From recovery room to the workshop: Carving inspires emotional healing

A small workspace, some stone and a few tools helped Saila Kipanek, a traditional Inuit carver, recover and heal after rectal cancer surgery and treatment.

Inuit carves way to mental well-being after cancer

After cancer diagnosis, Saila Kipanek, a traditional Inuit carver, couldn’t have imagined how important his life’s work would be for his recovery.

When Saila was diagnosed with rectal cancer, he knew his best chance for survival was treatment at The Ottawa Hospital. But uprooting his life in Nunavut, to be treated in Ottawa, away from his family, friends, and community would prove to be a challenge. It took a toll on his mental health.

But staff at The Ottawa Hospital would go the extra mile to make him feel at home.

A wholistic approach to healing

It was a cold February day, when Saila woke up in a post-op recovery room. He was feeling like a shell of his former self. Having spent months away from his home and his loved ones while undergoing cancer treatment, which included chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, he was suffering from extreme depression.

Not long after Saila’s surgery, Carolyn Roberts, a Registered Nurse and First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nurse Navigator for the Indigenous Cancer Program, took Saila to Gatineau Park. As they sat by the river, Saila shared that his mental health was “in his boots” – but, he knew exactly what he needed to heal. “What I really need is to carve,” he explained to Carolyn. “Carving would help me feel like myself.”

Treating patients from Nunavut in Ottawa

The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, through an agreement with the Government of Nunavut, is the provider of cancer services to residents of Baffin Islands and eastern Nunavut. For this reason, patients like Saila travel thousands of kilometres to receive the very best treatment and care in Ottawa. However, coming to such a large city away from familiar culture, language, and food can make them feel isolated, and take a toll on their mental health.

Saila Kapinek carving his way to mental well-being at The Ottawa Hospital.
Saila Kapinek carving his way to mental well-being at The Ottawa Hospital.
The dancing bear that Saila began carving as he was receiving treatment at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre.
The dancing bear that Saila began carving as he was receiving treatment at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre.

Patient-centered health care

The role of the Nurse Navigator within the Indigenous Cancer Program is diverse and patient-centered. An important part of Carolyn’s role is to listen to the needs of each patient and work to the best of her ability to accommodate those needs. “If you just listen,” said Carolyn, “patients tell you what they need to heal.”

Carolyn did just that. After listening to Saila’s struggles, she was determined to help him. It was at that moment that Carolyn took it upon herself to find a space within the hospital for Saila to carve.

She approached Kevin Godsman, then one of the Managers of Facilities, to see if there was a room that Saila could use to carve in. With help from his colleagues, he found a room and fitted it out with furniture, tools and a vacuum.

 

Carolyn Roberts chats with Saila Kapinek at The Ottawa Hospital cancer centre.
Carolyn Roberts chats with Saila Kapinek at The Ottawa Hospital cancer centre.

A grand opening

A party was organized for the grand opening of Saila’s carving room. It was an emotional moment for him, realizing he would be able to carve again.

For the next six weeks, while he underwent his chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Saila carved.

His depression lifted, and his cancer was halted.

“Glad I got back to carving,” said Saila. “Grateful I’m doing it again. It helped in the long run.”

When he returned home to Iqaluit, he took his pieces with him and finished them. At a follow up appointment in September 2018, he brought his finished carvings back to show the team what they helped him create.

“They turned out even better than I imagined,” said Kevin. “It’s nice to know that The Ottawa Hospital has a little part in the making of them too.”

Today, Saila is feeling strong and well, and grateful for the compassionate care he received at The Ottawa Hospital.

Your support allows us to provide outstanding treatment and care to patients like Saila.

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A new era in breast health at The Ottawa Hospital

The Breast Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital is committed to providing an exceptional level of care for our patients, approaching each case with medical excellence, practice, and compassion. Our reputation for world-leading research and patient care attracts to Ottawa some of the brightest and most capable health-care professionals in the world who help us deliver extraordinary care to patients in our community.

Making world-first discoveries and pushing the boundaries of breast cancer care and research right here in Ottawa

In front of a buzzing crowd of more than 200 generous contributors and tireless allies, the new Rose Ages Breast Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital officially opened its doors on September 20, 2018. The event marked a thrilling close to an ambitious $14 million fundraising campaign.

Built and equipped through the unfailing generosity of our community, the Centre now houses an impressive suite of technologies that are among the latest and most comprehensive in Canada. Many of them enable more accurate and much less invasive diagnoses and treatments.

But more than just technology, the new Centre was designed as an inviting space to enhance wellness and connection to friends and family. It also allows patients to be closer to the specialists involved in their care, from before diagnosis to after treatment, and beyond. This means, thanks to donor support, more patients can be treated with therapies that are tailored to their unique circumstance.

A comprehensive breast health program to address growing need

The Ottawa Hospital offers a comprehensive breast centre, providing expertise in breast imaging, diagnosis, risk assessment, surgical planning, and psychosocial support.

The consolidation of four breast health centres spread out across the city down to two (the Rose Ages Breast Health Centre and Hampton Park), allow for more centralized services, less travel time, improved patient care and operational efficiencies.

This year alone, another 1,000 women in our region will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to the generous donor community in the Ottawa region, The Ottawa Hospital is already tackling this growing challenge and working hard to improve every aspect of breast cancer care with innovative research and the very best treatments and techniques.

“Your generosity has improved the largest breast centre in Canada,” said Dr. Seely. “We are now poised to lead the way for excellence in breast health care.”

The creation of REaCT

The Ottawa Hospital’s commitment to innovation and research is revolutionizing clinical trials, improving patient outcomes every day. Though clinical trials offer improved treatment options, less than three percent of cancer patients in Canada are enrolled in clinical trials. Part of the reason for low enrollment is the daunting prospect of lengthy paperwork each patient must fill out before becoming involved in a trial. As well, regulatory hurdles often make opening a new trial too expensive and time consuming. In response to these challenges, in 2014, Dr. Marc Clemons, medical oncologist and scientist, in collaboration with Dr. Dean Fergusson, Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program, and their colleagues at The Ottawa Hospital, developed the Rethinking Clinical Trials or REaCT program as a way to make the process of enrollment in clinical trials easier and more efficient for cancer patients.

This ground-breaking program conducts practical patient-focused research to ensure patients receive optimal, safe and cost-effective treatments. Since REaCT isn’t investigating a new drug or a new therapy, but rather looks at the effectiveness of an existing therapy, regulatory hurdles are not an issue and patients can consent verbally to begin treatment immediately. By the end of 2017, this program enrolled more breast cancer patients in clinical trials than all other trials in Canada combined. Currently, there are more than 2,300 participants involved in various REaCT trials.

Drs Mark Clemons and Dean Fergusson developed the Rethinking Clinical Trials or REaCT program
Drs Mark Clemons and Dean Fergusson developed the Rethinking Clinical Trials or REaCT program

The Rose Ages Breast Health Centre 2018-2019 stats and facts

  • 49,288 diagnostic breast examinations and procedures
  • 2,397 breast biopsies
  • 5,129 breast clinic patient visits
  • 1,929 referrals to the Breast Clinic
  • 889 diagnosed breast cancer patients

Specialized patient care

Tanya O’Brian

Tanya O'Brien, cancer free for more than five years.

 

Five years ago, Tanya O’Brien received the news she had been afraid of all her life. Like her six family members before her, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Today, Tanya is cancer-free. When she thinks back to the 16 months of treatment she received at the Rose Ages Breast Health Center at The Ottawa Hospital, Tanya credits her dedicated and skilled care team for guiding her through and out of the darkest time in her life.

“We have come so far as a community in changing the narrative of breast cancer. We have given women like me, like us, so much hope,” said Tanya.

Rita Nattkemper

When a routine mammogram identified a small tumour, Rita Nattkemper was given an innovative option to mark its location for the surgery.

 

When a routine mammogram identified a small tumour, Rita Nattkemper was given an innovative option to mark its location for the surgery. A radioactive seed, the size of a pinhead, was injected directly into the tumour in her breast.

For years, an uncomfortable wire was inserted into a woman’s breast before surgery to pinpoint the cancer tumour. Today, a tiny radioactive seed is implanted instead, making it easier for surgeons to find and fully remove the cancer, and more comfortable for patients like Rita.

“It’s a painless procedure to get this radioactive seed in, and it helps the doctor with accuracy,” said Rita.

Marilyn Erdely

At the age of 29, Marilyn had a lumpectomy after receiving a stage zero breast cancer diagnosis.

 

At the age of 29, Marilyn had a lumpectomy after receiving a stage zero breast cancer diagnosis. She was confident she would be fine. But five years later, her cancer metastasized.

“Scans would reveal the cancer was throughout my body. I had significant cancer in the bones, in my femur, in my back, in my ovaries, and in my liver. I was head-to-toe cancer,” said Marilyn.

Oncologist Dr. Stan Gertler gave her hope for recovery. Within six months of her stage four diagnosis, Marilyn required several surgeries. But then things changed. She started feeling better, stronger.

Today, she is down to just a couple of one-centimeter tumours on her liver. Everything else is resolved. The cancer is dormant.

Breast Health Centre Update 2018-2019

More inspiring stories

Annette Gibbons

Annette Gibbons after speaking at The President's Breakfast.

 

‘I walked through my darkest fears and came out the other side.’

It would be a routine mammogram, which would turn Annette Gibbons’ world upside down. The public servant would soon begin her breast cancer journey, but she put her complete trust in her medical team at The Ottawa Hospital.

Vesna Zic-Côté

Vesna Coté imaged at her home.

 

The gift of time with family

Mom of three, Vesna, is living with terminal metastatic breast cancer. She is hoping clinical trials will continue to extend her life so she has more time with those she loves.

