a loss-prevention manager and she led the sales department.

Last summer, a doctor told Richard, 57, who has Type 2 Diabetes, that his kidney function was dropping and he needed a transplant. Tracy, 55, was a good match and surgery was expected this month.

But during a battery of tests in recent months to determine that Tracy was healthy, doctors found an abnormality. An exam of her bone marrow revealed an incurable, multiple myeloma — cancer of the plasma cells.


Richard and Tracy in Prince George on their wedding day on Jan. 1, 1997.

“That was quite a blow,” she said. “They rushed us through the transplant meetings and everything. They were just fantastic. So everybody was absolutely shocked.”

Tracy said Richard was waiting for her at the hospital when she got the news.

“I go, ‘I’m sorry, baby, I can’t donate my kidney and I can’t save your life,’ ” she said. “He’s like, ‘It’s OK, babe, let’s worry about you right now.’ So I’m worrying about him and he’s worrying about me. We don’t really have a chance to worry about ourselves.”

Both are now on short-term disability as they struggle to find a donor and get treatment. Richard is one of about 530 people in B.C. currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

With his kidney function now at eight per cent, Richard needs dialysis three times a week — each requiring a four-hour hospital stay — while he waits for a new catheter to heal so he can start dialysis at home.

The couple has plenty of support, they said. Tracy has two sons from a previous marriage, aged 29 and 31, who have always been close with her and Richard. Her parents live down the street and Richard’s sister and brother-in-law live in town.

The couple’s friend, Debbie, started a GoFundMe campaign, which has raised $4,000 in just over two weeks, to help cover costs related to their health care.

Richard’s “work family” at London Drugs is throwing a $15 burger-and-beer fundraiser Feb. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Queen’s pub.

And they have each other.


Richard and Tracy walk on Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island.

Submitted: Tracy Stuart /

PNG

“Our marriage is so tight, it is so strong,” Tracy said. “All you can do is be there for each other. I know he’s got my back and he knows that I’m going to be there for him no matter what.”

Meantime, Tracy said she’ll need a stem-cell transplant along with chemotherapy. She hopes to be in remission soon so that she can return to managing at the local PetSmart in the spring.

“I hope that it’s 10 years before it comes back,” she said. “But what I know I would like to do, after all this is said and done, is give some of my time to supporting the kidney foundation and cancer (society). I want to give back, because we have seen upfront what they have done for us.”

Both Tracy and Richard are urging their fellow British Columbians to consider donating a kidney, and to contact [email protected] or [email protected] to find out how.

“We’ve got to deal with what we’ve got to deal with. It’s part of life,” Richard said. “All this, I would hope, brings awareness to kidney donations and that it’s one of the easiest organs to donate and save somebody else’s life.”

Richard has A-positive blood and can accept a kidney from someone with types A, AB or O.

In 2016, waiting times for a kidney donation from a deceased donor ranged from less than two years to up to five years, depending on blood type, said Heather Johnson, director of programs for The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C. and Yukon branch.

Last year, there were 328 kidney transplants in B.C. by Dec. 14, including 98 from living donors, according to B.C. Transplant.

Johnson said her foundation has a mentorship program that connects trained, volunteer donors with potential donors who have questions about surgery, recovery and the emotional impact of the process.

Low-income recipients can stay and recover in one of the foundation’s seven “kidney suites” for free, while couples earning more than $2,000 per month can book the rooms for $35 a night.

The foundation also has a fund to help cover lost income, travel, accommodations and other expenses for donors, or potential donors, while they stay at St. Paul’s, Vancouver General or B.C. Children’s hospitals for the transplant.

Recipients typically recover in Vancouver for about two months and will need to stay on anti-rejection drugs for life, Johnson said. Donors often return to their normal routine within a few days.

“Donating a kidney, there’s no health concerns for people that do so,” she said. “You can live a perfectly healthy life.”

[email protected]

twitter.com/nickeagland


CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].




Source link

23Jan

She tried to donate a kidney to save him, then they found cancer

by admin

Tracy took Richard Stuart to be her husband 22 years ago on New Year’s Day, in sickness and in health, until death do they part.

When the Nanaimo couple discovered Richard needed a kidney, Tracy was first in line to be the donor. Then doctors found the cancer.

The Stuarts met in Prince George in 1995 while working at a Sears store, where he was a loss-prevention manager and she led the sales department.

Last summer, a doctor told Richard, 57, who has Type 2 Diabetes, that his kidney function was dropping and he needed a transplant. Tracy, 55, was a good match and surgery was expected this month.

But during a battery of tests in recent months to determine that Tracy was healthy, doctors found an abnormality. An exam of her bone marrow revealed an incurable, multiple myeloma — cancer of the plasma cells.


