Posts Tagged "helps"


Vancouver surgeon’s I’m a HIPpy program helps kids around the world

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Six-year-old Mattias Thompson loves to play hockey, but he was born with a rare hip disease that is keeping him off the ice. However, thanks to early intervention and surgery, the Grade 1 student from Chilliwack may just have a chance to get back in the game one day.

Mattias is a major Pittsburgh Penguins fan, and loves sports, says his mother Nikki Thompson. While it may be years before he can play hockey, the family is hopeful he will be able to play baseball next year.

Dr. Kishore Mulpuri, the orthopedic surgeon at B.C. Children’s Hospital who performed Mattias’s surgery, said it’s too soon to comment on his long-term prognosis, but said he has a much better chance of a full recovery because of early treatment.

“We caught it very early and that will help him. If he was older he would be more at risk for arthritis. So we want to get it to as normal as we can,” said Mulpuri.

Mulpuri was recently awarded a $450,000 research grant from the federal government’s Canadian Institutes of Health Research program for his team’s project, I’m a HIPpy, which he started three years ago to help children here and in other countries receive early screening and treatment for hip dysplasia and other hip conditions.

Mattias was diagnosed with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, which restricts blood supply to the femur, eventually killing the bone. He spent weeks at B.C. Children’s in April having a full hip reconstruction. Preparation for that surgery included five days where for 23 hours a day he had to be in traction with his legs splayed apart.

In the summer of 2018, Mattias starting limping severely and so his family took him to the local hospital in Chilliwack. At first doctors told the family it was a virus that would go away in six weeks. After his limp got worse, they went back to the hospital and a paediatrician took X-rays and then diagnosed him with juvenile arthritis. They went to B.C. Children’s for an MRI and on that night the radiologist called the family to say he doesn’t have arthritis but instead had Perthes disease.

His journey is documented on a Facebook page called Mattias’ Perthes Journey.

He really wants to be able to run and play with his friends, but otherwise he is doing so much better, said Thompson.

“Early detection can really change the outcome for these kids,” she said.

She said the family’s steel business recently held its annual softball fundraiser and raised more than $32,000 for I’m a HIPpy to helps kids like her son benefit from early detection. On Oct. 5, the annual I’m a HIPpy fundraiser gala will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Mulpuri says if hip dysplasia goes unchecked, many adults develop arthritis and will need hip replacements.

“People don’t realize that every single child around the world should be screened to see if their joints are loose,” he said, adding that roughly 40-50 people per 1,000 people are born with loose hip joints. “If it is picked up early on then they could have a normal life with an early brace treatment. So the key message is we need to get to them early.”

Dr. Kishore Mulpuri, an orthopedic surgeon at B.C. Children’s Hospital, with patient Neko Wong. Mulpuri wants to help kids around the world get screened for hip dysplasia.

BC Children’s Hospital handout /


Overall in B.C. the mean age is three months for detection, he said, but in other countries like India and China the age is two to three years, so that means the kids at nine to 12 will be having 15 to 17 surgeries.

“Their entire childhood goes to just surgery after surgery. It affects their mobility and takes their childhood away,” he said.

Mulpuri and his team created the International Hip Dysplasia Registry, which is the largest research and patient registry in the world. The registry is funded by HIPpy, with the goal that this research will help children worldwide.

While early screening is the best method to prevent the burden of hip dysplasia, Mulpuri said there are still other risk factors that need to be addressed like baby swaddling, for example.

“A lot of people wrap the babies tight for comfort, but that puts them at risk of hip dysplasia,” he said,

Other conditions that put kids at risk include being in a breech condition or having unequal leg lengths.

“As soon as we figure out they have a dysplasia or dislocation based on the severity we then treat with a brace treatment, which has over 90 per cent success rate if you treat early,” he said.

Mulpuri advises watching children for signs of hip dysplasia including if they’re having knee pain or walking with one foot turned out. He also says parents shouldn’t worry about getting a hip X-ray or asking their doctor if their baby was screened. At birth, all newborns in B.C. are tested for hip dysplasia, but there is currently no standardized testing and in some countries, little testing at all.