International research to find breast cancer sooner

The Ottawa Hospital is one of six sites in Canada participating in the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST), a randomized breast cancer screening trial that will help researchers determine the best ways to find breast cancer in women who have no symptoms, and whether a newer 3D imaging technique decreases the rate of advanced breast cancers.

The trial compares standard digital mammography (2D) with a newer technology called tomosynthesis mammography (3D). Conventional 2D mammography creates a flat image from pictures taken from two sides of the breast. With 3D mammography a 3D image is created from images taken at different angles around the breast.

Worldwide the study is expected to enroll around 165,000 patients over five years. With the new, increased mammography capacity at the Rose Ages Breast Health Centre we expect to enroll at least 1500 patients from our region.

Your impact

The Rose Ages Breast Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital is committed to providing an exceptional level of care for patients, approaching each case with medical excellence, practice, and compassion. The Centre’s reputation for world-leading research and patient care attracts to Ottawa some of the brightest and most capable health-care professionals in the world who help deliver extraordinary care to patients in our community.

You continue to be a critical part of our success as we strive to redraw the boundaries of breast health care. On behalf of the thousands of patients and families who need The Ottawa Hospital, we thank you for your tremendous support and for your continued involvement.

Support from donors like you will ensure that our community has access to the medical advancements that are defining cancer care today.

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Unexpected breast cancer diagnosis leads patient down an uncertain path

“I walked through my darkest fears and came out the other side.”

It was a routine mammogram that turned Annette Gibbons’ world upside down. An unexpected breast cancer diagnosis sent her on a journey of treatment and uncertainty that required she place her complete trust in her medical team at The Ottawa Hospital.

An unexpected breast cancer diagnosis leads patient down an uncertain path

In July 2016, Annette Gibbons had a routine mammogram. She didn’t expect that day would become a pivotal moment in her life and lead to a breast cancer diagnosis. This unexpected news sent her on a journey of treatment, surgery, and uncertainty that required she place her complete trust in her medical team at The Ottawa Hospital for both her physical and emotional well-being.

Following the mammogram, Annette was told that she had dense tissue, which made it difficult to read the results. She wasn’t worried at all when she received a call to schedule another mammogram and ultrasound. But that all changed when her radiologist, Dr. Susan Peddle, gently told her that she thought it was cancer.

Annette, visibly emotional, recalls that fateful day. “Just like that, my life changed and I began my journey.”

The challenges of chemotherapy set in

Annette began chemotherapy treatment under the watchful eye of medical oncologist and scientist Dr. Mark Clemons. “He specializes in the type of cancer I had and is very active in clinical trials and research on leading-edge treatments and practices,” said Annette.

During these early days, she focussed solely on getting through the wear and tear of chemotherapy. She recalls that “it’s not anything you can truly prepare for, or understand, until you’re the patient…There was the depressing hair loss, the constant nausea, the searing bone pain and the mind-numbing fatigue. Despite all that, I still tried to keep my spirits up with exercise, a support group, and lots of old movies.”

 

 

 

Annette ringing the bell of hope following her final cancer treatment.
Annette ringing the bell of hope following her final cancer treatment.

Trusting her medical team

She also put her complete trust in her medical team and was determined to stay positive. “I knew the stats for survivability were fairly good and I looked forward to resuming my ‘normal life’.”

Little did she know that the next steps – mastectomy and radiation – would be tougher than chemotherapy. The surgery itself and healing had gone well. She credits her amazing surgeon, Dr. Erin Cordeiro, for her compassion and skill.

“She held my hand as I lay in the operating room preparing for the operation to begin.” – Annette Gibbons

“In the end,” Annette says with a little smile on her face, “she gave me, dare I say, the nicest, straightest surgery scar I have ever seen on anyone.”

Sobering news

Annette wouldn’t have the full picture of her cancer prognosis until pathology results came back on her tumour. Several weeks later she received alarming results from Dr. Cordeiro. It was devastating news. “She told me that my tumour was much bigger than first thought. They had found cancer in many of the lymph nodes they removed. I was not expecting that, it was a huge blow.”

As she tried to absorb this news, she sat down with Dr. Clemons a few days later and was dealt another blow. “He gave it to me straight: because of the tumour size and number of lymph nodes affected, my risk of recurrence was high.”

Compassionate care during a dark time

That’s when Annette’s world came crumbling down. She recalls spiralling down into a dark place. “It was very hard to crawl out of this place. But my medical team saw the signs and knew how to help me. My dedicated radiation oncologist, Dr. Jean-Michel Caudrelier, spotted my despair and referred me to the psychosocial oncology program. With the amazing help of Dr. Mamta Gautam, I walked through my deepest fears and came out the other side.”