Tracy Stuart underwent tests so she could donate a kidney to her husband Richard, but doctors discovered she has cancer. The Stuarts are supporting each other as they seek treatment and health, and friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover some expenses related to their health care.

Submitted: Tracy Stuart /

PNG

“That was quite a blow,” she said. “They rushed us through the transplant meetings and everything. They were just fantastic. So everybody was absolutely shocked.”

Tracy said Richard was waiting for her at the hospital when she got the news.

“I go, ‘I’m sorry baby, I can’t donate my kidney and I can’t save your life,’ ” she said. “He’s like, ‘It’s OK babe, let’s worry about you right now.’ So I’m worrying about him and he’s worrying about me. We don’t really have a chance to worry about ourselves.”

Both are now on short-term disability as they struggle to find a donor and get treatment. Richard is one of about 530 people in B.C. currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

With his kidney function now at eight per cent, Richard needs dialysis three times a week — each requiring a four-hour hospital stay — while he waits for a new catheter to heal so he can start dialysis at home.

The couple has plenty of support, they said. Tracy has two sons from a previous marriage, aged 29 and 31, who have always been close with her and Richard. Her parents live down the street and Richard’s sister and brother-in-law live in town.

The couple’s friend, Debbie, started a GoFundMe campaign, which has raised $4,000 in just over two weeks, to help cover costs related to their health care.

Richard’s “work family” at London Drugs is throwing a $15 burger-and-beer fundraiser Feb. 20 from 6-9 p.m. at The Queen’s pub.

And they have each other.


Tracy Stuart underwent tests so she could donate a kidney to her husband Richard, but doctors discovered she has cancer. The Stuarts are supporting each other as they seek treatment and health, and friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover some expenses related to their health care.

Submitted: Tracy Stuart /

PNG

“Our marriage is so tight, it is so strong,” Tracy said. “All you can do is be there for each other. I know he’s got my back and he knows that I’m going to be there for him no matter what.”

Meantime, Tracy said she’ll need a stem-cell transplant along with chemotherapy. She hopes to be in remission soon so that she can return to managing the local PetSmart in the spring.

“I hope that it’s 10 years before it comes back,” she said. “But what I know I would like to do, after all this is said and done, is give some of my time to supporting the kidney foundation and cancer (society). I want to give back, because we have seen upfront what they have done for us.”

Both Tracy and Richard are urging their fellow British Columbians to consider donating a kidney, and to contact [email protected] or [email protected] to find out how.

“We’ve got to deal with what we’ve got to deal with, it’s part of life,” Richard said. “All this, I would hope, brings awareness to kidney donations and that it’s one of the easiest organs to donate and save somebody else’s life.”

Richard has A-positive blood and can accept a kidney from someone with types A, AB or O.

In 2016, waiting times for a kidney donation from a deceased donor ranged from less than two years to up to five years, depending on blood type, said Heather Johnson, director of programs for The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C. and Yukon branch.

Last year, there were 328 kidney transplants in B.C. by Dec. 14, including 98 from living donors, she said.

Johnson said the foundation has a mentorship program that connects trained, volunteer donors with potential donors who have questions about surgery, recovery and the emotional impact of the process.

Low-income recipients can stay and recover in one of the foundation’s seven “kidney suites” for free, while couples earning more than $2,000 per month can book the rooms for $35 a night.

The foundation also has a fund to help cover lost income, travel, accommodations and other expenses for donors, or potential donors, while they stay at St. Paul’s, Vancouver General or B.C. Children’s hospitals for the transplant.

Recipients typically recover in Vancouver for about two months and will need to stay on anti-rejection drugs for life, Johnson said. Donors often return to their normal routine within a few days.

“Donating a kidney, there’s no health concerns for people that do so,” she said. “You can live a perfectly healthy life.”

[email protected]

twitter.com/nickeagland

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].</p




Source link

15Jan

Cancer drivers face rising costs and growing demand in B.C.

by admin


George Garrett helps Karon Peers get into Garrett’s car before he takes her to a doctor appointment.


Jason Payne / PNG

Increasing auto insurance rates, volatile gas prices and rising demand are all making life more challenging for the volunteers who provide cancer patients with rides to their treatment.

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society is piecing together its $300,000 annual budget in private donations, which average about $100, and one-time grants from foundations, corporations and city councils of a few thousand dollars at a time, said president Bob Smith, the former CEO of Fraser Health.

In the three years since the Canadian Cancer Society defunded its patient ride program, the Volunteer Cancer Drivers who stepped up in their place have logged one million kilometres and 62,000 hours.

They have done it without a shred of steady funding. The drivers — who pick up patients for treatment, wait, and then deliver them safely home — donate about $50,000 in fuel reimbursements back to the organization to keep it running.

The United Way receives $15 million in provincial funding to deliver the Better at Home program, which includes providing rides to appointments for seniors, often with local non-profit organizations and volunteers.

