5th Annual Karaoke for Cancer

Please join us on Friday, September 20, 2019 at the 5th Annual Karaoke for Cancer event in support of cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital.

Event Date: September 20, 2019
Event Time: 8:00PM
Location: ALE – Amberwood Lounge & Eatery, 54 Springbrook Drive, Stittsville
Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/2398364060450284/
Contact: Sue Lambe, [email protected]

On Friday, September 20, 2019, Bill Martin and Sue Lambe of Hometown Team – Century 21 John DeVries Ltd will be hosting their 5th Annual Karaoke for Cancer event. This year’s event will feature a 1950s theme and will kick off at 8:00PM at Stittsville’s ALE – Amberwood Lounge & Eatery. Admission is free but donations will be raised at the door. All funds raised will be donated to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation in support of cancer research so swing by and sing your heart out for a great cause.

Click here to learn more about the event.

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.

More Great Stories of #TOHMOMS

We were in the best hands
Shane and Ellen Ottens have seen their four boys go through their fair share of bumps, bruises and broken bones over the years. However, nothing prepared them for the diagnosis their son, Spencer, would receive in the fall of 2017. 
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.
Four years after metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, every day is a gift
Jillian O’Connor was 18 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and given less than two years to live. In February, she celebrated the fourth birthday of her healthy baby boy and continues to live life to the fullest.

We were in the best hands

Shane and Ellen Ottens have seen their four boys go through their fair share of bumps, bruises and broken bones over the years. However, nothing prepared them for the diagnosis their son, Spencer, would receive in the fall of 2017. 

A parent’s worst nightmare

14-year-old Spencer’s eye became reddish and tearing for more than a week; and this strange blockage was protruding from his nose. Despite repeated efforts, it would not come out.

That’s when Spencer’s mom, Ellen, knew he needed help and they would ultimately end up in CHEO’s emergency department. Doctors ordered a CT scan. It was around midnight; Ellen recalls when the results came in.

“A gravely concerned looking doctor asked me, ‘Did you know that Spencer has a tumour in his head?’”

It was not the news any parent wants to hear. 

The growth, which was protruding from Spencer’s nose, was biopsied. While benign, that tumour was resulting in the quick deterioration of Spencer’s health. When Ellen asked to see the CT scan, she recalls searching the picture for a grape or golf ball sized image attached to a nose growth.  

“I didn’t see any and asked where it was.  ‘It’s the grey area’, the doctor said.” 

The grey area was over half of his face. 

“I didn’t even want to think about what his face would end up looking like after all the cutting they’d have to do to remove so much material, but I had to ask.” 

The doctor revealed the tumour was larger than any he had ever worked with. It was for that reason and the fact it was reaching up to the floor of the brain, he told Spencer’s parents they couldn’t perform the surgery. 

This type of tumour would need a specialized team of an ear, nose and throat doctor along with a neurosurgeon working together.  Ellen recalls thinking she would take her son anywhere in the country to get the help he needed.

Specialized care at The Ottawa Hospital

However, the specialized care was nearby at The Ottawa Hospital. A highly skilled team would perform minimally invasive surgery and remove the tumour through Spencer’s nose.

Just over a week later, with his condition worsening, Spencer was to be admitted to The Ottawa Hospital. He had another CT, an MRI, and the specialized team was monitoring his optic nerve behind his bulging eye to ensure it wasn’t being severed by the growing tumour.

Two days later Spencer underwent a 4-hour surgery, which helped stop 80% of the blood flow feeding the tumour. The remaining 20% would maintain blood flow to his brain.

The next day the highly skilled team, which included Drs. Fahad AlKherayf and Shaun Kilty performed an eight-hour surgery. With expert precision, and state-of-the-art technology, they would remove the large tumour from Spencer’s face and base layer of the brain. They also rebuilt that layer to prevent the fluids that protect the brain from leaking out.   

This minimally invasive surgery, removing the tumour and rebuilding the layer, was performed through Spencer’s nose by Dr. AlKherayf who has the greatest number of surgical hours of training for this procedure in Canada. 

