When my mother was pregnant with me, I was diagnosed with Rhesus Hemolytic Disease. It is a condition where antibodies in my mother’s blood were destroying my own blood cells. At that time in 1967, it was known to lead to brain damage or even death.
But I had one thing on my side — incredible medical care. The specialists who cared for my mother and I transfused my blood while in the womb, and again when I was born. Luckily, I had no further complications from this disease.
A year later, a medical breakthrough would resolve this problem.
I was one of the last children born in Canada who had to face down the potential impacts of this disease. Medical research and innovation uncovered first how to treat and manage hemolytic disease, then ultimately how to eliminate it, freeing hundreds of thousands of parents from ever having to fear its consequences.
That is what people like you, our vital donors, make possible. Every year, I am astonished at what we accomplish together. Medical breakthroughs make what previously seemed impossible, possible. They turn unimaginable difficulties into lessons of the past. And this is what we are celebrating in this issue of Vital.
Medical breakthroughs are often the result of researchers standing on the shoulders of those who came before them. In January of this year, Dr. Dianne Miller retired after a remarkable career as Division Head of Gynecological Oncology. As a co-founder of OVCARE , she helped fundamentally transform the world’s understanding of ovarian cancer, how to prevent and treat it. Dianne was recognized by the Foundation with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Innovation in 2019. Her legacy continues in the work of OVCARE and the Gynecological Cancer Initiative featured in this issue and through physicians and nurses she has trained and mentored in Canada, Uganda, and around the world.
Elsewhere in this issue we looked into the day-to-day life of one of 2020’s most talked about jobs — a COVID-19 contact tracer – and we share stories of the incredible philanthropists who empower our health care heroes to do their jobs.
The impact of your donations is on display throughout the issue. It is only with your support that we are able to take strides towards a better, healthier future, together.
I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. If you have thoughts or feedback please visit contact us and get in touch.
President & CEO
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation