2017 - 2018 ANNUAL REPORT

the power of giving

annual report
heart and lung
brain health

2017 - 2018

You are accelerating us towards a future of innovative health care that would otherwise be impossible.

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The Power of Giving

$94.9 million raised
in 2017-18.
Thanks to you,
our donors.

VITAL is the important work of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. It is the crucial link that makes good health care better, enabling us to build new facilities, invest in new equipment and technologies, better meet patient demands and take advantage of new treatments and procedures. While government funds the day-to-day operations of our hospitals and health care services, philanthropy helps us accomplish our vision of exemplary care and enables us to act on what we know is possible.

Board & President’s message

Together, we are Vital

Health innovation and transformation in British Columbia are not the responsibility of any one person; all of us have a role to play. In an era of urgent and emerging needs, the power of philanthropy is accelerating us towards a future of innovative health care that would otherwise be impossible.

Christina Anthony, Vice Chair; Barbara Grantham, President & CEO, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation; Noordin Nanji, Board Chair.

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Together, we are Vital

Health innovation and transformation in British Columbia are not the responsibility of any one person; all of us have a role to play. In an era of urgent and emerging needs, the power of philanthropy is accelerating us towards a future of innovative health care that would otherwise be impossible.

Through the stories in this Annual Report, you will feel that power and its transformational impact on health care in BC. You will read about the Gaglardi family, whose incredible generosity is revolutionizing surgical care. You will learn of Jack Senior, his wonderful legacy of giving and how it is advancing cardiac care. You will gain insight into the personal and meaningful reasons behind Ruth and Don James’ gift, which is providing powerful robotics to help those suffering from epilepsy.

These are just a few examples of our donors who are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who receive care through our clinical partner Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). We are incredibly grateful to philanthropic investors who join with us so VCH can deliver BC’s most highly specialized adult health care, ground-breaking research and thoughtful system transformation.

We know that our unique mandate is bringing the value of philanthropy to the vital transformation of health care.
Together, our talented and committed team, along with you — our passionate and awe-inspiring donors — will continue to accelerate us towards a future of world-leading innovative health care for British Columbians now, next year and beyond.


Philanthropic Pillars

Philanthropy is Vital
to the transformation
of health care.

In this Annual Report, you will read some amazing stories of people who are Vital to accelerating health care in BC.


Transforming the Future of Surgery

In honour of a transformational gift, the surgical centre at VGH will be named the Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Surgical Centre.

The Gaglardi family gift is a testament to the way in which the late Phil and Jennie lived their lives and will improve access to specialized surgical care and health outcomes for thousands of British Columbians every year.

Devonna, Tom, Nathalie, Bob, Andrea, and Mitch Gaglardi.

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Transforming the Future of Surgery

“To this day, I don’t think I have met anyone I can respect more than my mother and father.”

To Bob Gaglardi, those words go straight to the heart of his family’s decision to donate $25 million to our Future of Surgery campaign.

“My parents dedicated their lives to the service of others,” says Bob. “They had a passion for what they did, and were selfless in carrying out their desire to help people.”

Phil and Jennie gave their lives to public service and community leadership in BC and their greatest joy derived from helping others — a value they passed down to their children and grandchildren.

The Future of Surgery campaign will invest in the infrastructure at Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital, giving our surgical teams state-of-the-art facilities to perform BC’s most highly complex surgeries — enabling us to continue to be the cornerstone of surgical excellence in this province.

To honour the significant impact of this gift, the surgical centre at VGH will be named the Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Surgical Centre.
When complete, it will be equipped with state-of-the-art operating rooms, hybrid ORs, a perioperative unit and the most advanced technology and equipment available. This will help improve patient outcomes and reduce surgical wait times.

“These suites are going to have better equipment and technology in the room,” says Bob’s daughter, Andrea. “The best surgeons will now have access to the best equipment which will enable the best possible outcomes for patients.”

The Gaglardi family’s gift is a testament to the way in which Phil and Jennie  lived  their lives and will improve access to specialized surgical care and health outcomes for thousands of British Columbians every year.

We are forever grateful to the Gaglardi family for transforming the Future of Surgery.


