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Posts Tagged "Sun"

15Jun

Bone-marrow transplant lets sun shine on Langley toddler for Father’s Day

by admin

Kelsey Lock’s ideal Father’s Day involves eating ice cream in the park with his daughter — a simple plan, but one bordering on miraculous.

Lock’s daughter, Charlie, was born with erythropoietic protoporphyria or EPP, a disease sometimes described as an allergy to the sun. Since she was a baby, ultraviolet light, even in minuscule amounts, would cause the little girl’s skin to burn, blister and swell. More insidious, it would also begin to destroy her liver.

As a result, Charlie’s life was lived inside. The world beyond the tinted glass of her Langley home was largely unknown to the toddler, now 3.

“Any time we’d see a playground, it was rough,” recalled Lock. “To see other kids playing outside and know that Charlie could never do that was really hard.”

Late last year, Charlie’s liver began to fail. It is impossible to prevent all exposure to ultraviolet light. Unseen, porphyrins had been accumulating in the toddler’s liver, causing it to swell to three times its normal size.

People with EPP have a shortage of an enzyme that metabolizes porphyrins, which help with the production of hemoglobin. Without the enzyme, porphyrins accumulate in the blood, reacting with sunlight to cause burns. In a small percentage of people with EPP, including Charlie, they also accumulate in the liver.

To save his daughter’s life, Lock was asked to donate part of his liver. The family travelled to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for the procedure. Working in a darkened operating room, a surgeon removed Charlie’s damaged liver and gave her a piece of her dad’s liver.

“I don’t think about it too much,” said Lock, “but every now and then, it hits me. I can say that I’ll always be there for her, and it’s literally true. I will.”

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But Charlie’s journey — from the family apartment with tinted windows in Langley to a park in Toronto on Father’s Day — was only beginning.


Charlie Lock, 2, during her first severe reaction to the Sun.

Submitted photo – Bekah Lock /

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Doctors told the family they were essentially rewriting the playbook with Charlie’s case. Porphyria is rare, and EPP rarer still. Charlie’s form, which destroys the liver, hasn’t been the subject of much research. But because the toddler still had porphyria, the cause of her liver failure hadn’t been addressed by the transplant. The cycle would begin again.

So Lock was tapped to donate his bone marrow. A perfect match would give Charlie’s body the ability to create the enzyme that breaks down porphyrins, essentially curing both her liver problems and sun allergy. But no one in Charlie’s family was a perfect match. Because the girl has two exceptionally rare genetic markers, there were no matches on the international bone marrow registry either.

Still, doctors believed there was a good chance Lock’s bone marrow could at least prevent the destruction of Charlie’s new liver.

“The idea is that the bone marrow reprograms your entire blood-making system, but how well that would work was unclear,” explained Charlie’s mom, Bekah Lock.

In February, Kelsey Lock watched as blood was drawn from his body and passed through a sophisticated machine that looked like a “crazy water clock” to filter the stem cells from the rest. A few days before the procedure, he’d been given a medication that caused his bone marrow cells to leach into his blood, which left him feeling strange.

“I could feel all my bones,” he said. “When I stood up fast, I’d feel pressure in my ribs.”

Lock’s bone marrow was given to Charlie, after her own bone marrow and immune system had been wiped out by two weeks of chemotherapy.

Almost four months after the procedure, the family remains hesitant to use the word “cure.”


Charlie Lock at age 1 with her mother Bekah.

Nick Procaylo /

PNG

The transplant was largely a success. Early results showed 100 per cent engraftment, which meant Charlie’s bone marrow cells had been replaced by her dad’s cells and they were functioning as they should. The number has dropped a little since then.

“I’d say cautiously optimistic,” said Bekah, when asked how the family is feeling about the future.

After eight months in Toronto, the family wants to come home. Charlie still has several small hurdles to clear related to the liver transplant. The doctors are also monitoring her bone marrow numbers. Her immune system remains severely compromised from the transplants. But the family has been told they could be back in B.C. by fall.

Charlie’s first foray into the world outside her window was a quiet affair.

A few days before, her parents brought her to the wall of windows fronting the hospital. As they looked over the city, the little girl seemed content and comfortable despite the light flooding the corridor.

In early April, Charlie received permission to leave the hospital for a few hours. Instead of bundling her into a vehicle with tinted windows, the family walked in the sunshine to their apartment at Ronald McDonald House.

“I kept the cover off the stroller,” said Bekah. “It was kind of anti-climatic in a way, but it was also very, very sweet.”

For Kelsey Lock, the time in Toronto has been an opportunity to spend unlimited hours with Charlie. On leave from his job as a framer, he said it feels like he’s being “forced to take a vacation.”

His Father’s Day will be about simple pleasures: An ice cream cone, a park and a little girl with the whole world before her.

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13Mar

Vancouver Sun March 19 letters to the editor

by admin


The B.C. Centre on Substance Use recommended on Feb. 21 that B.C. establish heroin compassion clubs for drug users as the death toll from B.C.’s opioid crisis continues to climb.


Francis Georgian / PNG

Re: B.C. approach to opioid crisis means well, but is misguided.

Letter writer Katherine Hammond is right — and not so right. It is true that one rarely reads that drug treatment and cure are goals in our current public policy. And it is helpful and appropriate to point to other jurisdictions where addiction treatment is mandatory and part of the social welfare system.

But this failing local policy is guided entirely by power, ego and control. Some day someone might report that the provincial health authorities actually do not believe that abstinence-based treatment works and that they refuse to fund beds where detox is the first step.

We can be proud that we have added one of the great modern oxymorons to the language — opioid replacement therapy.

David Berner, Vancouver

Will they get an apology?

There are now more than 40,000 veterans waiting for disability benefits from Veterans Affairs and the backlog is still growing.

What if these 40,000 brave people had not put themselves in harm’s way for Canada? These noble Canadians participated in conflicts, peace missions, rescue duties and various other tasks that were assigned to them, and did so readily to make Canada and the world better.

Despite promises to fix the mess, it continues to grow. What’s next? An apology from the prime minister at some time in the future?

Roger Cyr, Victoria

Men-only swim too?

It’s terrific that International Women’s Day radio broadcasts celebrated provincewide women-only swims, which address concerns about body image, religious perspectives and so on. I fully support progressive initiatives like this.

Do these equality moves mean that the downtown Vancouver YMCA can now reactivate the noon men-only swims that were removed as a result of inequality protests 30 or 40 years ago?

Tom Rankin, Kamloops

Daylight saving is great

I don’t know who is pushing to eliminate daylight saving time or why. I guess they prefer the dark.

I couldn’t help but marvel at Sunday afternoon, the first day of DST, that never seemed to end. That extra hour of daylight now, and especially in the summer, is a gift. There’s entirely too much being made about this hour of adjustment. The whiners need to accept some responsibility and make a little effort to adjust.

I look forward to enjoying dusk at 10 p.m. every evening this summer, and I won’t be alone.

Jobst Bode, Vancouver

Activists not democratic

The LNG pipeline has full approval of 20 democratically elected First Nations councils. As well, federal, provincial and municipal elected officials have done their due diligence on the impact of the pipeline and approved it.

The small, vocal minority against the pipeline, led by some hereditary chiefs and non-Indigenous citizens are, in essence, protesting against democracy.

Garrick Jay, Pitt Meadows

SNC job losses not true

SNC-Lavalin sought a deferred prosecution agreement based on its claim that many jobs would be lost without one, and that the company might have to leave Canada. The federal government accepted this, but recent disclosures have shown that SNC would continue to operate successfully without a DPA.

In a nutshell, SNC is saying, “If we cannot commit bribery and other criminal acts and, rather than face criminal charges, simply negotiate a suitable fine with authorities, then we cannot be competitive in Canada.”

I know of no other Canadian engineering company that takes a similar position.

Don Codville, North Vancouver

Terms used to dehumanize decisions

Saturday’s editorial critiques Coun. Pete Fry’s use of the term “corridor” in reference to the zones traversed by the proposed Broadway subway extension. His terminology obscures the fact that the “corridor” involves residential neighbourhoods, inhabited by people whose environment will be devastated by the intense densification that Fry and others at city hall intend to impose.

Totalitarian regimes exploit dehumanizing terminology to conceal the impact of their policies on human lives. The new council is intoxicated with its power to transform residential neighbourhoods and parkland, regardless of the environmental degradation and human distress involved. We must find a way to stop the juggernaut before it rolls over us.

Eric Levy, Vancouver


Letters to the editor should be sent to [email protected] The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at [email protected].

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11Mar

Long-time Vancouver Sun photographer Mark Van Manen dies at 58

by admin

Mark van Manen would do most anything to get a photograph.

Hang out of a helicopter, hundreds of feet in the air. Rearrange somebody’s apartment. Argue with the U.S. Secret Service about how close he could get to the president.

Then there was the time he commandeered hundreds of extras from a film shoot.

“Mark was sent to the fair to shoot a human-resources story about people who’ve made their entire career at the PNE,” says the PNE’s communications head, Laura Ballance. “They went to Playland because he wanted something colourful. There was a movie being filmed at Playland, and Mark walked over to the director and said, ‘I’m going to need all these people on the ferris wheel.’