Dr. Fahad Alkherayf, The Ottawa Hospital
Dr. Fahad AlKherayf

 

Dr. Shaun Kilty, The Ottawa Hospital
Dr. Shaun Kilty

A Canadian Medical First  

In order to rebuild the brain layer, 3D printing technology also aided doctors during the surgery. Ellen says its remarkable. “It’s really pretty cool the advancements which have been made to help patients in our community.”  In 2016, The Ottawa Hospital became the first hospital in Canada to have an integrated medical 3D printer.  

Ellen says her initial concerns of recovery completely faded thanks to this minimally invasive technique. “It was incredible. Spencer was home again only three days after surgery!” 

When she thinks back to the fear of the initial diagnosis to where Spencer is today, back at school and active, several thoughts comes to mind. 

I was immensely grateful to God and The Ottawa Hospital, and I truly feel that we were in the best hands.”

 

 

We need your help today to fund innovative research and vital medical equipment to help patients like Spencer get expert help when they need it most.

More Great Stories of #TOHMOMS

From tragedy to triumph
Liam and Rhys White started life in an extraordinary way.
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.
Four years after metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, every day is a gift
Jillian O’Connor was 18 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and given less than two years to live. In February, she celebrated the fourth birthday of her healthy baby boy and continues to live life to the fullest.

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.

Story by Vesna Zic-Côté 

Vesna Zic Cote“In 2012, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Despite the standard treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal treatment, the cancer returned four years later, having spread to my lungs, bones and lymph nodes.

I received my diagnosis of incurable stage 4 metastatic breast cancer on my son’s birthday. He was nine.

My world as I knew it ended. I was sitting upstairs on my bed. I could hear the kids playing downstairs. I called my husband at work and he came home and we cried.

It is a tradition in our home that on our kids’ birthdays, we go out to a restaurant of their choosing for dinner. So on the day my world ended, I sat in a restaurant and ordered some food and tried to eat cardboard, but couldn’t get the food to go down. I looked at the birthday boy and held the tears in, and my heart shattered in a million pieces.

Metastatic breast cancer is treatable, but not curable. When I was first diagnosed, my life expectancy was being measured in months. Now with cautious hope, it might be a few years. I go to the Hospital every 28 days to get injections. They are part of a series of targeted treatments I receive to keep the cancer cells at bay. One day, the cancer will figure out how to grow despite this treatment, and I will move onto something else. And I’ll continue this endless cycle of treatments and scans and progression and change until I am out of options. But I am a 43-year-old mother. And wife. And daughter. And sister. I need more time. Time to see my young children through elementary school. Time to watch my family grow and share in all the joys that life brings. Time to celebrate anniversaries with my husband and birthdays with my niece and nephews. Time with my beloved family and friends.

There is so much that needs to happen to make this a reality for me. I will need new treatments when my current regimen stops working – because it will stop working. I need research in cancer therapies and a health-care system that is streamlined and accessible.

Sadly, early detection does not prevent all cancers from returning and spreading. We need research to understand why, and treatment to extend our lives.

When I was first diagnosed, my focus was limited, directed inwards, focused on those dearest to me. During that time of learning about this new world, I absorbed every detail I could about metastatic breast cancer; living with metastatic breast cancer, treating metastatic breast cancer, dying metastatic breast cancer. A few names came to the forefront; those making noise, shifting opinions, moving the dial on research and progress. Months into treatment, when I could finally breathe again, I knew that I wanted to be part of this movement, part of the noise, part of the shift. I needed to validate this situation that I didn’t ask for in order to accept that it was part of my story whether I liked it or not.

For now, I have energy to cast outward. Not every day, but some days. Writing, fundraising, speaking, meeting. And I would say that the way I live my life has influenced my children who actively participate in my fundraising efforts with enthusiasm. They don’t need to feel embarrassed that their mom has cancer. Instead, they can feel like they are doing something to help me by climbing trees and selling apples, doing presentations on their fundraising efforts, wearing pink laces, and making signs, helping the doctors and researchers to find better medicines. Regardless of where we eventually land, I want them to be able to look back on all the good things that they did, and know that their efforts warmed many, many hearts… mine most of all.