However, Better at Home regards the Volunteer Cancer Drivers as a form of “medical transportation” rather than just a ride, which makes them ineligible for that funding, according to Smith.

“We don’t provide any clinical care, but we do provide emotional support for people going to treatment like radiation,” said Smith. “It’s a perplexing situation to me. We just want to care for frail and elderly people.”

So, the small army of 175 drivers and 10 volunteer dispatchers could use a financial boost as demand for their service is growing by 25 to 35 per cent a year, said Smith.

Costs are rising, too.

ICBC will increase auto insurance rates by more than six per cent this year and a provincial carbon tax increase April 1 will push B.C.’s dizzying gas prices even higher.

Drivers are required to carry $3 million in personal liability insurance.

Chief fundraiser George Garrett — and his fellow board members — works full-time to keep the money flowing, but he dare not take his foot off the gas.

“I was able to get $30,000 from then-finance minister Mike de Jong to get us started, but since then we’ve had no success with the (provincial government),” said Garrett, a former news broadcaster with CKNW.

The BC Gaming Commission also gave them $30,000 in 2017, but the society really needs ongoing funding to the tune of $20,000 a month to ensure its survival.

A steady source of funding “would make all the difference in the world,” he said. “We’ve been scrambling from day one and I worry all the time.”

With no offices or paid staff, the society applies 95 per cent of every dollar donated to services.

When the Canadian Cancer Society’s driver program was cancelled — citing increasing costs and falling demand — dozens of community groups took on the work of driving cancer patients, many of them with just a few drivers each.

Of the larger organizations, the Freemasons Cancer Car program operates in the Okanagan, on Vancouver Island, and in the City of Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond. The service was launched with $1 million in member donations and continues to be financed by the Freemasons.

The Volunteer Cancer Drivers service operates in 13 municipalities from West Vancouver all the way to Abbotsford.

[email protected]


Source link

9Nov

Tow Talk: B.C. Cancer Foundation gala raises $4.3 million

by admin

Wife Harpreet accompanied Bob Rai who chaired the South Asian community's Night of Miracles that reportedly raised $755,000 for the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation and a 10-year total of $5.4 million.


Wife Harpreet accompanied Bob Rai who chaired the South Asian community’s Night of Miracles that reportedly raised $755,000 for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation and a 10-year total of $5.4 million.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

INSPIRED: As the B.C. Lions readied for a final home game under coach Wally Buono on Nov. 3, no less than four galas kicked off downtown. Unlike the Leos, all were winners. The first, the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s 14th annual Inspiration gala at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, reportedly raised $4.3 million — including two $1-million donations from guests — to support blood cancer research. Tamara Taggart chaired again. She also MC’d with former CTV News at Six co-anchor Mike Killeen. He had to keep mum for two more days about his return to tube and timeslot Nov. 19 to present CBC Vancouver News with Anita Bathe. Jane Hungerford, who chaired the first Inspiration gala and five predecessor events, attended this one with lawyer-husband George. When mononucleosis sidelined him from 1964 Olympics rowing-eights competition, Hungerford joined Roger Jackson in coxless pairs. They promptly won Canada’s sole gold medal.

Founding and current Inspiration gala chairs Jane Hungerford and Tamara Taggart saw $4.3 million reportedly raised for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.


Founding and current Inspiration gala chairs Jane Hungerford and Tamara Taggart saw $4.3 million reportedly raised for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

As a busy professional, Jill Killeen is happy that husband Mike's new gig as CBC Vancouver co-anchor will get him out of the house again.


As a busy professional, Jill Killeen is happy that husband Mike’s new gig as CBC Vancouver co-anchor will get him out of the house again.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

Rx FOR BCCHF: Down at the Marriott Pinnacle hotel, pharmacist and pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Bob Rai chaired the Night of Miracles gala that reportedly raised $755,000. Robin Dhir, who founded the event in 2009, said its South Asian community attendees have raised $5.4 million and change for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. This year’s gala will help fund the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children Enhancement Initiative, said foundation president CEO Teri Nicholas. As for Rai’s career: “My dream was to be a pilot, but I became a pharmacist.” That may be why he and wife Harpreet named their now 10-month-old first child Amelia.

B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation CEO Teri Nicholas and board chair Lisa Hudson happily accepted the Night of Miracles gala's $755,000.


B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Teri Nicholas and board chair Lisa Hudson happily accepted the Night of Miracles gala’s $755,000.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

 

Cystic Fibrosis Canada regional director Sara Hoshooley feted CF patient Jeremie Saunders, 30, on his sickboypodcast.com weekly comedy.