When not properly diagnosed, children can go on to have numerous surgeries and physical limitations that will impact them for life, causing much suffering and significant costs to medical systems, said Mulpuri.

Mulpuri said thanks to the CIHR grant, the support of B.C. Children’s Hospital, donors and volunteers, they are expanding their network, building data and statistics into the database “at an extremely fast pace.”

The financial impact of missed hip-dysplasia diagnosis to Canada and U.S. health-care systems is about $625 million a year, according to Regina Wilken, executive director of I’m a HIPpy.

Mulpuri works with doctors in Canada, the U.S., Europe, China and India sharing the database knowledge and assisting with hip-dysplasia patient surgeries.

He says the ultimate goal is to help all children improve their quality of life.

[email protected]


Training program helps people gain experience, secure forestry jobs

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More than 100 people will get training and work experience in the forest sector, giving them opportunities for job success and improved lives, through $3.3 million in provincial government funding.

“One key way to reduce poverty is to open doors for people to new jobs and careers,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This program, through training and work experience, will prepare people for a wide variety of forestry jobs, putting them on the path to better opportunities.”

On behalf of government, Stillwater Consulting is delivering the Advanced Forestry Training program in three communities: Cranbrook, Kamloops and Nanaimo. Students will earn 11 different industry certifications, including silviculture surveyor certification, occupational first aid – level 3 and basic chainsaw operator. The program includes a three-week job placement with local forestry employers.

“Our program gives participants knowledge, skills and certifications in different areas of forestry in just 19 weeks,” said Aaron Byng-Hall, project manager, Stillwater Consulting. “Our graduates become environmental technicians, recreational trail builders, silviculture surveyors and wildland firefighters. For someone looking for opportunities after a mill closure, the program provides a great way to expand on what they know and turn that into a new career.”

“In light of recent record-breaking wildfire seasons, there is an increased demand for people who can work in the woods,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

The Advanced Forestry Skills Training Program is recruiting students for a July 22, 2019, start date in Kamloops and an Aug. 12, 2019 start date in Cranbrook and Nanaimo. Overall, 36 students per city can participate, with a total of 108 spaces. People interested in applying can contact WorkBC Offices in Cranbrook, Kamloops or Nanaimo.


Brianna Henderson, Stillwater training program graduate —

“Taking this program definitely changed my life and propelled me into my career. I’m now a junior forestry technician with Atlas Information Management, and getting that job was 100% a result of the Stillwater training. It can be hard to get into forestry if you don’t come from the industry, but after the program I was so much more confident in going to apply for a position like that. Overall, I’m just really thankful that this program exists. It has opened up a world of opportunities for me.”

Tim LaRade, senior project manager, Nupqu Development Corporation —

“Stillwater Consulting’s Advanced Forestry Skills Training Program is completely unique in B.C.’s forest industry. It’s practical, it’s hands on and most importantly, it sets graduates up with the skills they need for immediate success once they join the working world. When our new employees come to us with these skills already, it saves us a lot of training time on our end.”

Shane Holley RFT, general manager, Maple Leaf Forestry Ltd. —

“We’ve hired several graduates of the Advanced Forestry Skills Training Program at Maple Leaf Forestry who initially completed the program’s three-week job placement with us. It’s a great way for both us and the student to get to know each other and make sure the fit is right. We find Stillwater graduates to be well-trained, confident and armed with the skills and certifications we’re looking for on our team.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing $3.3 million through the Project Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.
  • Approximately $15 million will be invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.
  • To be eligible to participate in the Advanced Forestry Training Program, students must meet employment insurance eligibility requirements and live in the city or surrounding areas of Cranbrook, Kamloops or Nanaimo.