Navigating to happiness and understanding

Following their son’s leukemia diagnosis and a memorable moment of connect from a health care provider the Lutz family is supporting Leukemia and Bone Marrow Transplant patients through their journey.

Dale, Darcie, Jay, and Devon Lutz.

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Navigating to Happiness and Understanding

When Jay Lutz was diagnosed with leukemia at 17 years old, he and his parents, Dale and Darice, were overwhelmed. They had to navigate a series of tests and take in a lot of new information, and at times they felt unable to properly comprehend it all.

But then something happened. On one of the first days after Jay’s diagnosis, the family was at the hospital and a staff member noticed they were in distress.

“She took a moment and said to us, I’ve worked here for 20 years, and what we do is cure people and send them home healthy,” says Darice. “That one interaction was crucial to us finding the strength to keep it together.”

This small but vital moment inspired the Lutz family to help. They approached VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation to improve the journey for newly diagnosed patients of the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant (L/BMT) Program of BC at Vancouver General Hospital.

“When I think about how we can help families through those moments, I think about my interaction with that health care provider,” says Dale. “If we can ensure that families going through this have those interactions, that would make it all worthwhile.”

Dale and Darice donated more than $700,000 to support improving the journey of L/BMT patients and their families, including new computers and WiFi Internet access for patients who spend long days in outpatient care.

In the end, Jay’s journey is a happy one.

Jay underwent an experimental haploidentical transplant — the third procedure of this kind at VGH. Three years later, he feels blessed to be cancer free.

“I’m a success story for something brand new, something that research has made possible,” says Jay. “Because of the innovation I’m able to be here.”

Thank you to the Lutz family for your generosity and dedication to health care.

Heart and Lung

Advancing towards a world without TB

TB Vets have been long-standing supporters of VGH researchers seeking to better understand tuberculosis, and how it can best be prevented and treated.

Kandys Merola, Executive Director, TB Vets Charitable Foundation

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Advancing towards a world without TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that is both preventable and curable. Yet, each year 1.7 million people worldwide still die from TB-related illnesses. And TB remains very much a “thing”. Sadly, the beds in the TB Unit at Vancouver General Hospital are never empty.

Our world leading specialists want to change that, right here in Vancouver. And so does TB Vets Charitable Foundation. They have partnered with VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for more than 30 years to fund critical respiratory equipment, research and a patient support program in British Columbia.

“We’re both committed to solving TB,” says Kandys Merola, TB Vets Executive Director. “No matter what happens here, we’re going to continue to support the hospital.”

TB Vets has given more than $2.5 million throughout the years, of which $2.25 million is being used to support researchers at VGH to better understand how TB behaves, how some drugs affect the way it spreads, and develop new drugs with exciting potential.

Treatment for TB can involve a daily, multi-drug therapy program for six to 20 months and a potential isolation period on the TB Unit at VGH. This long recovery can be emotionally challenging for TB sufferers.

In 2013, funding from TB Vets was used to recruit a Recreation Therapist — the only one in BC who works with TB patients.

The therapist creates tailored plans for each individual on the TB Unit at VGH to improve their quality of life by engaging them in meaningful and engaging activities to maintain cognitive, social and emotional well-being.

“We get a lot of gratification out of the program,” continues Kandys. “When you can give and then see something happen, it’s really wonderful.”

We are truly grateful to TB Vets Charitable Foundation for your continued partnership and investment to ensure that TB is no longer a “thing”.


Leading a culture of innovation

Paul Geyer is guiding the Innovators’ Challenge to discover the next medical breakthroughs.

Paul Geyer, CEO of Discovery Parks and Nimbus Synergies, Innovators’ Challenge Advisory Committee Chair

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Leading a culture of innovation

A liquid skin substitute for treating burns.

A tool for early cancer detection.

An App to manage patient journeys in the Emergency Department.

Monitoring technology to improve cancer surgery.

These are the four brilliant ideas presented at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s inaugural Innovators’ Challenge — a new, exciting event that supports the brightest minds to help shape the future of health care. And none of it would have been possible without Paul Geyer.

After 25 years of investing in health technology, Paul was the obvious candidate to chair our Innovators’ Challenge Advisory Committee. In short, he knows what it takes for innovative medical ideas to come to reality.