Annette completed her radiation treatment and then slowly reclaimed her life. But as all cancer patients know, the fear of recurrence can be a constant companion. “I don’t know if that will ever change. But I decided to make it my friend who reminds me to think, not about dying, but about the importance of living while I am alive,” said Annette.

She’s grateful to know the best medical professionals were right here in her hometown when she was diagnosed. As a self-proclaimed “frequent flyer at the hospital”, Annette is proud to say she’s reclaimed her life — including her return to work. “I am myself again, and life is strangely somehow better than it was before.”

Your support will provide crucial funding to improve the care of patients, like Annette during their time of need.

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Brain tumour diagnosis leads mom down unimaginable path

In 2016, Natasha Lewis was diagnosed with a brain tumour and her quality of life began to deteriorate. She was be cared for at The Ottawa Hospital – the only hospital in the region that could help her because of the complexity of her diagnosis.

One morning, in 2016, Natasha Lewis’ life took an unimaginable turn.

The mother of three remembers waking up with a strange symptom. “I looked in mirror and noticed my tongue was twisting to the left,” recalled Natasha. Her first thought was she was having a stroke, but she was confused by the fact the rest of her body seemed normal.

She went for tests at The Ottawa Hospital and three days later, her life changed.

Hospital-bound Natasha with Dr. Fahad Alkerayf
Natasha in the hospital with Dr. Fahad AlKherayf

Natasha was driving when she got the call. They had found a tumour in her brain. “I felt so sick when I heard the news that I had to pull over.”

She had a schwannoma tumour which is rarely found in the brain. Her mind was racing. “I was only 38 years old, a wife and mother of three young children.”

When she got home to St. Isidore, east of Ottawa, she sat with her youngest daughter, as she relayed the information to her husband. Natasha remembers feeling the tears falling down her face. She didn’t know what was going to happen. All this time, she thought she was healthy. “I was losing weight, running and training for marathons and triathlons.”

Her husband, Marvin, was a pillar of strength. She remembers him saying, “We’re in the right place. We’re in Canada, we’re close to Ottawa, we’ll get the best care.” She adds, “He has never been so right.”

Natasha was cared for at The Ottawa Hospital – the only hospital in the region that could help her because of the complexity of her diagnosis. Dr. Fahad Alkerayf, a world-class skull-based surgeon told her the tumour was benign and he would closely monitor her in the months ahead.

Less than a year later, while the tumour had grown only slightly, her quality of life was deteriorating.

She was scared to see the signs of what was happening with her body. Initially, there was drooling from both sides of her mouth and Natasha started slurring her words. Yes, it was a little embarrassing, but she could handle it. But then swallowing became more difficult and her shoulder felt like it was on fire. Then she lost the ability to move it and couldn’t use it to work out. Even worse, she couldn’t lift her children.

By May 2018, it was time to operate.

This would be an intricate 10-hour brain surgery. Dr. Alkherayf brought in an ear, nose and throat surgeon, Dr. David Schramm, a colleague at The Ottawa Hospital, to assist because of where the tumor was located. He wanted to have another highly skilled surgeon with him because the tumour was near the ear canal.

They accessed her brain through the base of the skull. Minimally invasive surgery wasn’t an option because there were too many nerves to navigate. This was the less risky option. They also knew they likely couldn’t remove all of the tumour because of those surrounding nerves. Damaging them meant she might lose her ability to hear and swallow.

While these risks were terrifying, Dr. Alkherayf made her feel confident and gave her hope.

“I remember Dr. Alkherayf said there would be another chapter in my life. I held on to those words.” – Natasha Lewis

During surgery, 99% of the tumour was removed. A small sliver was left so they didn’t have to cut the nerves.

Today, Natasha has her hearing, it’s a little muffled but she’s told over time it will return to normal. She’s back at work, her speech is getting back to normal, and she can swallow without problem. Natasha continues to be cared for by The Ottawa Hospital.

Natasha and her family sit in a park.
Natasha with her family

This active mom’s recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. Four months post-surgery, Natasha ran the Commander’s challenge at the Army Run. She’s now training for a marathon and hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Most importantly, she can run, play, and hug her three children. “I can hear them laugh and tell me they love me. There is no greater feeling in the world,” said Natasha.

You could say they’re writing their next chapter, and it’s because of The Ottawa Hospital.

Your support will provide crucial funding to improve the care of patients like Natasha.

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From recovery room to the workshop: Carving inspires emotional healing
A small workspace, some stone and a few tools helped Saila Kipanek, a traditional Inuit carver, recover and heal after rectal cancer surgery and treatment at The Ottawa Hospital.
A new era in breast health at The Ottawa Hospital
Making world-first discoveries and pushing the boundaries of breast cancer care and research right here in Ottawa.
Unexpected breast cancer diagnosis leads patient down an uncertain path
It was a routine mammogram that turned Annette Gibbons’ world upside down. An unexpected breast cancer diagnosis sent her on a journey of treatment and uncertainty that required she place her complete trust in her medical team at The Ottawa Hospital.