Learn More:

Learn how Community Employer Partnerships are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

Learn more about project-based labour market training: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships/Project-Based-Labour-Market-Training.aspx

Find out more about Stillwater Consulting: https://www.stillwaterconsultingltd.com/

Find out more about the Advanced Forestry Training Program and learn how to apply:

Learn more about WorkBC and employment insurance eligibility: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/WorkBC-Centres/Who-Should-Visit-a-WorkBC-Centre.aspx

Connect with WorkBC:

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

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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.


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

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Last member of Vancouver baseball team that fought racism helps unveil new stamp

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BURNABY, B.C. – A new Canada Post stamp honours an amateur Japanese-Canadian baseball team that used sport to battle racism and discrimination.

The Vancouver Asahi formed in 1914 and thrilled fans in the city until 1941 when it was disbanded during the Second World War as Canada interned more than 20,000 people, most of them Canadians of Japanese descent.

Canada Post says the stamp recognizes more than the well-known story of the Asahi players, who used a strategy they dubbed “brain ball” to beat bigger, more powerful teams by relying on bunts, base stealing and squeeze plays.

The stamp also honours the Asahi commitment to honourable, fair play to oppose overt racism and fear that was common in Canada during the first half of the 20th century and resulted in the forced internment of Japanese-Canadians.

Kaye Kaminishi – a third baseman and, at 97, the last surviving member of the Vancouver Asahi – helped unveil the stamp Wednesday night at a ceremony in Burnaby, B.C.

The stamp displays 11 Asahi players from the 1940 team, including Kaminishi, who appears in the back row, second from left.

Carla Qualtrough, minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, who is responsible for Canada Post, attended the unveiling and says Canada’s internment policy during the Second World War remains one of the most tragic events in Canadian history.

“This stamp reflects the Asahi’s determination to overcome racism and discrimination through the power of sport,” Qualtrough says in a statement. “Asahi players exhibited integrity, honour and fair play and were shining examples of what it means to be truly Canadian.”

Actor George Takei, known for his role as Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek,” took time off from a local movie shoot to attend the unveiling at Burnaby’s Nikkei centre, a complex celebrating Japanese-Canadian history and culture.

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Town Talk: Event helps those who need help breathing

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Technology for Living's Ruth Marzetti, Susan Dessa , April Skold and Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui backed patient and peer network facilitator Nancy Lear at the development's firm's annual reception.

Technology for Living’s Ruth Marzetti, Susan Dessa , April Skold and Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui backed patient and peer network facilitator Nancy Lear at the development’s firm’s annual reception.

Malcolm Parry / PNG

BREATHE EASIER: Occupants of Concord Pacific-built condo towers likely relish fresh air wafting in from False Creek. For some at the development firm’s recent 30th anniversary reception, though, receiving any air at all is a matter of life and death. They were staff, supporters and patients of the B.C. Association for Individualized Technology and Supports for People with Disabilities. A beneficiary of the Concord Pacific event, the 12-year-old non-profit organization (bcits.org) “works with people who have severe physical disabilities and helps them to live as well and as independently as possible.” One such person present at the event was Nancy Lear. She is also an association peer network facilitator who assists and supports others who require ventilators to breathe while also tapping into the organization’s transition and 24-hour therapy services and other programs. Backed by caregiver Susan Dessa, association executive director Ruth Marzetti and staffer April Skold, Lear thanked Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui. As for his firm’s breathing space in a presently down-turning market, Hui told guests: “A whole new wave of social innovation is coming. Every time you shuffle the deck is opportunity. I look forward to next year.”

Accompanied by wife Yuju Yoon, Japan's newly installed consul general, Takashi Hatori, conducted a birthday reception for Emperor Akihito.

Accompanied by wife Yuju Yoon, Japan’s newly installed consul general, Takashi Hatori, conducted a birthday reception for Emperor Akihito.