On behalf of all of us living with incurable cancer – finding joy between injections and scans and blood work and appointments, living with hope and making a difference – thank you for your support.”

– Vesna

We need your help today to give patients like Vesna more time, more memories, more hope. Support our cancer clinical trial research today and help us develop new ways to treat this devastating disease.

More Great Stories of #TOHMOMS

My why is you
Robert Noseworthy was diagnosed with a childhood leukemia at the age of 30. This was rare for someone his age and his prognosis was grim. 30 years later, he gives back to cancer research through THE RIDE with his grown children by his side.
Buying time: 7hrs, 52 stitches
Leata Qaunaq knew something was wrong when her husband Joellie arrived to meet her and their daughter at the airport near Arctic Bay, Nunavut. He was talking, but not making sense.
From tragedy to triumph
Liam and Rhys White started life in an extraordinary way.

Four years after metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, every day is a gift

Jillian O’Connor was 18 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and given less than two years to live. In February, she celebrated the fourth birthday of her healthy baby boy and continues to live life to the fullest.

Jillian O’Connor stands in her living room laughing. A small boy hugs her leg, then takes off and disappears down the stairs to play with his older brother and sister. That was Declan. He turned four on February 1, 2019. The fact that his mother saw him blow out the candles on his birthday cake is extraordinary.

When Jillian was 18 weeks pregnant with Declan, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She wasn’t expected to celebrate his second birthday. Two and a half years later, Jillian celebrated his fourth birthday with him—and still living life to its fullest.

Jillian O’Connor

The first thing that strikes you about Jillian is her smile. Next, it’s her insatiable enthusiasm for life. Then comes her contagious positivity. Hard not to think the latter alone is why she has made it so far against daunting odds. It may be anecdotal but Jillian definitely thinks, or rather knows, it’s the key.

“I am totally full of cancer, pretty much from my head to my toes,” said Jillian. “Every day I get is a blessing, ‘Oh, I woke up. Perfect!’ You just want to go at it as hard as you can, for as long as you can. Just being optimistic, I think helps. I really believe it helps.”

Jillian’s petite frame belies her light-up-the-room personality. She is gregarious with an enthusiasm that bubbles infectiously out of her. She talks about her cancer matter-of-factly. It is part of her life, but doesn’t rule her. She has other things to focus on—her precious family. The 35-year-old laughs and chats so easily about her life and her journey with cancer that it takes a second to realize how extraordinary her journey has been.

In 2014, Jillian was still nursing Landon, her second child, when she went to see her physician about a blocked milk duct. It turned out to be breast cancer. Doctors wanted to do CT scans to determine the extent of her cancer, but Jillian couldn’t. She was 18 weeks pregnant. Without treatment, she was told she wouldn’t survive to give birth. It was unfathomable. She had a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son at home. It was a devastating diagnosis but Jillian met it head on with her own special brand of optimism and determination.

Terminating the pregnancy was not an option for Jillian and her husband David. Her oncologist, Dr. Mark Clemons, told her she didn’t have to. He could provide a chemotherapy cocktail that would keep her cancer at bay without harming her unborn child. Jillian had a mastectomy and a dozen chemo treatments tailored to her special case. On February 1, 2015, she gave birth to a healthy baby Declan.

“I received chemotherapy right up until I delivered him. He was healthy—a wonderful birth weight. He was absolutely perfect,” said Jillian.

After Declan was born, Jillian had scans to see where the cancer was. It had spread, and had metastasized to her bones, liver, and lymphatic system. That was when she was given less than two years.

“Basically, they said, ‘We can’t give you a long timeframe. It’s stage IV, so every day you wake up is going to be a gift,’” said Jillian, who stopped working as a nurse at the Queensway Carleton Hospital and became a patient there, receiving treatment at The Ottawa Hospital’s satellite cancer centre, the Irving Greenberg Family Cancer Centre. “Two years passed, then three, and then I passed four years this past summer. I’m hoping I’ll have another 40 plus years. I got a pretty doom and gloom diagnosis, but I continue to pull life off.”

Jillian has pulled life off in a big way. After all, when she brought Declan home from the hospital, she had three children under the age of three to look after. She poured herself into motherhood, enjoying every moment with them. Between weekly trips to the cancer centre for treatment, she was busy changing diapers, making meals, caring for, playing with, and loving her little ones.

Declan and Jillian O'Connor
Four-year-old Declan sits on his mom’s knee.

Declan is back and clambers onto his mother’s knee—for about 30 seconds—before scrambling off onto the couch beside her. He is a typical four-year-old. His big sister Myla, who is seven, and brother Landon, who is five, appear, and the three play on the floor near their mom. Jillian chatters happily with them.

Jillian has celebrated all her children’s early-year milestones: learning to walk, talk, run, play, read, and become independent little people. Both Myla and Landon are now in school. Declan will be joining them in September. In mid-January, Jillian and David registered him for junior kindergarten. Nowadays, while the two older ones are in school, she and Declan have fun hanging out. They fill their days with activities that include volunteering at the school, as well as the more mundane household chores.

“I got a pretty doom and gloom diagnosis, but I continue to pull life off.”

Jillian is exuberant about life. She lives each day as it comes.

“She has, with all the help that modern radiotherapy and medical oncology can offer in Ottawa, in addition to her tremendous personality and drive, done amazingly well in a tragic situation for any young mom,” said Dr. Clemons. “At the same time, she has been involved in practice-changing research that is going to improve the care of patients—she continues to give.”

Over the past four years, Jillian has participated in clinical cancer trials with new therapies that have kept her cancer in check. When it spread to her brain a couple of years ago, she had whole-brain and CyberKnife radiation. Then she was put on new medication that can cross the blood brain barrier, which her regular chemotherapy couldn’t do. The medication halted new tumour growths in her brain. Her cancer is not getting better, but it’s not getting worse, either.

“I’m happy to stay status quo, because there is nothing I want to do that I can’t do right now,” said Jillian.“Status quo—I’m good with that. I feel great. I don’t have aches or pains or anything. I don’t have time to think about how I feel.”

Jillian sits on the floor laughing and playing with her three children. She looks at the little doll her daughter Myla shows her, and hands a ball to Landon. “I really think it’s the kids. They have so much to do with it, because they are so great. They are so fun. They keep me really busy and that’s half the fun. By the time I go to bed at night, I don’t think about cancer. I don’t think about tests coming up. I don’t think about that stuff because I’m too tired. So I think that is helpful.”

Dr. Clemons agrees.

“She is a gem, and her attitude of living life with true meaning is a humbling lesson for all of us,” said Dr. Clemons. “Too many people in society spend too much time moaning about the trivial, as well as things they can’t do anything about. Life is for living, and Jillian encourages people to do that—live!”

Whether it’s thanks to the innovative new treatment she receives or her uber-positive attitude, Jillian has surpassed the original two-year diagnosis by two-and-a-half years.

Dr. Clemons told her, “Whatever you’re doing, keep on doing it—obviously it’s working for you.”

And it is.


We need your help today to give patients like Jillian more time, more memories, more hope. Support our cancer clinical trial research today and help us develop new ways to treat this devastating disease.

More Great Stories of #TOHMOMS

My why is you
Robert Noseworthy was diagnosed with a childhood leukemia at the age of 30. This was rare for someone his age and his prognosis was grim. 30 years later, he gives back to cancer research through THE RIDE with his grown children by his side.
Buying time: 7hrs, 52 stitches
Leata Qaunaq knew something was wrong when her husband Joellie arrived to meet her and their daughter at the airport near Arctic Bay, Nunavut. He was talking, but not making sense.
From tragedy to triumph
Liam and Rhys White started life in an extraordinary way.

WBN Annual Charity Golf Tournament

For the 25th year, the Women’s Business Network is hosting their Annual Charity Golf Tournament in support of women’s health in the region.