REDBLACKS
GAME DAY

Cheer on your Ottawa REDBLACKS while supporting The Ottawa Hospital.

Join us on September 28, 2019, at TD Place Stadium, for a 4:00 p.m. kick-off and watch the Ottawa REDBLACKS take on the Edmonton Eskimos in support of The Ottawa Hospital.

With every ticket purchased, $10 will be donated back to support patient care and research at The Ottawa Hospital.

The first 100 people to purchase tickets through the above link will get the chance to watch the REDBLACKS warm up from field level!

Don’t miss this fun chance to bring the whole family together for an afternoon of football and giving back to the community.

Can't make it September 28?

Here is a list of other discounted tickets for the REDBLACKS, Fury and 67s that include a donation to The Ottawa Hospital.

Astonishing recovery after minimally invasive brain surgery

After being diagnosed with a brain tumour on his pituitary gland and being told surgery was too risky, John Fairchild was facing blindness and possible death. Minimally invasive brain surgery at The Ottawa Hospital restored his sight and his future.

John’s journey toward brain surgery

After experiencing vision problems, severe headaches, and repeated transient ischemic attacks (TIA’s) –mini-strokes, John Fairchild was diagnosed with a tumour on his pituitary gland. With each TIA being potentially fatal or causing paralysis, and with surgery being high-risk, John began making detailed plans to help his wife carry on without him.

That was until September 2015, when minimally invasive brain surgery at The Ottawa Hospital saved his life.

In 2011, John had been told by a doctor in Edmonton that he had a tumour in his pituitary gland and the operation to remove it was too risky. The doctor advised him to wait several years until the procedure had been improved.

Five years later, John and his wife Suzanne had moved to Ottawa, and he was having regular TIA’s. During these mini strokes, his vision was reduced to seeing through a small hole, and his memory and speech were impaired. The 71-year-old was referred to see Neurosurgeon Dr. Fahad AlKherayf at The Ottawa Hospital. Dr. AlKherayf recommended John undergo the newly available minimally invasive brain surgery. With this technique, his tumour, which was benign, would be removed through his nostrils instead of the traditional more radical and risky surgery, which required opening up his skull.

The benefits of minimally invasive brain surgery

“It is a new field in neurosurgery,” said Dr. AlKherayf, who has advanced minimally invasive brain surgery techniques in recent years. “There are no incisions in the skull, no cut in the skin. Everything is done through the nose.”

This operation is safer with surgery time greatly reduced. It means patients not only spend less time in the operating room, but they go home sooner. They experience less complications and better recovery.

John Fairchild at home following his minimally invasive brain surgery at The Ottawa Hospital.
John Fairchild at home following his surgery

 

Vision and hope restored

“I believed there was some risk of being blind or dead after the operation, as it was so new,” said John. “I spent two months before the operation, training to carry on being blind. I taught my wife how to use the snow blower and handle the finances.

When I opened my eyes in the recovery room, I could see a clock on the wall, and I could see the time! I wasn’t blind.” – John Fairchild

The Ottawa Hospital is a North American leader in this procedure.

“We have been asked for consultations internationally,” said Dr. Fahad Alkherayf. “It’s a very exciting technique that has definitely improved patient care during these surgeries.”

A bright future

In the year since the operation, John has resumed his active life.

“Thanks to The Ottawa Hospital’s virtuoso surgery team, I am again now in vital good health – curling, skiing, golfing — with excellent vision and no headaches. I am extremely grateful for the extraordinary care I received in the hospital, and wonderful after-care.”

“I am so well now, you’d never know anything was ever wrong with me. I am very proud of the hospital and the medical team. You guys saved my life.”- John Fairchild

Your generous donation will help The Ottawa Hospital provide excellent care to other patients like John.

More Great Stories

From recovery room to the workshop: Carving inspires emotional healing
A small workspace, some stone and a few tools helped Saila Kipanek, a traditional Inuit carver, recover and heal after rectal cancer surgery and treatment at The Ottawa Hospital.
A new era in breast health at The Ottawa Hospital
Making world-first discoveries and pushing the boundaries of breast cancer care and research right here in Ottawa.
Unexpected breast cancer diagnosis leads patient down an uncertain path
It was a routine mammogram that turned Annette Gibbons’ world upside down. An unexpected breast cancer diagnosis sent her on a journey of treatment and uncertainty that required she place her complete trust in her medical team at The Ottawa Hospital.

A double-life — living with kidney disease

June Jones lives a double life. During the day, she is busy, making cookies with her two granddaughters, working in her garden, and enjoying life. During the night, she sleeps hooked up to a dialysis machine. June needs a new kidney.

June Jones lives a double life. During the day, she is busy, making cookies with her two granddaughters, working in her garden, and enjoying life. During the night, she sleeps hooked up to a dialysis machine. June needs a new kidney.

June making cookies after Christmas with her granddaughter Leah.
June making cookies after Christmas with her granddaughter Leah.