Malcolm Parry /


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A new era opened for Takashi Hatori with his recent posting as Japan’s consul general. Another one was seen to be closing when he hosted an 85th-birthday celebration for Japan’s 125th emperor, Akihito, who has said he will abdicate on April 30. Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed him. Reminding guests of Akihito and Empress Michiko’s warm welcome here in 2009, Hatori diplomatically called Vancouver “a top-ranked city on the global scale.” Noting the 90th anniversary of Canada-Japan diplomatic relations, he expressed “high expectations” for mutual investment opportunities following the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal coming into force Dec. 30.

DESIGN HERE: The 14th annual Interior Design Show ended Sept. 23. But it left behind a remarkable guide to the maturing regional industry. Curated by the show’s Vancouver director Jody Phillips, Currents: Contemporary Pacific Northwest Design is a lavishly illustrated 176-page book that refers to the “truly borderless”  design region as “not just a geographical location but a state of mind, a sensibility rather than a particular style or esthetic.” The $55 book (vancouver.interiordesignshow.com) portrays eight Oregon designers and/or firms, five from Washington and 19  from B.C. The include ANDlight firm’s Lukas Peet, Caine Heintzmann and Matt Davis, and Annie Tung. Naturally it includes designer, manufacturer and Inform store owner Niels Bendtsen who has championed regional creativity for a half century. The Interior Design Show will return Sept. 26-29, 2019.

ON HOLD: The following items and photographs were drawn from several unpublished in this column during 2018.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra musical director Otto Tausk's wife Daphne attended his local conducting debut at an Orpheum theatre concert.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra musical director Otto Tausk’s wife Daphne attended his local conducting debut at an Orpheum theatre concert.

Malcolm Parry /


OTTO’S PILOT: Long accustomed to seeing Vancouver Symphony Orchestra music director Bramwell Tovey, an Orpheum Theatre audience applauded successor Otto Tausk’s debut concert Sept. 21. With wife Daphne later, he said: “You, our audience, have given us such a great feeling of support and dedication to the VSO.”

SUCCESS Foundation chair Queenie Choo welcomed Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to the social-service agency's 40th annual gala.

SUCCESS Foundation chair Queenie Choo welcomed Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to the social-service agency’s 40th annual gala.

Malcolm Parry /


GONE FISHING: The SUCCESS social agency’s foundation made a splash at Vancouver Aquarium in March when its 40th annual gala raised $650,000 for services and programs. Chair Queenie Choo welcomed Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, likely then still happy at having netted Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas as the B.C. legislature’s Speaker.

Dietician Ildiko Toth and multiple-gala chair Naz Panahi attended the Daffodil Ball that raised $1.54 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Dietitian Ildiko Toth and multiple-gala chair Naz Panahi attended the Daffodil Ball that raised $1.54 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Malcolm Parry /


MILLIONS MAKER: Registered dietitian Ildiko Toth joined Naz Panahi at the Canadian Cancer Society’s $1.5-million Daffodil Ball. Although a guest at that fundraiser, Panahi has long provided it and others with a necessary diet of cash. She chaired numerous Daffodil Balls and Arthritis Research Canada galas. In September, she and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s Night of a Thousand Stars event to raise $4 million.

Robert and Lily Lee attended the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation's second annual gala that daughter Carol founded to fund a social-housing complex.

Robert and Lily Lee attended the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s second annual gala that daughter Carol founded to fund a social-housing complex.

Malcolm Parry /


CENTURY SENSED: Attending the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Vancouver Chinatown gala with wife Lily, Bob Lee likely thought of father Ron Bick Lee settling there from Guangdong in 1911. Daughter Carol Lee founded and chaired the gala. The foundation  “promotes the well-being of those in need (and) invests in projects that revitalize Vancouver’s Chinatown.”

Carol Lee joined philanthropist Sylvia Chen at a reception for B.C. Children's Hospital Circle of Care member-donors at Parq Vancouver's D/6 bar.

Carol Lee joined philanthropist Sylvia Chen at a reception for B.C. Children’s Hospital Circle of Care member-donors at Parq Vancouver’s D/6 bar.

Malcolm Parry /


NEXT CENTURY: Carol Lee and philanthropist Sylvia Chen attended a reception for B.C. Children’s Hospital’s Circle of Care group whose 270 individual, foundation and corporate members each donate at least $10,000 annually.

Many signs had pointed to former Surrey mayor and South Surrey-White Rock MP becoming B.C. Liberal Party leader, but members voted otherwise.

Many signs had pointed to former Surrey mayor and South Surrey-White Rock MP becoming B.C. Liberal Party leader, but members voted otherwise.

Malcolm Parry /


KER-BOOM: Having signed up thousands of new B.C. Liberal party members, signs pointed to former mayor-MP Dianne Watts being elected leader. After leading three rounds, though, she was outfoxed by Andrew Wilkinson, not to mention having fewer than half her signed-up members actually cast ballots.

Le Crocodile owner-chef Michel Jacob served his native Alsace's titanic Choucroute Garnie au Riesling at a March banquet for the big of appetite.

Le Crocodile owner-chef Michel Jacob served his native Alsace’s titanic Choucroute Garnie au Riesling at a March banquet for the big of appetite.

Malcolm Parry /


RIB-STICKER: Even this season’s hefty meals seldom outweigh Alsatian-specialty Choucroute Garnie au Riesling that Le Crocodile’s Strasbourg-born Michel Jacob served to colleagues in March. Think smoked ham hocks, pork ribs, other cuts and several different sausages mounded on half spuds and wine-fermented cabbage.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Merry Christmas to all and especially the British for whom Brexit shenanigans top such traditional seasonal pantomimes as Cinderella, Peter Pan and Puss in Boots.

[email protected]

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Investment in workplace technology helps people with disabilities

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A new WorkBC contract that equips people with adaptive technology will open up employment opportunities for people with disabilities and help them thrive in the workplace.

Delivered by the Neil Squire Society, the Assistive Technology Services program combines two existing services — [email protected] and supports offered through individual WorkBC Centres — into one streamlined provincial resource to help more people with disabilities throughout the province fully participate in B.C.’s economy.

“British Columbia’s economy is thriving but to be a truly inclusive province, we need everyone to have the tools they need to participate in the workforce and build the life they deserve,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The Neil Squire Society has been a leader in innovative assistive technology for over 30 years. As the successful proponent, it can continue its important work with employers and people with disabilities.”

Supports available through the Assistive Technology Services program include:

  • mobility supports, alternative keyboards, voice input equipment and other workplace modification technology
  • advice to employers on how to be more accessible and inclusive
  • training to help people navigate other services and supports to assist with employment

The contract has a five-year term, is valued at $28.8 million and will begin service delivery on April 1, 2019.

“The Neil Squire Society is dedicated to breaking down barriers that keep people with disabilities from finding sustainable, meaningful employment,” said Gary Birch, executive director, Neil Squire Society. “This funding will help expand our vision and continue our work to improve the lives and opportunities of people with disabilities.”

The Assistive Technology Services program is one of two WorkBC services that will soon be delivered provincially. Beginning April 1, 2019, Douglas College will provide WorkBC Apprentice Services, including processing financial support applications and facilitating approvals for apprentices to collect employment insurance benefits while participating in classroom training. This contract is valued at $67.5 million over five years.

Quick Facts:

  • Approximately 334,000 people in B.C. aged 15 to 64 self-identify as having a disability.
  • As of Nov. 1, 2018, more than 1,400 people with disabilities have accessed [email protected] services through the Neil Squire Society.
  • There are 84 WorkBC centres throughout the province that serve British Columbians, including people with disabilities.
  • The President’s Group, an advisory group to government, is a change-driven network of 22 B.C. business leaders committed to working with private sector employers to help increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • Of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 to 64 years, 47% are employed compared to 74% of people without disabilities.

Learn More:

For information about supports available through the WorkBC Employment Services Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual/eppe/employment-program-of-british-columbia

To learn more about the Neil Squire Society, visit: https://www.neilsquire.ca/

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