April 21 – 27, 2013 – National Organ Donor Awareness Week
April 22, 2013, Victoria, BC – Most days, two-year-old Chace runs his parents ragged – and they couldn’t be happier.
Eighteen months ago, the Vancouver family was desperate for a heart transplant that could save Chace’s life. They moved to Edmonton to be near the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Then they waited. And waited. Throughout, the family had the financial and emotional support of the David Foster Foundation.
They were lucky. After six months, a heart became available through organ donation. As is the case with more than 80 per cent of transplants, Chace’s was successful. His tiny body took to the new heart like it was meant to be. Now, the family is back at home in Vancouver with a healthy child, looking forward to life’s milestones.
The David Foster Foundation, started by the Victoria-born producer and songwriter, financially supports the non-medical expenses for families whose children are undergoing major organ transplants. These families often come from areas far from transplant hospitals, and parents have to leave their jobs and other family members to wait for the organs to become available.
Since 1986, the David Foster Foundation has provided millions of dollars in direct support to more than 780 families. At the end of 2011, there were 4,864 patients waiting for organ transplants in Canada; 2,234 received transplants. Despite this, 285 Canadians died last year while waiting for a donor organ. The demand far exceeds the supply.
In 2012, the Foundation, along with the support TELUS as a national partner, launched www.DaysInWait.com, helping to draw attention to stories like Chace’s. The name, Days in Wait, refers to the number of days a donor recipient has waited, or is waiting, to receive a life-saving organ transplant.
Days in Wait allows donors, donor recipients, family members and friends to share the life stories of their loved ones during their wait period, to encourage others to register for organ donation, and to bring families together in an online community to support each other through the process.
“We’re blessed by the support we have been provided by financial donors to help support families, but we can all do more,” says Mike Ravenhill, chief executive officer of the David Foster Foundation. “We ask Canadians to take a few minutes out of their day – even while they’re waiting in line to buy a coffee – to register online to become an organ donor. That minute or two could literally mean a lifetime to others and even possibly one day be their own.”
Although 85 per cent of Canadians feel that organ donation is beneficial, only 14 per cent are registered as donors. The disconnect between support and action has made Canada one of the lowest rate of organ donating countries in the Western world – about 14.5 per one million population. That is about one-third the rate of Spain, which has the highest rate, and about half that of Estonia, Belgium, the US and Italy. Ireland has a high rate of organ donation. They deal with it as a fact of life, with road signs like: “Don’t take your organs to heaven when you die; we need them here on earth.”
“David has often said that he wants his legacy to be his foundation, not his music,” says Ravenhill. “By bringing the importance of organ donation registration to the forefront as part of national Organ Donor Awareness Week, we are working to help David fulfill this lasting legacy, and in turn help extend the lives of children across Canada.”
For more information on the David Foster Foundation, visit www.davidfosterfoundation.com.
About the David Foster Foundation
David Foster is a 16-time Grammy Award winner (including three for Producer of the Year) with an unprecedented 46 nominations, a recipient of seven Canadian Juno Awards, an Emmy Award and a three time Oscar nominee, all over the course of four extraordinarily successful decades. Foster launched the David Foster Foundation in his hometown of Victoria in 1986. Across Canada the David Foster Foundation financially supports families whose children are undergoing lifesaving organ transplants. Thanks to its annual fundraising efforts and the generous support of national partners like TELUS, WestJet, and Aird & Berlis, LLP families receive support for non-medical expenses incurred when traveling away from their homes to be with their child during transplant. The Foundation also promotes organ donor awareness and registration in both Canada and the United States. For more information, visit www.davidfosterfoundation.com.
Brian Cant, Tartan Group, 250-592-3838 or firstname.lastname@example.org