Event Date: June 17, 2019
Event Time: 11:00AM
Location: Canadian Golf and Country Club, 7800 Golf Club Way, Ashton, ON K0A 1B0
Website: https://wbn.wildapricot.org/event-3269591
Contact: Christina Nesrallah, 613-265-2652, [email protected]

On Monday, June 17, 2019, The Women’s Business Network will be hosting their 25th Annual Charity Golf Tournament. Swing by the Canadian Golf and Country Club for a 9-hole round of golf with local professionals, entrepreneurs, and local businesses all in support of women’s health in the region.

To learn more about the event, including registration costs and sponsorship opportunities, click here.

Inspired giving means more than giving to kidney research

Downey family’s generosity included donating a kidney and donating to kidney research

 

Phil and his son Sean
Sean donated a kidney to his father.

“How old will I be when I give you my kidney?” Seven-year-old Liam asked after his father, Sean Downey, donated a kidney to his father. 

Young Liam knew intuitively that giving was part of the Downey philosophy.

Phil Downey, Sean’s father, said he always knew growing up in rural Carp that helping others was important. It was something you just did. He said his mom, who was a nurse at the Civic Hospital in the 1940’s, kept a poem about giving’ that she’d cut out of a greeting card. It was always on the fridge to remind them how important giving to others was. Phil said a copy of that same poem is stuck on his own fridge today. As well, every one of his five adult children have the poem hanging in their house. It is their family creed. 

“I think it’s important to give, if you have the ability to give,” said Sean. “We live in the greatest country in the world, and have the ability to give more so than a lot of other places in the world. If everybody had that mentality, the world would be a better place.”  

About 12 years ago, Phil was diagnosed with kidney disease, which eventually led to kidney failure. Around the same time, Phil was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After the surgery to remove his prostate gland, he was encouraged to wait five years before having a kidney transplant because Phil would need to take anti-rejection drugs, which suppress the immune system and increase the potential for cancer.  

Five years later, Phil was still cancer free, but he was on dialysis and desperately needed a kidney.  Gail and his children and step children “threw in the hat,” and volunteered to donate their kidney. Sean, his second son, was the best match.  

“A lot of people get cancer or other terrible diseases. I have friends who lost loved ones, and who would’ve cut their right arm off to save someone they love,” said 42-year-old Sean. “There is the medical know how with kidney disease to save one person’s life, and the other person goes on to live a normal, happy life.” He said he just saw donating one of his kidneys as “something you do for your father.” 

The Downey family in their garden.
The Downey Family at their fundraising cocktail event in August 2018. Left to right: Sean Downey, Karen Leonard, Bruce Downey, Shannon Downey, Kevin Wolfe, Bryan Buchanan, Kate Wolfe, Jessica Wolfe, Phil and Gail Downey, centre, with Liam Downey
Gail and Phil with their medals.
In April 2019, Phil and Gail Downey were awarded the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

In July 2013, Sean and Phil underwent surgery at the same time. The kidney transplant was a success. Phil began to feel better almost immediately. He said he had more energy while still in the hospital than he’d had in years. Recovering together, was great bonding time for Sean and Phil. The father and son had friendly competitions to reach milestones: who could be out walking more; who could do the most, physically or do it the fastest. Over the course of healing together, Phil convinced Sean to join his real estate business. He did, and father and son now work together.   

Phil and Gail were so grateful for the wonderful care he received over the years at The Ottawa Hospital that they actively fundraised for critical hospital priorities, such as the CyberKnife, the new Charlie and Claudette Logue Dermatology Centre, and the Rose Ages Breast Health Centre. They realized that philanthropy was also important to their adult children. The family decided to encourage their friends to inspire generational giving in their families too.  

In August, Phil and Gail hosted a cocktail reception in their backyard with their family, and invited their close friends. They announced, in gratitude for the treatment and care Phil received at The Ottawa Hospital, they would make a significant donation to kidney research. Knowing that the hospital had touched everyone in attendance, the Downeys asked their friends to also consider engaging their own children – the next generation – to support world-class patient care at The Ottawa Hospital. 

The Downey family is paying it forward, knowing their legacy will be shaping the future of health care in Ottawa for generations of Downeys to come.


The Downey family is paying it forward, knowing their legacy will be shaping the future of health care in Ottawa for generations of Downeys to come.