“The director said, ‘Well no, we’re in the middle of filming a movie.’ And Mark held up his lanyard (with his press ID) and said, ‘If you want to be on the cover of The Vancouver Sun tomorrow, you’re going to have to do this.’

“And they moved a thousand extras working on the movie set over to the ferris wheel for the most Disney-like photo in the history of the Canadian newspaper industry.”

Van Manen died Saturday at Vancouver General Hospital after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was 58.

Mark Richard van Manen was born on Aug. 11, 1960, in Vancouver. He was something of a boy wonder as a photographer, landing a job at The Sun before his 20th birthday.

“He spent his whole life there,” said former Sun photographer Bill Keay. “I remember him coming in the first day. Somehow he got friendly with (photographer) Brian Kent, and Brian Kent said, ‘Go on in.’ So he came in, and (head photographer) Charlie Warner said, ‘Take him to the darkroom and see what he knows.’ ”

Keay laughs: “And a star was born.”


Photographer Mark van Manen, foreground, covered a 1978 protest against the University of B.C. engineering students’ Lady Godiva Ride.

PNG

Van Manen was irrepressible, and utterly fearless. When he was sent to take a photo of boxer Mike Tyson at the airport, Tyson was so incensed that he trashed van Manen’s camera. Mark was undeterred, filing a shot of Tyson attacking a BCTV cameraman.

He would make people pose for shot after shot until he got it right. One time he was tapped to photograph Nivek Ogre, the singer in Vancouver’s gloom-and-doom noisemeisters Skinny Puppy.

Van Manen wanted him to smile. Ogre said he didn’t want to, that wasn’t his image. Van Manen cajoled him again and again (“C’mon pal, just a little smile, c’mon pal”) for several minutes until it got so ridiculous that Ogre laughed. And van Manen got his photo.


Boxer Mike Tyson grabs a cameraman’s equipment in Vancouver, Jan. 11, 1989.

Mark van Manen/Vancouver Sun /

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“He was never early for anything, but oh my God, he turned everything off when he did a picture,” said Keay. “All he saw was the background, foreground and the subject, and it was all in focus for him. Nobody else was near him, nothing else was happening, that was what was in his head. It was total, absolute total (attention to the) picture.”

Van Manen was also a technical whiz.

“He is the master of outdoor lighting, where you’ve got the sun right behind the subject, hitting their hair and everything,” said Keay. “He backlit a lot of the subjects, because he wanted them to stand out. He was the master of that backlighting. Everybody tried it after they saw his pictures, but nothing ever came out like his.”

Van Manen loved to shoot rock shows. He caught the pomp of Freddie Mercury at Queen’s concert at The Coliseum in 1982, took a number of great photos of Mick Jagger over the years, and was proud of his shot of Bryan Adams meeting Lady Diana backstage at Expo 86.


Mark Van Manen’s photo of Bryan Adams with Princess Diana backstage after the opening gala at Expo ’86 in May, 1986. Prince Charles is in the distance.

Mark Van Manen Vancouver Sun photo. /

PNG

In his private life, van Manen lived in Lions Bay and was an avid skier and golfer. He co-owned a boat with his close friend and fellow Sun photographer Ian Lindsay. When Ian died, also from cancer, he left money to upgrade to a bigger boat that Mark shared with Ian’s son Paul. They called it the Kodachrome.

Van Manen is survived by his girlfriend, Heide Eden, aunt Doris Coleman and uncle Alex Cook. A celebration of his life is being planned.

There should be some good stories there, like the time Mark was sent to photograph former U.S. president Bill Clinton at GM Place Stadium.

“Clinton came to town for one of those famous live things,” said Ballance. “They’ve got all of the media in a bullpen, dead-centre at the back on the floor. Everybody’s there, and I’m watching the manoeuvring in this tiny little bullpen. And then I see Mark come in.

Vancouver Sun photographer Mark van Manen in 2005.


Vancouver Sun photographer Mark van Manen in 2005.

Postmedia News files

“It was a classic van Manen. He comes in late and everybody else is set up. He takes one look and goes over to the GM Place staff. His arms start waving and he holds up his lanyard. ‘If you want Bill Clinton on the cover of The Vancouver Sun tomorrow you’d better do this!’

“This goes on for about 10 minutes and is escalating up the chain. From where I was sitting I could see from behind the curtain. And I thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s actually activated the Secret Service.’

“These two typical Secret Service come down. I thought, ‘If he pulls out the lanyard to these Secret Service I’m going to buy him a bottle of wine, because this is the best thing I’ve ever seen.’ Sure enough he’s holding up the lanyard, arms flailing.

“The amazing thing is, after 15 minutes they literally allow the media to move the bullpen. So Mark walks them over there, and gets the best position! And the guys that have been sitting there for an hour-and-a-half to get their little piece of elbow room end up at the back.”

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Mark van Manen’s shot of Clayoquot Sound logging protesters gathered at daybreak on July 7, 1993.

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An example of Mark van Manen’s ‘backlit’ photos, featuring Alanna Hendren, CEO of the Developmental Disabilities Association.

Mark van Manen /

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Mark van Manen’s photo from a 1984 belly-flop contest.

Mark van Manen /

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To get this shot of PNE managers Anne Barbosa and Donald Lee, Mark van Manen ‘borrowed’ hundreds of extras from a movie shoot for the background.

Mark van Manen /

Vancouver Sun


Mark van Manen would carefully set up shots, like this one of travel consultant Claire Newell posing underneath a jet taking off at Vancouver airport.

Mark van Manen /

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Mark van Manen’s photo of Freddie Mercury of Queen fame onstage at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on June 30, 1980.

Mark Van Manen /

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Developer Peter Wall liked Mark van Manen’s photos so much he wanted Van Manen to take all of Wall’s photos for The Vancouver Sun. This is from 2001.

Mark van Manen /

Vancouver Sun


Mark van Manen loved to use light, such as this Sept. 3, 2012, shot of a ride at the PNE.

Mark van Manen /

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Mark van Manen shot Mick Jagger several times, including this Oct. 15, 1981, photo in Seattle.

Mark van Manen /

Vancouver Sun


Mark van Manen was an avid skier. This shot of Province reporter John Colebourn was taken at Grouse Mountain on Dec. 22, 2015.

Mark van Manen /

PROVINCE


Mark van Manen captured saddle-bronc rider Cort Scheer flying through the air after being bucked off at the Cloverdale Rodeo in 2017.

Mark van Manen /

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A Mark van Manen photo of Gord Downie at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on July 24, 2016.

Mark van Manen /

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On March 30, 2010, Mark van Manen photographed Vancouver architect Michael Green inside a washroom he designed built with old paperback books.

Mark van Manen /

Vancouver Sun

 


Mark van Manen was a master of time-exposure shots taken at night, such as this 2009 photo of the Hotel Pennsylvania neon sign at Carrall and Hastings streets.

Mark van Manen /

Vancouver Sun


Vancouver Sun photographer Mark van Manen in 1990.

Staff photo /

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When Dal Richards was named an Olympic torch bearer in 2010, Mark Van Manen photographed him holding his clarinet like a torch.


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19Feb

Club 16 provides cross-training tips for Sun Run participants

by admin

If you’re not outside running, what kind of exercises can you do to help you prepare for the Vancouver Sun Run? We asked Alexander Klocek, fitness manager at Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness in Coquitlam, to provide some suggestions on what you can do if you’re working out in a gym.

What kind of cross training can I do as a runner?

Any cross training that targets resistance training focused on the lower body is going to benefit a runner. Building muscle to support the ankle, knee, and hip joints is crucial for endurance in long distance running. It also decreases the potential damage to ligaments tendons, and cartilage.

For best results, we recommend a circuit style workout which includes some training to increase cardiovascular capacity for the long-distance run. Working with free weights, kettlebells, and machines is a great start for resistance training.

How does cross-training help me run faster?

It helps by increasing the muscular strength and endurance of the lower body which increases the cardiovascular capacity and delivery of oxygen to the muscles. The more oxygen that goes into muscles, the slower the fatigue. This allows a runner to increase the speed of the pace and sustain it longer.

Can exercise in the gym make my knees/hips/ankles stronger?

Yes. Working on functional movement patterns which include squatting, hinging, pulling pushing, rotation, gait, and lunging, improves the biomechanics of the movements which decreases the forces on the joints by running. The increase in muscle size provides extra support for the joints which further decreases the chance of injury.


Alexander Klocek, fitness manager, Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness Coquitlam.

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For a runner, what’s better: swimming or lifting weights? Why?

Generally speaking for running, weight training is a much more beneficial form of cross training. With swimming the VO2 max/cardiovascular capacity is largely different from that of running and will likely not cross over to increasing performance in running. It is largely an upper body dominant exercise and does not involve gait-like movements. Therefore, the transfer of ability of swimming to running is minimal. Lifting weights helps improve the specific muscles involved in running by increasing the strength, efficiency, and the cardiovascular capacity.

What kind of routine should I follow if I’m working out by myself in the gym?

If you do not know what kind of weight training you should be doing, we highly recommend getting a personal trainer to guide you through a proper workout for your body.

