The David Foster Foundation is celebrating 30 years! In light of three decades of assisting Canadian families whose children are going through the organ transplant process, we have decided to share 30 very special stories about families we have helped along the way. Due to a life-saving organ transplant, these incredible children have gone on to live their lives and accomplish extraordinary things. So, our question Where are you now? If the David Foster Foundation assisted you or someone in your family and you would like to share where you are now, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Neala Cormican – liver transplant recipient
Neala was born June 11th, 2006, in Edmonton, Alberta.
At only 6 ½ months of age, she had a liver transplant at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Her father was a living donor for the transplant and was required to take three months off work after having the surgery that saved his little girl’s life. Neala’s mom, Sandra, was on maternity leave to care for her new baby girl, which meant neither of them were earning their regular income. The David Foster Foundation helped with the family’s mortgage payments during this difficult time so that they could focus on supporting each other.
Today, Neala is going into Grade 6. She can bike ride, hike, and join in the same activities as her friends. While Neala does not remember the transplant, she is grateful to be able to spend her time doing things she enjoys, such as crafting and reading. Neala’s liver transplant has allowed her to grow into the creative young girl and chase her dreams of becoming an artist.
Laura Gaudet – heart transplant recipient
Laura was born March 7, 2001, in Upper Nappan, Nova Scotia.
At only 3 ½ months, Laura required a life-saving heart transplant. Her transplant took place at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, ON. Laura has no memories of the transplant, however, growing up with medication and regular hospital check-ups became a part of her life. The David Foster Foundation has helped with her family’s annual trips to SickKids since she received the transplant in 2001.
Today, Laura is a 16-year-old embracing and enjoying high-school. In 2009, Laura went to Disneyland with the Children’s Wish Foundation and to the World Transplant games in Australia where she competed with other transplant recipients. She is grateful that the support the David Foster Foundation has given her family and has made annual check ups to the hospital less scary and more like a chance to spend time together.
Charlie Gendron – liver transplant recipient
Charlie was born on December 13th, 2012, in Alma, Quebec.
At only 3 weeks of age, Charlie showed signs that there was something wrong with the function of her liver. After months of testing and medical care, Charlie was diagnosed with Neonatal Sclerosing Cholangitis, a rare autosomal recessive condition. In December of 2013, Charlie was air ambulanced to the CHU St-Justine Hospital in Montreal, 5 ½ hours away from her hometown, Alma, as her condition rapidly worsened.
Charlie’s family prepared themselves for the reality that it could take up to a year to find a liver match for their tiny daughter. Due to the generosity of another family, Charlie only had to wait one week before she was given a second chance at life. The David Foster Foundation was able to assist the family with their mortgage and utilities back home, allowing them to be by their daughter’s side in Montreal during the fight for her life.
Today, Charlie is four years old. She continues to spend a few weeks each year in the hospital due to her low immune system since the transplant. She can, however, attend daycare, play with her friends and grow and develop into the bright little girl she is. This is all because of the generosity of others and the gift of organ donation.
Phoenix Borrowman – heart transplant recipient
Phoenix was born April 8th, 2009, in Perth, Ontario.
After only 4 ½ months with their precious new born, Phoenix’s parents would learn that their daughter required a heart transplant to live. Phoenix suffered cardiac arrest on three different occasions while waiting for her transplant and her heart was being supported by a Berlin Heart prior to the operation. She received her transplant at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Her parents recall the stress and fear they had for their little girl’s health and the confusion her siblings experienced during this time.
The David Foster Foundation helped cover the costs of relocating to Toronto. They paid for long-term hotels and a short-term condo, ensuring the entire family could remain together and support each other. The Foundation also helped with meals and childcare for Phoenix’s siblings. Phoenix’s parents are grateful the Foundation’s support allowed them to focus on what really mattered, being by their child’s side when she needed them the most.
Today, Phoenix is a busy little girl in Grade 3. She loves to draw cats and bounce on her trampoline. She received a Gold Medal for swimming at the 2014 Canadian Transplant games. Phoenix is very close with her donor family and has had many vacations with them, their incredible gift provides this little girl with the opportunity to grow and reach her full potential.