The 58-year-old has been living with kidney disease for 30 years — over half her life.

In April 1989, not long after her second child was born, June felt extremely run down. Her physician was concerned she had too much blood in her urine and sent her to a nephrologist.

He diagnosed her with IgA nephropathy, disease caused by her body’s immune system attacking her kidneys.

June started on various medications after being diagnosed, but within nine years her disease had progressed, and her kidneys stopped working completely. She started dialysis in 1998.

“There is no cure for renal disease,” said June. “Once your kidneys fail, you’re put on dialysis or have a transplant. Your life is never normal.”

What kidneys do

The function of the kidneys is to remove waste and extra water from the blood to make urine. When kidneys stop working and no longer clean the blood, toxins accumulate in the body, and this can be fatal. Dialysis is an artificial method of cleaning the blood. It sustains a person’s life but is not a cure.

There are two different forms of dialysis. Hemodialysis removes waste products and extra water from the blood by circulating and filtering it through a machine. This is the most common form of dialysis that is often provided to patients at the hospital. Peritoneal dialysis circulates a fluid through the lining of your abdomen, or peritoneum, and the waste products from the blood pass into this fluid.

There are almost 1,000 patients on dialysis in the Ottawa area. Just over two hundred are on peritoneal dialysis. Dr. Brendan McCormick, Medical Director of the Home Dialysis Program, said some patients have been treated for over a decade on peritoneal dialysis but more typically patients spend about three years on this therapy. People leave peritoneal dialysis once they receive a kidney transplant, however, some need to transfer to hemodialysis due to complications of therapy.

The Ottawa Hospital Home dialysis program has the highest rate of kidney transplant in the province. For many patients, peritoneal dialysis serves as a bridge to kidney transplant.

Needing life-saving dialysis

According to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information released in December 2018, only 16 percent of Canadians on dialysis survive past 10 years. However, up to 74 percent of Canadians with a kidney transplant still have a functioning kidney after 10 years.

June was only on dialysis for six months before she received the call that a donor match had been found. On November 28, 1998, June received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor.

“It lasted four months shy of 15 years,” June said. “Then, the disease reappeared. I’ve been back on dialysis now for six years.”

In the Ottawa Region, 52 people have received kidney transplants this year. Unfortunately, there are still 165 people are on a waiting list.

“We need to do a lot of transplants to get people off dialysis to keep them alive longer with a better quality of life,” said Dr. Ann Bugeja, nephrologist and Director of the Living Kidney Donor Program. “We know that getting a living donor kidney is the best treatment for end-stage kidney disease and it lasts longer than getting a kidney from a deceased donor.”

When June’s kidney transplant failed six years ago, she had to go back on hemodialysis. She switched to peritoneal dialysis in July 2013. Once again, she has a dialysis machine at home, but this time she does dialysis for nine hours every night. It cleans her blood while she sleeps.

June’s nightly routine is a hassle and not a permanent solution. The membrane around her stomach has started to harden, which means the fluids can’t move back and forth as easily. What this means is that June will have to go on hemodialysis. The technology hasn’t changed in the 20 years since she was on it before and she remembers too vividly how it gave her severe headaches and was painful.

 

Making a difference for future generations

The Joneses at the unveiling of the plaque outside the Jones Family Foundation Kidney Research Laboratory in honour of their million dollar donation to Kidney Research.
The Joneses at the unveiling of the plaque outside the Jones Family Foundation Kidney Research Laboratory in honour of their million dollar donation to Kidney Research.

June needs a new kidney. She is on a Canada-wide waiting list for one.

“Giving a kidney can change somebody’s life,” said Dr. Bugeja.

June lives with the daily hope of a second transplant.

She and husband Russ know first-hand how important research is to improve outcomes for people suffering with kidney disease. They heard researchers at The Ottawa Hospital were making great strides finding solutions to kidney diseases, including detecting kidney disease early and looking at the potential of stem cells to heal injured kidneys.

They decided the only way to make a difference for future generations of patients was through research and made a $1 million donation to support kidney research at the Kidney Research Centre at The Ottawa Hospital.

Their support will enable the research team at the Kidney Research Centre to continue to advance knowledge and improve the care of patients with kidney disease through world-renowned studies and research.

June’s children are now adults, married, and parents themselves — each with their own adorable little girl. Leah, aged two, and Bailey, 18 months, are the pride and joy of June’s life.

On January 8, 2019, the entire family was at The Ottawa Hospital Kidney Research Centre to unveil a plaque outside the Jones Family Foundation Kidney Research Laboratory. The plaque commemorates their incredible support of kidney research.

“I hope with research advancements, I will live to see my grandchildren’s memorable events,” said June.

“I hope to be there for their high school graduations, university graduations, their wedding days, and when they have children of their own. I also hope great strides are made so that their generation will find a cure.”