“These teams need the right advice of what to do next, where to do it, and who to get to do it,” says Paul. “The competition gives them some initial funding and connects them with the right people to take a project to the next steps.”

With Paul’s leadership, over $310,000 was raised in support of health care innovations, which will improve patient outcomes, create efficiencies in the health care system, and offer commercialization potential.

It is Paul’s belief that beyond empowering revolutionary technology, an event like this creates a culture of innovation within the health care community.

“It shows people that when they develop new ideas, they’re recognized and celebrated and it gets results, and that’s a more effective way to implement change,” says Paul.

With people like Paul here to mentor these brilliant minds, we’re excited at what the Innovators’ Challenge can create in years
to come.


Investing in healthy communities

RBC and the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation are expanding life-saving mental health services in BC by funding Kelty’s Key, an innovative online therapy service being developed to support individuals with mental illness.

Martin Thibodeau, RBC’s Regional President for British Columbia

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Investing in healthy communities

RBC has been supporting VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for close to 40 years, donating over $2.3 million to a variety of programs. Recently they made a $1 million gift to enhance life-changing mental health services for at-risk youth and adults.

Martin Thibodeau, RBC’s Regional President for British Columbia, believes the alignment between health and wealth is direct and interdependent.

“Our core purpose is helping our clients thrive and contributing to long-term prosperity in communities,” says Martin. “We believe in investing in people. That’s very important for RBC.”

And that is why RBC chose to work with VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation to support the expansion of Kelty’s Key, an innovative online therapy service being developed to support individuals with mental illness. With RBC’s support, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) will build capacity so more individuals can get the help they need, regardless of where they live.

Kelty’s Key is the first of its kind to have content created specifically in Canada for Canadians, thanks to the generosity of the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation and their commitment to improving mental health services. RBC’s donation will help with the expansion of the project.

“There’s a lot of needs in the health care system and not enough money,” says Martin.

“We’re proud of all our partnerships, but VCH is a leader in health care and associating ourselves with a leading-edge enterprise that’s constantly renewing itself with new technology and new practices resonates with us,” says Martin.

“We see that VCH is progressive and innovative and say, wow, we’ve got a perfect match here.”

Thank you RBC for your investment in healthy communities. We think it’s a perfect match too.

Brain Health

Accelerating epilepsy care

Ruth and Don James learned about epilepsy through their daughter’s struggle. Through their daughter’s diagnosis, Ruth and Don James were introduced to epilepsy and the impact surgical robots can have on patients. It inspired a remarkable gift.

Don and Ruth James.

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Accelerating epilepsy care

For Ruth and Don James, witnessing their daughter’s struggle led them to learn about epilepsy — which affects 40,000 British Columbians.

“When she had her first seizure at the age of nine we knew nothing,” says Ruth. “It was a seizure at home and then later in the hospital when we realized it was epilepsy and really experienced the kind of help we needed going forward.”

That is why Ruth and Don chose to fund a $600,000 surgical robot built with leading-edge technology to improve diagnostic and  surgical outcomes for patients suffering from epilepsy at Vancouver General Hospital — the Provincial Epilepsy Centre for BC.

“I’ve seen the effects of robotics and what they’re capable of doing,” says Don. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that it’s so much less intrusive, and patients will come out stronger and with faster recovery times. So we jumped at this chance with enthusiasm.”

The new robot is a vital piece of equipment that will help those who struggle with epilepsy. It has a flexible robotic arm that mimics human movement, allowing physicians to quickly and effectively insert electrodes, reducing surgery time and the risk of infection, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

Connecting the power of philanthropy with health care innovation is nothing new for Ruth and Don. As dedicated British Columbian philanthropists, they see the positive effects of giving in many ways.

Their donation to the Metabolic and Genetic Explorations in Refractory Schizophrenia (MAGERS) study is improving treatment options for those suffering from this chronic and severe mental illness.

For Ruth and Don, philanthropy is second nature. And that inspires us all. Thank you.

Viva Pharmaceutical Time to Shine Gala

Shining a light on philanthropy

The Viva Pharmaceutical Time to Shine gala was a shining success, raising a record-breaking $4.3 million, thanks in part to the dedication of our gala committee.