Chloe Capan – liver transplant recipient
Chloe was born October 5th, 2003, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Chloe received her first liver transplant when she was 1-year old at the London Health Science Centre. At only 2 ½ years old she was already going through her second liver transplant, this time at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. The David Foster Foundation connected with Chloe’s family during this time and was lucky enough to provide some much-needed support along her journey. While Chloe does not remember the time of her transplants, her childhood memories include many visits to the hospital and countless check-ups.
Chloe is now fourteen-years-old and living life to the fullest. She is grateful for the difficult times she has been through because they have shaped her into the person she is today. Having two life-saving transplants at such a young age has contributed to the strength and bravery she carries herself with. Chloe recognizes that you don’t always know what struggles people are going through and the importance of having empathy for others.
Today, Chloe helps spread awareness about liver disease and organ donation. Her life-saving organ transplants have allowed her to be an athlete, student, friend, and sister. Chloe will undoubtedly touch many lives and this would not be possible if it wasn’t for the gift of life through organ donation.
Curtis Kellar – heart transplant recipient
Curtis was born April 9th, 2009, in Lethbridge, Alberta, his parents first child.
When Curtis was only 3 months old, he stopped breathing in his mother’s arms. Curtis was rushed to the hospital and it was determined that he had a small hole in his heart. Curtis had many hospital visits and surgeries to repair and strengthen his heart, but ultimately, in the end, his only chance of survival was a heart transplant.
His parents remember the transplant process draining them, watching their son struggle to stay alive for over three years while waiting for his life-saving heart transplant. When Curtis was 6-years old he finally received his heart transplant at the Stollery Hospital in Edmonton. The David Foster Foundation was able to keep him and his parents together while they were displaced from home and provide financial support so that they could focus on each other, without the added stress of money.
Today, Curtis is 8-years-old. He claims he can “swim, fly, and run!” since his transplant. He enjoys swimming, camping, running, and spending time with his friends. The gift of organ donation has allowed this adventurous little boy to grow up exploring and brightening the days of those around him.
Grant Logan – liver transplant recipient
Grant was born October 30th, 1993, in Moncton, New Brunswick.
At 6 weeks of age, Grant was diagnosed with liver disease. He had 33 operating room procedures before finally receiving his liver transplant at age 14. His life changing transplant took place at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. The David Foster Foundation was fortunate enough to help Grant’s family with transportation costs and accommodation so that they could be together in Toronto to support Grant through his recovery.
In 2014, Grant and his family helped to organize the Canadian Transplant (CTA) Games held in Moncton. Grant participated as an athlete in the CTA games in Moncton, as well as at the 2016 CTA Games in Toronto, winning medals at both.
Today, Grant is a university student pursuing his business degree. He faces his health challenges with a positive attitude and lives each day with gratitude for the gift of life he was given through organ donation. In January 2018, Grant will be celebrating 10 years with his liver transplant.
Steven Reilander – liver transplant recipient
Steven was born on August 2nd, 1986, in Sidney, British Columbia.
Steven was born with cystic fibrosis, causing cirrhosis of his liver. He was 11-years-old when he had his liver transplant at the London Health Sciences Centre.
As a child, Steven’s focus was sports. Leading up to his transplant he could no longer participate in athletic activities and had become too sick to attend school. On top of battling his health issues, Steven found the loneliness challenging to overcome. The David Foster Foundation provided flights, accommodations, and other financial support to ensure that Steven’s family could be present during his surgery and after. This meant that Steven could have his parents, brother and sister by his side, during a time of isolation from his friends and peers, without the added stress of finances.
Today, Steven is a filmmaker and photographer. Since his transplant, he has graduated university, travelled extensively, been skydiving and hang gliding, and learned to play guitar. When he’s not behind the camera, Steven is also a public speaker, has been a part of starting a successful family business and has helped raise over $100,000 for the David Foster Foundation.
Steven is grateful for those who made his transplant experience possible; the family of his liver transplant donor, his own family and friends, and the David Foster Foundation. He aims to make them proud by living a full life and giving back to others.