Your support of kidney research helps move discoveries in the lab to clinical trials and into treatment for patients.

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Starting the Day with Hope

Seventeen years ago, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation hosted the first President’s Breakfast. Three hundred business and community leaders gathered to hear hospital President and CEO Dr. Jack Kitts talk about his vision. Three patients described how The Ottawa Hospital saved their lives. Their powerful testimonials filled that hour-long breakfast with hope and compassion and inspired the guests’ support.

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

 

The annual President’s Breakfast has now raised more than $11 million for The Ottawa Hospital. From funding research, to building the cancer centre, and purchasing state-of-the-art equipment, the breakfast provides crucial funding to help improve patient care.

On Wednesday, September 12, 561 guests were as inspired by the testimonials as the guests were at that first breakfast 17 years ago, donating an astonishing $807,000 to patient care and research. Four powerful speakers told how their lives changed in an instant and were saved by the expertise and world-class treatment at The Ottawa Hospital. Here are their stories:

Jeanette Chang was inspired to become a nurse

Jeanette Cheng

Twelve years ago, Jeannette Cheng headed out with friends for a white-water rafting adventure, but ended up in a serious car accident. Jeannette, the most critically injured, was airlifted to the Regional Trauma Centre. She had multiple operations to repair broken bones and damaged organs, and spent four months recovering in the hospital and rehabilitation centre. The compassionate care Jeannette received inspired her to become a nurse. Today, she works in the Surgery Division at The Ottawa Hospital.

Spencer and Ellen Ottens

Spencer Ottens

Ellen Ottens’ four boys had had their fair share of bumps, bruises, and broken bones. But when she took her teenaged son, Spencer, to the doctor about a strange bump in his nose, she wasn’t prepared for the diagnosis. He had an enormous tumour in his head. Neurosurgeon Dr. Fahad Al Kharayf and ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Shaun Kilty performed an eight-hour minimally invasive surgery, removing the tumour through Spencer’s nose. Today, Spencer is back playing his high school sports.

John Chafe

John Chafe

John Chafe’s plans of working in the financial sector were sidetracked by an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis (MS). One day, John heard neurologist Dr. Mark Freedman on the radio talking about a groundbreaking study he was working on with hematologist and scientist Dr. Harold Atkins to see if an innovative stem cell transplant would halt an aggressive form of MS. John volunteered to participate and, in 2001, he became the second person in the world-first clinical trial that virtually eliminated any new MS activity and stabilized his disease. This winter, John skied with his wife and eight-year-old daughter.

Adrien Malloy

Adrian Molloy

When the blade on Adrian Molloy’s power saw partially severed his arm, he was rushed to The Ottawa Hospital. He was one of the first to benefit from an initiative that extended the time from 30 to 60 minutes for an ambulance to head directly to the Regional Trauma Centre at the Civic Campus, bypassing the nearest community hospital. Trauma staff worked quickly and saved Adrian’s arm. Adrian is back on the construction site with full use of his arm and enjoying every moment with his wife and three children.

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

Thanks to generous support from donors like you, The Ottawa Hospital is providing advanced treatment with state-of-the-art technology.

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Because of You

Thousands of patients in Ottawa, and beyond, are receiving the latest treatment options. Powered by state-of-the-art technology and backed up by the very best medical expertise, your generous support allowed us to build three impressive new health centres at The Ottawa Hospital. Your generosity has improved care and changed patients’ lives.

Because of you

Thousands of patients in Ottawa, and beyond, are receiving the latest treatment options. Powered by state-of-the-art technology and backed up by the very best medical expertise, your generous support allowed us to build three impressive new health centres at The Ottawa Hospital. Your generosity has improved care and changed patients’ lives.

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

 

Rose Ages Breast Health Centre

When the doors opened at the Rose Ages Breast Health Centre in September, it marked the wonderful close of an ambitious $14 million fundraising campaign. Thanks to our community’s outstanding generosity, the new centre houses an impressive suite of advanced technology, enabling less invasive and more accurate diagnoses and treatments.

The new centre’s inviting space will enhance wellness and connection to family and friends with open, naturally lit areas and private, gowned waiting rooms. This new, larger centre at the General Campus is now ready to provide the best treatment and care to the thousands of patients in our region who need it most—thanks to you.

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation
Rose Ages Breast Health Centre

 

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation
The Logue children, Kevin, Shaun, Christine, Cathy, and Elizabeth, at the opening of the Dermatology Centre.

Charlie and Claudette Logue Dermatology Centre

There is no example more concrete about how community support can advance health care than the building of the Charlie and Claudette Logue Dermatology Centre. Local businessman Charlie Logue saw the need for a dermatology centre that would provide faster assessments, shorter wait times, and increased access to dermatology services. After he passed away in August 2013, Charlie’s friends and colleagues in the Ottawa business community, along with his own children, fundraised $3.7 million for a new dermatology centre. This bright, new, state-of-the-art centre opened in April to provide the latest dermatology treatments now and for future generations.