Scene from the 2018 Viva Pharmaceutical Time to Shine gala

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Shining a light on philanthropy

Today, technology is achieving what would have seemed like science fiction 40 years ago. And because of our donors, that future is now coming to life.

Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and UBC Hospital perform approximately 30,000 surgeries per year for people from all over BC, and that number is on the rise as our population grows. Upgrading our facilities to match the skill of our world-renowned surgeons is absolutely vital.

That’s where the Viva Pharmaceutical Time to Shine gala comes in. In 2018, this prestigious event brought together a dedicated community of donors, partners, sponsors and health care leaders to raise funds for our transformational Future of Surgery campaign.

The Future of Surgery campaign will give our surgical team state-of-the-art facilities and access to the most advanced technology and equipment to perform the most complex surgeries — improving the health and well-being of thousands of patients in their time of need.

Our 450 gala guests humbled and honoured us with their generosity. A $1.5 million leadership gift from Westbank inspired guests to raise more than $4.3 million on the night — the highest amount in the gala’s history.

The Viva Pharmaceutical Time to Shine Gala Committee, led by Westbank’s Chief Financial Officer, Judy Leung, did a fantastic job of organizing a night that we’ll remember forever. “In order to truly make a difference and to really take us to world-class health care we all have to contribute,” says Judy. “Health care is everyone’s responsibility.”

We are sincerely thankful to Judy and the rest of the Time to Shine Gala Committee and all of our passionate donors and friends.

TELUS Night of a Thousand Stars Gala

A night to remember

The Night of a Thousand Stars gala presented by TELUS hosted 900 guests and raised more than $5.95 million  – a record amount.

Darlene Poole committed a $1.97 million gift to help purchase a new surgical robot – dubbed Jack Jr.

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A night to remember

Whenever Darlene Poole needs guidance, she asks herself, What would Jack do?

Jack Poole was Darlene’s husband who passed away in 2009 from pancreatic cancer. He was a true health care visionary, as well as an extraordinary leader and community builder.

Jack was responsible for the purchase of a surgical robot 10 years ago for Vancouver General Hospital. The machine — affectionately named Jack the Robot in his honour — would go on to assist in thousands of procedures, keeping Jack’s memory alive every time it was used to help a person in need.

But after a decade of use it became clear it was time to retire and replace Jack the Robot. In 2017, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s Night of a Thousand Stars gala presented by TELUS was used to highlight this need for the Future of Surgery. The annual event hosted 900 guests and raised more than $5.95 million — a record amount.

To top off the successful night Darlene also ensured her husband’s legacy lives on.

“When the hands stopped going up, there was a shortfall of nearly $2 million,” says Darlene. “I thought, Jack wouldn’t just sit here, he’d top it up.”

Darlene’s gift of $1.97 million allowed VGH to retire Jack the Robot and purchase the next generation of surgical robot. It features new cutting-edge technology and an additional console for a second surgeon — a great teaching tool. And this new robot’s name? Jack Junior.

At the hands of Jack Junior, patients will experience the relief of reduced pain, faster recovery and a quicker return to their normal lives. Darlene’s generous donation is vital to the well-being of thousands of people who will undergo surgery in the coming years.

Jack would be proud.

2018 Harry Rosen Tournament for Life

Driving change for prostate cancer

After Rod’s excellent care at the Vancouver Prostate Centre the  Senft’s have committed to advance prostate cancer research.

Jeannie and Rod Senft helped fund a live cell imaging system.

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Driving change for prostate cancer

After Rod Senft was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he and his wife Jeannie went halfway around the world looking for the best care possible. Turns out, they didn’t need to leave home.

“We looked at a number of places in America and Europe,” says Rod. “And everywhere we went they said, Right in your backyard is Vancouver General Hospital with the Vancouver Prostate Centre, and their team is world leading.”

After receiving excellent care at the Vancouver Prostate Centre that has given him a new lease on life, Rod became determined to help others who could one day face the same diagnosis.

“We have two boys and family history is the strongest risk factor,” says Rod. “We’re trying to make as big an impact as we can to make the lives of our family, friends and community better. It feels wonderful and gives our life purpose.”

This generosity culminated at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s Harry Rosen Tournament for Life, our annual golf event for which Rod has been the long-standing Honourary Chair. Under Rod’s guidance, 150 golfers enjoyed a round and raised more than $650,000 to support the Vancouver Prostate Centre’s game changing prostate cancer research.

Rod and Jeannie donated $150,000 towards a live cell imaging system, which will greatly expand the variety of experiments researchers can undertake to support breakthroughs in prostate cancer treatments.

As one of the world’s most respected cancer facilities, the Vancouver Prostate Centre provides treatment and support for thousands of men across BC.

“To really fast-forward research, we need to create that environment where the brightest minds in the world can build a career,” says Rod. “When we get those people with those resources behind them, magic will happen.”

Thank you Rod and Jeannie, for driving change for men with prostate cancer.

Most Urgent Needs

Angels makes the world a better place

Bev Briscoe and all our Angels are funding critical equipment for patients in need.

Bev Briscoe’s annual matching gift helps kick start our Angel campaign each year.

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Angels makes the world a better place

When Bev Briscoe first became a VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation Board Member in 2013, she never imagined she would also become an Angel.

From November to January each year, Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital and GF Strong Rehab Centre transform into a winter wonderland of trees that are filled with hundreds of Angels carrying messages of love and gratitude to friends and family, medical teams and hospital staff — all the Angels in our lives.

As Bev puts it, people get the opportunity to say, You’re my Angel and I thank you.

Both Bev and her husband Art Vertlieb were drawn to supporting the Angel campaign as they wanted to highlight the incredible team and the amazing work being done for gynecological cancers. “When you find out that we have amazing research success and world-class work being done here, having an opportunity to support it is really worthwhile,” says Bev.

Last year the Angel campaign raised more than $700,000, supporting VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s Most Urgent Needs fund, which helps our teams continue to deliver the best possible care to British Columbians. Supporting our Angel campaign enables the purchase of critical equipment and funding of high-impact research projects to advance patient care.

“It’s more about impact than it is dollars and cents, and it’s really exciting to watch the impact it can have,” says Bev.

It takes many Angels to transform health care. Heartfelt donations and personalized messages to honour Angels make an incredible difference in supporting our hospitals and health care teams.

Thank you to Bev Briscoe and all of our Angel campaign donors for helping lift the spirits of patients and their families during the holiday season.


A legacy of lives saved

The Senior family’s legacy is renewing UBC Hospital and revolutionizing Sports Cardiology BC.

Siblings Shelly and Mike Senior are carrying on a legacy of generosity from their parents, Elly and Jack Senior.

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A legacy of lives saved

Jack Senior was hard working. In his youth he juggled four jobs and as he grew older he found great success in property and the food industry. In fact, Jack continued to work well into his 80s until his health caused him to slow down.

He fought tooth and nail for his success, and yet he saw his prosperity as an opportunity to give back to the city where he had spent his life and raised his family.

“Dad would say, philanthropy is just a fancy word for believing in the program and caring about others,” says Mike Senior, Jack’s son.

Jack and his family believed so deeply in supporting cardiac care that when his beloved wife Elly died in 2014, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation received $6 million through Elly’s life insurance policy.

Before Jack passed in 2017 he once again demonstrated his incredible generosity by committing $10 million towards Sports Cardiology BC and renewing UBC Hospital through the Future of Surgery campaign. And now, just as Jack did for Elly, his children have taken up the mantle to honour their father’s legacy.

“Following his lead has made me want to do things to help others,” says Shelly, Jack’s daughter. “The more they can research, the more they can figure out what they need and the more we can hopefully provide.”

“It’s about progress,” says Mike. “Being able to afford cutting-edge equipment and make sure that health care for British Columbia is leading the way. We can do our small part to alleviate overloaded systems and keep us moving ahead.”

Thank you to the Senior family and all our legacy donors. Your gifts today will make a difference in the lives of British Columbians for many years to come.

Thank you to Jeanette and to all our legacy donors. Your gift today will make a difference in the lives of British Columbians tomorrow. Learn more

Find out how your contributions have helped make us vital.

Download our full Annual Report to learn more.

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