Cystic Fibrosis Canada regional director Sara Hoshooley feted CF patient Jeremie Saunders, 30, on his sickboypodcast.com weekly comedy.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

LOOKING UP: Four rainswept blocks away in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Cystic Fibrosis Canada regional director Sara Hoshooley saw the 65 Roses gala reportedly raise $300,000. Leona Pinsky founded the fundraiser in 2001 when her and husband Max’s infant daughter Rina contracted an ailment that once killed patients by age four. Rina is now a third-year student at the University of Victoria. Attendees were entertained by CF patient Jeremie Saunders, 30, “who had a bad scare last year, so this is my bonus time.” Saunders and friends Brian Stever and Taylor MacGillivary founded an every-Monday podcast “that speaks to anyone with a chronic or terminal ailment,” Saunders said. The surprise? “It’s a comedy show.” It sure is. Hit sickboypodcast.com to confirm that the three “are absolutely determined to break down the stigma associated with illness and disease.” That’s worth living for.

Backing Contemporary Art Gallery executive director Nigel Prince and auctioneer Hank Bull, a Myfanwy MacLeod work sold for $7,000.


Backing Contemporary Art Gallery executive director Nigel Prince and auctioneer Hank Bull, a Myfanwy MacLeod work sold for $7,000.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

 

The words mean Go Away in Cree on Joi T. Arcand's sculpture that Suzy Thomas wore and that fetched $1,500 at the Contemporary Art Gallery's auction.


The words mean Go Away in Cree on Joi T. Arcand’s sculpture that Suzy Thomas wore and that fetched $1,500 at the Contemporary Art Gallery’s auction.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

THE GOOD FIGHT: Up at the Rosemont Hotel Georgia, Contemporary Art Gallery president David Brown welcomed guests to a 30th annual auction that raised some $150,000. He also called the long-time event auctioneer, Hank Bull,  “encyclopedic, credible and reliable … if he says something is going for a bargain, it is, and you should bid higher without hesitation.” Bidders do heed Bull. At Arts Umbrella’s recent auction, he got $10,000 for a Christos Dikeakos print estimated at $5,300. To secure such largesse, Bull said, “My theory is that bidders should get plenty of protein.” CAG gala-goers must have been duly fortified as Cree artist Joi T. Arcand’s sculpture fetched six times its $250 estimate. With its title, Go Away, formed in Cree symbols, the black-steel work replicated street-fighting brass knuckles, thus adding illegality to its appeal.

At North Vancouver's Maplewood Flats, Jean Walton released her tale of 1970 squatter evictions and the plight of North Surrey's Bridgeview residents.


At North Vancouver’s Maplewood Flats, Jean Walton released her tale of 1970 squatter evictions and the plight of North Surrey’s Bridgeview residents.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

AUTHOR ONE: The Whalley teenager-turned-University of Rhode Island teacher Jean Walton revisited North Vancouver’s Maplewood Flats recently to release Mudflat Dreaming. Published by New Star, the book talks about 1970s squatters evicted from the present-day bird sanctuary, as well as residents and activists of North Surrey’s then-neglected Bridgeway community. Also included is the locally shot movie, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, to which some squatter-artists contributed. Walton gives her characters a proletarian gloss while detailing events as you’d expect from a former reporter on the now-defunct Surrey-Delta Messenger.

Brian Scudamore's book about his 1-800-GOT-JUNK firm's fitful progress to become a $300-million enterprise reportedly sold out at Amazon.


Brian Scudamore’s book about his 1-800-GOT-JUNK firm’s fitful progress to become a $300-million enterprise reportedly sold out at Amazon.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

AUTHOR TWO: 1-800-GOT-JUNK founder Brian Scudamore should profit from his curiously titled debut book, WTF?! (Willing to Fail): How Failure Can Be Your Key To Success. A Canadian sell-out on Amazon, it documents his sometimes fitful progress from one clapped-out truck to a $300-million enterprise. Scudamore may benefit again when called to haul away now-read copies.

PAGE TURNED: Three years after closing its Robson-at-Howe bookstore, Indigo has reopened two-and-a-bit blocks westward. The two-floor facility includes a  Starbucks cafe and counters and shelves loaded with baby clothes, bags, blankets, board games, cameras, candles, earbuds, glasses, lotions, mugs, pillows, record players, robes, soap, spices, tableware, tea and much besides. There are books, too, along with multi-coloured woollen “reading socks” at $34.50 a pair and, for late- night readers, matching hot-water bottles. Such bazaar-style merchandising would have amused the late Bill Duthie, who in 1957 opened the first and best of his peerless bookstores half way between the Indigo outlets. Duthie might have appreciated modern-day Indigo’s glasses for beverages sourced at his era’s across-the-street liquor store, but he’d have lamented the absence of ashtrays.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Live, feel dawn, see sunset glow, love and be loved … in Flanders fields.

[email protected]
604-929-8456


Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.