Neuromuscular Centre

In 2016, Dr. Jodi Warman Chardon and senior scientist Dr. Robin Parks dreamt of building a centre where neuromuscular experts—clinicians and basic scientists—could collaborate to develop treatments for neuromuscular diseases. More than 10,000 people in eastern Ontario are affected by neuromuscular diseases, which weaken the muscles. These patients had no options to participate in clinical trials in Ottawa, so Drs. Warman Chardon and Parks decided to change that. Thanks to generous donor support, their dream became reality when The Ottawa Hospital NeuroMuscular Centre—the largest in Canada—opened its doors to patients in May.

 

No Donation too small, no fundraiser too young

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation
Six 11-year-old fundraisers (left to right): Isla, Lucy, Alice, Parker, Jackie, and Tess

“I know it’s a hospital, but this is beautiful!” said 11-year-old Parker when the elevator doors opened into the Rose Ages Breast Health Centre.

Parker and five friends arrived on October 24 with a plastic sandwich bag containing their donation of $247.95 in coins for breast cancer research. They worked hard to raise the money: raking leaves, cutting grass, selling lemonade, and shoveling snow.

The generosity of these six children is a shining example that no donation is too small and no fundraiser too young.

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

Thanks to generous support from donors like you, The Ottawa Hospital is providing advanced treatment with state-of-the-art technology.

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From tragedy to triumph

Liam and Rhys White started life in an extraordinary way.

 

They were born at The Ottawa Hospital on December 22, 2006, three and a half months premature. Rhys was 1 lb 8 oz, his identical twin Cullen was 1 lb 4 oz, brother Liam was 1 lb 10 oz, and his identical twin Daniel was 1 lb 3 oz.

“We knew it was quadruplets when I had the first ultrasound at eight weeks. There were four heart beats,” said Nora Shipton, the boys’ mother. “We had two sets of identical twins born by caesarean section. There was an amazing team of 25 people in the delivery room.”

The boys were born exceptionally early at 26 weeks and two days. Babies born before 35 weeks are considered high risk—their lungs and hearts aren’t fully developed yet.

Specialized Care at The Ottawa Hospital

When the White quadruplets were admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus, making sure they kept breathing was critical. Liam didn’t need a tube to open his airway but received oxygen through a nose tube instead. The other three boys, however needed to be intubated (a breathing tube needed to be inserted). On top of breathing problems, Rhys and Liam also had heart surgery to correct faulty heart valves and were operated on the same day.

Sadly, despite every effort brother Cullen passed away on January 16, 2007 and brother Daniel two days later.

“The care that we received at the NICU was beyond excellent. The nurses and the doctors were so caring and attentive and helped us through the roller coaster that all NICU parents ride. We will forever be grateful to them for the love and the care that they gave to all of our babies.”      – Nora Shipton

Liam and Rhys at 2.5 months old
Liam and Rhys at 2.5 months old

A Bittersweet Return Home

Liam spent 88 days and Rhys 98 days in the NICU. It was bittersweet for Nora and Rob when Liam and Rhys finally came home.

Three months after losing two of their sons, Nora and Rob White decided that they wanted to give back; to help support the NICU team who had helped Liam and Rhys survive their early entry into the world. Initially, they were inspired to contribute towards a twin water bed that was needed. The boys were in individual water beds but co-sleeping was proven to help healing. They realized, however that the water bed was a one-time gift and preferred something that would continue to give over time, as a need would arise. Nora’s late father, Ralph Shipton, researched Legacy Endowment Funds, it was just the thing they were looking for. The family then created the Cullen James and Daniel Morgan White Legacy Endowment Fund, which would contribute over the long term to meet the endless needs of the NICU.

 

Rhys and Liam Shipton
Rhys and Liams’ first Christmas

 

Rhys and Liam White with large toy doys on their first birthday
The boys celebrate their first birthday

The NICU graduates today

At 12, the boys are active and busy. They enjoy  downhill skiing, swimming and camping. Their grandparents own a farm, so they like to go out on their ATVs and dirt bikes. Rhys is a voracious reader and likes art. Liam plays piano and guitar. Like many children, they struggle in math a little bit. They are happy, healthy boys.

Liam and Rhys Shipton

Running for a Reason

In May 2019, Liam and Rhys are doing something extraordinary for The Ottawa Hospital NICU. They are running 5kms as a family-team in the Ottawa Race Weekend. On top of doing something fun and healthy, they are running to raise money for the NICU and running for their two brothers Cullen and Daniel, in the hope of keeping future families like theirs together.

The endowment fund set up in memory of Cullen and Daniel will continue to help other families who will need the latest, most innovative care for their preemies. Thanks to the forward-thinking of their grandfather, their brothers’ Legacy Endowment Fund can keep on giving into the future.

Give today to help families like the Shiptons who will need the latest, most innovative care for their preemies.

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