Everyone has a different body and different imbalances that may need to be addressed before you start weight training. This begins with working on functional movement patterns and focusing on the lower body. Types of exercises you can expect include squatting, hinging, lunging, step ups, leg presses, and hamstring curls.

The training format largely depends on the level of the client. Generally, one or two exercises in a row targeting opposite muscle groups would be a great start. If the client is a little more advanced, mixing this in with a short burst of cardiovascular activity such as a run, aerobic steppers, and side shuffles would be a great way to challenge the runner. You would want to minimally train lower body at least 1x a week and upper body to strengthen the core 1x a week as well.


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13Jan

Langley toddler with sun allergy receives liver transplant from dad

by admin

Charlie Lock’s Christmas came with a very special gift.

On Dec. 4, doctors removed the Langley toddler’s liver and gave her a piece of her dad’s liver. The transplant, performed by surgeons at Sick Kids in Toronto, is one of the first steps in a complicated plan to give the little girl with a severe sun allergy a more normal life.

“The transplant went really well,” Charlie’s mom Bekah Lock told Postmedia by phone from Toronto.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re grateful for how well it went.”

The next six months will see more medical procedures for the two-year-old girl and her dad, Kelsey, who was discharged from hospital a few days after his surgery, but continues to heal as his liver regenerates.

In a few months, he’ll give his tiny daughter another gift — this time, a bone-marrow transplant — that will help to save her new liver from the ravages of porphyria.

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Two-year-old Charlie Lock and her mom, Bekah, in July 2018.

Nick Procaylo /

PNG

In July, two-year-old Charlie and her mom Bekah Lock met with Postmedia to talk about life with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) — a genetic disease that is sometimes described as an allergy to the sun.

Even small amounts of ultraviolet light cause the toddler’s skin to burn, blister and swell. But it’s the invisible damage — the accumulation of porphyrins in her liver — that can eventually be life-threatening.

Charlie cannot go outside, not even on the cloudiest days, said her mom. The windows in the family’s Langley home are coated with UV-blocking film. To leave, she must be bundled into a stroller with a protective cover and then rushed to a vehicle with similarly coated windows.

She can’t go to a park, or visit a petting zoo, or have a play date at a friend’s house.

Her brief hours outside — the long walks her mom and dad would take with her before she was diagnosed a few weeks after her first birthday — have been forgotten.

“It’s a very small world that she lives in,” Lock told Postmedia in July.

“She’ll stare out the windows and point at the leaves in the trees. She knows what’s out there, but she’s never fully experienced it.”


A photo of Charlie when she was experiencing one of her first reactions to the sun.

Submitted photo – Bekah Lock /

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Porphyria, specifically EPP, can be excruciatingly painful. The family was prepared to adapt to a life without sunlight, but shortly after Charlie’s diagnosis, there was more bad news.

People with EPP have a shortage of a particular enzyme that metabolizes porphyrins, which help with the production of hemoglobin. Without the enzyme, porphyrins accumulate in the blood, reacting with sunlight to cause burns. In a small percentage of people with EPP, porphyrins also accumulate in the liver.

Like lightning striking twice, Charlie had the rare form of EPP, which destroys the liver. Tests showed scarring similar to that of an alcoholic.

Despite the risks associated with the procedure, doctors began planning a bone-marrow transplant, which could help the little girl metabolize porphyrins. But because Charlie has two rare genetic markers, a perfect match could not be found among family or the international database. Doctors decided Kelsey’s bone marrow, although not a perfect match, could at least halt the damage to the toddler’s liver and possibly help reduce the impacts of sun exposure.

Two weeks before the bone-marrow transplant was set to take place, Charlie became seriously ill. Her enlarged liver was pressing on her lungs, leading to pneumonia. Her tiny, sick body would no longer be able to handle the chemotherapy needed to destroy her own bone marrow in preparation for the transplant.

A new plan was created. Charlie needed a new liver, so instead of donating his bone marrow, Kelsey donated a piece of his liver instead. The procedure could not be done in B.C., so the family travelled to Toronto in late fall.


Charlie Lock after her liver transplant in Toronto.

Submitted photo /

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When describing Charlie’s tumultuous year, Bekah Lock is cheerful and optimistic.

The young mom celebrates the small things, like being able to hear Charlie’s little voice — and her laughter — after she was removed from a ventilator after the transplant.

“We’re not all the way there, but getting those little pieces of her back has been so good,” she said.

Lock admitted it was tough for herself and Kelsey to be away from family over Christmas, but in the same breath, she expressed gratitude for the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital, as well as for Ronald McDonald House, where the family has been staying while in Toronto.

“They’re taking great care of us,” she said.

After Charlie becomes stronger and gains some weight, the little girl will undergo chemotherapy in preparation for the bone-marrow transplant. The family plans to remain in Toronto for that process and doesn’t expect to return to B.C. for about six months.

“It’s out of our hands,” said Lock. “We know that there will be ups and downs. It never goes perfectly to plan. But right now things are good, so we’re just going to celebrate that.”

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17Dec

Vancouver Sun Dec. 18 letters to the editor

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Attorney-General David Eby.


CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS

I recently settled an injury claim with ICBC. I read with concern Attorney-General David Eby’s suggestion that lawyers are driving up costs. In my experience, ICBC mishandled my claim and drove up costs.

Through no fault of my own, I was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2013. I was off work for about six weeks. When I returned, I struggled with physical pain, debilitating headaches and dealing with the emotional impact of the accident.

I dealt with ICBC on my own for over a year, at times feeling pressured to settle, which I declined to do so because I was still in so much pain. I finally sought the help of a lawyer in March 2014. When my condition stabilized, we made a settlement proposal in August 2016. Without explanation, ICBC responded with an offer that was 15 cents on the dollar.

Fast forward to Nov. 22, 2018, two business days before my trial was set to start. My case settled for the very offer we made over two years earlier. In the meantime, we were forced to incur additional expert witness expenses in preparation of trial, including costly cancellation fees, all of which ICBC ultimately had to pay. ICBC also had to pay additional legal expense to their lawyers and expert witnesses.

It is unfortunate that ICBC did not treat me fairly from the start. It would have saved itself tens of thousands of dollars.

Erin Roddie, Vancouver

Eby shouldn’t blame lawyers

I disagree with NDP Attorney-General David Eby’s comments regarding ICBC in his Dec. 10 op-ed.

I was injured in a serious car accident caused by a bad driver and missed five years of work because of the injuries. While I returned to work part-time for a short period, I was unable to continue working due to my injuries. I loved my job and always worked hard. Not being able to work made me feel useless, weak and not a part of society. Enjoyment of my life disappeared.

I had severe ongoing neck and back pain that ICBC said were “only minor injuries.” ICBC refused to settle for a reasonable amount, which forced my lawyer to “build up my case,” getting opinions from many doctors just to prove that my injuries were “not minor.” ICBC also refused to pay “care” disability benefits.

By delaying the settlement, I would estimate it cost the system $100,000 or more. And the NDP have the nerve to blame victims’ lawyers! Even after the settlement, ICBC delayed processing the settlement cheque by months.

The NDP must stop blaming others and take responsibility for the costs caused by ICBC’s conduct.

Kent Westhora, Abbotsford

Electric vehicles are great

I read Jorgan Hansen’s letter to the editor last Tuesday about electric vehicle adoption in B.C. and must counter some of his points.

First, he feels the electrical grid is not up to supplying a large increase in electric cars. I have been participating in a B.C. Hydro program that controls when my car charges to minimize the load on the grid, and I don’t even notice this activity.

Second, the incentive program has helped subsidize the rapid evolution of electric cars. For the same price I paid five years ago, you can now purchase a vehicle that goes three times the distance. The program will not be needed in a few more years as electric cars will be the same price and eventually less expense then gas-powered vehicles.

As a bonus, electric cars are a lot more fun to drive.

Paul Paterson, North Vancouver

Carbon cuts are dumb

Re: Canada’s tiny contribution to world greenhouse gas emissions.

Wonderful! So we kill our economy, lower my standard of living and destroy my retirement plans to reduce a minuscule amount of “pollution” by half and the rest of the industrialized world laughs all the way to the bank.

Canadian oil is sold at a deep discount to the U.S. because of the anti-pipeline activists while we reduce our carbon footprint by less than one per cent of the planet’s total. McDonald’s is a bigger polluter, I bet, and I don’t see meat production on the chopping block.

Andrew Davidson, Surrey


Letters to the editor should be sent to sunletters@vancouversun.com. The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at [email protected].

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].


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17Dec

Vancouver Sun Dec. 18 letters to the editor

by admin


Attorney-General David Eby.


CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS

I recently settled an injury claim with ICBC. I read with concern Attorney-General David Eby’s suggestion that lawyers are driving up costs. In my experience, ICBC mishandled my claim and drove up costs.

Through no fault of my own, I was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2013. I was off work for about six weeks. When I returned, I struggled with physical pain, debilitating headaches and dealing with the emotional impact of the accident.

I dealt with ICBC on my own for over a year, at times feeling pressured to settle, which I declined to do so because I was still in so much pain. I finally sought the help of a lawyer in March 2014. When my condition stabilized, we made a settlement proposal in August 2016. Without explanation, ICBC responded with an offer that was 15 cents on the dollar.

Fast forward to Nov. 22, 2018, two business days before my trial was set to start. My case settled for the very offer we made over two years earlier. In the meantime, we were forced to incur additional expert witness expenses in preparation of trial, including costly cancellation fees, all of which ICBC ultimately had to pay. ICBC also had to pay additional legal expense to their lawyers and expert witnesses.

It is unfortunate that ICBC did not treat me fairly from the start. It would have saved itself tens of thousands of dollars.

Erin Roddie, Vancouver

Eby shouldn’t blame lawyers

I disagree with NDP Attorney-General David Eby’s comments regarding ICBC in his Dec. 10 op-ed.

I was injured in a serious car accident caused by a bad driver and missed five years of work because of the injuries. While I returned to work part-time for a short period, I was unable to continue working due to my injuries. I loved my job and always worked hard. Not being able to work made me feel useless, weak and not a part of society. Enjoyment of my life disappeared.

I had severe ongoing neck and back pain that ICBC said were “only minor injuries.” ICBC refused to settle for a reasonable amount, which forced my lawyer to “build up my case,” getting opinions from many doctors just to prove that my injuries were “not minor.” ICBC also refused to pay “care” disability benefits.

By delaying the settlement, I would estimate it cost the system $100,000 or more. And the NDP have the nerve to blame victims’ lawyers! Even after the settlement, ICBC delayed processing the settlement cheque by months.

The NDP must stop blaming others and take responsibility for the costs caused by ICBC’s conduct.

Kent Westhora, Abbotsford

Electric vehicles are great

I read Jorgan Hansen’s letter to the editor last Tuesday about electric vehicle adoption in B.C. and must counter some of his points.

First, he feels the electrical grid is not up to supplying a large increase in electric cars. I have been participating in a B.C. Hydro program that controls when my car charges to minimize the load on the grid, and I don’t even notice this activity.

Second, the incentive program has helped subsidize the rapid evolution of electric cars. For the same price I paid five years ago, you can now purchase a vehicle that goes three times the distance. The program will not be needed in a few more years as electric cars will be the same price and eventually less expense then gas-powered vehicles.

As a bonus, electric cars are a lot more fun to drive.

Paul Paterson, North Vancouver

Carbon cuts are dumb

Re: Canada’s tiny contribution to world greenhouse gas emissions.

Wonderful! So we kill our economy, lower my standard of living and destroy my retirement plans to reduce a minuscule amount of “pollution” by half and the rest of the industrialized world laughs all the way to the bank.

Canadian oil is sold at a deep discount to the U.S. because of the anti-pipeline activists while we reduce our carbon footprint by less than one per cent of the planet’s total. McDonald’s is a bigger polluter, I bet, and I don’t see meat production on the chopping block.

Andrew Davidson, Surrey


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9Nov

Remembrance Day 2018 | Vancouver Sun

by admin

Worn by everyone from young children to aging veterans, the poppy has been a symbol of respect and gratitude for the last century. But when you see all the poppies on lapels today, you may also want to consider: Who sells the poppies and why, who benefits from the proceeds, and what more can be done in Canada to support veterans and their families.

1. Poppy sales and programs they support

Thick rows of poppies grew over soldiers’ graves in Flanders, France, and were the inspiration for the now famous poem that Canadian medic Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote on a scrap of paper in 1915 during the First World War. Today, most schoolchildren can recite the first two lines of McCrae’s poem: In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row. The poem was also the inspiration for wearing poppies on lapels every November as a sign of remembrance.

Thousands of volunteers with the Royal Canadian Legion sell these poppies across Canada each year. In the 2016 Poppy Campaign, more than 21.5 million poppies were distributed, and $16.7 million in donations were used to support veterans and their families between October 2016 to October 2017.

The poppy sale proceeds provide financial assistance to veterans in need in many ways, including:

  • Grants for food, living expenses, medication, emergency shelter.
  • Housing and care facilities.
  • Programs that help veterans transition from military to civilian life.
  • Accessibility modifications to help veterans with disabilities.
  • Educational bursaries for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of veterans.
  • Community drop-in centres, meals-on-wheels, and seniors services in areas with many veterans.
  • Administering Remembrance Day activities.


Annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the Victory Square Cenotaph in Vancouver, BC Saturday, November 11, 2017.

Jason Payne /

PNG

2. Veterans by the numbers

There are 649,300 veterans in Canada:

  • 48,300 served in the Second World War or Korean War.
  • 601,000 are Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) veterans, from regular and primary reserves.
  • B.C. has the third-highest number of veterans with 91,700, behind Quebec (120,600) and Ontario (235,700).
  • 10 per cent of veterans are women.

Average age

  • 93 — Second World War
  • 86 — Korean War
  • 60 — Regular CAF
  • 55 — Primary Reserves

Changing demographics

  • Veterans Affairs Canada provides services to about 18 per cent of Canadian vets for issues such as disability pensions or rehabilitation services. Since 2010, it has assisted more modern-day CAF veterans than traditional war service veterans.
  • In 2017/18, services were provided to 20,139 war vets and 96,644 CAF vets.
  • By 2022/23, that difference is expected to increase as war vets continue to age, when Ottawa anticipates serving only 5,500 of them, but 119,700 modern-day CAF vets.

Afghanistan

More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel were sent to Afghanistan, the largest deployment since the Second World War. The mission ended in 2014.

  • There are 16,500 Afghanistan veterans, and 10,550 of those receive disability benefits.
  • Mental health conditions were the most common reason for disability benefits, followed closely by PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).


FILE PHOTO: A Canadian Armed Forces soldier fires an M72 light anti-tank weapon at the Kabul Military Training Centre range in Kabul, Afghanistan on November 4, 2013.

Sgt Norm McLean /

Sgt Norm McLean

3. Royal Canadian Legions: then and now

Legions organize poppy sales and support for veterans, but as the veteran population declines so, too, do legion memberships. Across Canada, the number of members peaked in 1984 with 602,500 but dropped to 550,000 by 1996, according to a Vancouver Sun story written at the time. Today, legions count just 270,000 members across Canada, but are trying to get that number back up to 300,000, said David Whittier, executive director of the B.C. Yukon Command.

The trend has been similar in the B.C.-Yukon region:

  • 2010 — 66,000 members and 152 branches
  • 2016 — 57,000 members and 149 branches
  • 2018 — 45,000 members and 147 branches

There are about 5,000 new members registered a year in B.C. and Yukon, Whittier said, but that’s not enough to offset the number who leave each year. The biggest growth has been in affiliate members — those joining the legion without a military background — who now represent more than 30 per cent of the local membership. The other members include veterans and active CAF (24 per cent) and their relatives (44 per cent).

To retain existing members and attract more, the B.C.-Yukon branches have explored changes to some locations to make them more popular with younger generations, such as a coffee shop model with lattés and free Wi-Fi.

“We really want to reach out to veterans of all ages and eras, and we really want to reach out to their families and the community,” Whittier said.

A slide show prepared for the legion’s 2017 convention, entitled New Era, New Legion, discusses new potential revenue streams such as bakeries, lunch-box delivery services, and community shuttle services. It said one branch makes $20,000 annually by holding farmer’s markets.

Suggestions also include trying to recruit new members through commercials, and transit advertising, and through new creative evening activities such as open-mike, trivia contests and dance lessons.

Whittier’s message is that people should consider joining the legion for all the good community work it does, such as those programs supported by poppy sales. “The legion does a lot of really tangible, useful things,” he said.

4. The War Amps turn 100

The War Amps, which began helping military amputees, now raises money to help a variety of people who have lost a limb, including children. Some of its history:

1918: On Sept. 23, 1918, the Amputation Club of British Columbia held its first meeting for war amputees, the start of many similar groups that would form across Canada and eventually amalgamate into a national organization.

1932: The War Amps and four other veteran groups lobbied the federal government for improved rights for war veterans, especially those with disabilities.

1946: The Key Tag Service began. It raises money and also provides jobs for amputees, who make the identification tags that Canadians attached to valued items. To date, 1.5 million sets of lost keys have been returned to their owners.

1962: The War Amps started to help all Canadian amputees, not only war veterans.

1975: The CHAMP program was started to offer support services to child amputees and their families, including financial assistance, regional seminars and connections with peers.

2016: In this year alone, there were 1,072 amputees enrolled with the War Amps, and it granted 3,355 requests for financial help to buy prosthetics.

2018: On its 100th birthday, the War Amps says it is serving an increasing number of amputees. “There is still much to do to ensure amputees have the artificial limbs they need to lead independent and active lives,” its website says.

5. How and where to celebrate Remembrance Day

The B.C.-Yukon Legion website lists the details of 150 Remembrance Day ceremonies happening across the province on Nov. 11.

There are seven events in Vancouver. One of the most popular is the ceremony and parade that begins at 9:45 a.m. at the Victory Square Cenotaph downtown, which has major historical significance. The tiny park was filled with recruiting tents for the First World War, and later soldiers returned there to re-enact the conditions in the trenches and to fire rockets into the air in an effort to raise money for charity. In 1922, the park was named Victory Square and the cenotaph was built two years later.

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