More Stories

From tragedy to triumph
Liam and Rhys White started life in an extraordinary way.
We were in the best hands
Shane and Ellen Ottens have seen their four boys go through their fair share of bumps, bruises and broken bones over the years. However, nothing prepared them for the diagnosis their son, Spencer, would receive in the fall of 2017. 
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.

Extraordinary volunteer recognized with GG medal

Michael Baine was on vacation in Florida when the governor general’s office called to tell him he was receiving a Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Mike Baine
Mike Baine has been a table captain at every President’s Breakfast since 2004.

“I was blown away,” said Mike, a dedicated volunteer with The Ottawa Hospital Foundation since 2004. “It’s never something you think about when you are volunteering. For me, I love the work. I love the cause. It was win-win all the time for me.”

The medal, formerly known as the Caring Canadian Award, recognizes and pays tribute to dedicated people, like Mike, who’ve made a significant contribution to the community as a volunteer.

Mike knows many family and friends who have been patients at The Ottawa Hospital, and saw firsthand the great treatment and care they received. In 2004, he heard about the President’s Breakfast fundraising event, and thought it was a “brilliant” way to inform people about outstanding patient care and research at The Ottawa Hospital. Mike offered to host a table and invited nine people to join him.

He and his guests were wowed at the hour-long breakfast, hearing patients talk about how their lives―changed by an accident or illness―were saved by The Ottawa Hospital. They also heard hospital President and CEO Dr. Kitts talk about his health-care vision. These extraordinary stories of healing inspired them to make a donation to the hospital.

“I don’t travel in wealthy circles, but I know people who are committed to people,” said Mike who started teaching with the Ottawa Catholic School Board in 1972 and retired in 2007 as Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services. “My colleagues and friends have all chosen a people profession. They like helping people, so I approached them.”

Mike was so impressed by the incredible testimonials, and got such a great vibe from being there, that every year since he has been a table captain, inviting nine friends to also be inspired. Over the last 14 years, more than 100 people have been Mike’s guests at the President’s Breakfast.

Mike Baine
Mike has been a rider on every Foundation Ride event since it began nine years ago.

“Some of my guests have become table captains themselves. But really, a lot of them are great ambassadors now for The Ottawa Hospital because of the amazing experience that one hour provides,” he said.

Then in 2009, when the Foundation set up a focus group to explore the idea of doing a cycling fundraiser for cancer research, they asked Mike to take part. The group gave the event an enthusiastic thumbs-up. And in 2010, Mike raised money for cancer research, and on September 11, four days before hosting a table at the President’s Breakfast, he got on his bike to pedal the first Ride the Rideau (now known as THE RIDE). He enjoyed the event so much, he signed up the following year and has participated in every ride event since. In September 2018, Mike had a bigger reason to ride after a close friend passed away from cancer. He raised a personal best of $5,000 for The Ottawa Hospital.

“I’ve met so many wonderful people while volunteering. People you get to know because you’re at the same events together,” said Mike. “And you meet the same people on the RIDE or at the finish lines. It becomes part of your life―that kind of philanthropy.”

Mike has also volunteered with CHEO, Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, and the Youth Services Bureau. Making a difference in the lives of children is another cause close to his heart.

Mike was presented with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers at a ceremony on April 9, 2019. Congratulations are in order to the other Foundation volunteers who also received this award for their exceptional commitment and tremendous support for The Ottawa Hospital: Gail and Philip Downey, Dr. Lothar Huebsch, and Sheryl McDiarmid.


We invite you to email [email protected] to find out more about how to volunteer for events at The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

More Stories

From tragedy to triumph
Liam and Rhys White started life in an extraordinary way.
We were in the best hands
Shane and Ellen Ottens have seen their four boys go through their fair share of bumps, bruises and broken bones over the years. However, nothing prepared them for the diagnosis their son, Spencer, would receive in the fall of 2017. 
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.

From patient to volunteer–‘a little conversation could make a huge difference’

Two volunteers took Fran Cosper for a coffee when he was a patient at The Ottawa Hospital Rehab Centre and it inspired him to also volunteer when his condition allows.

Fran Cosper’s fingers wrap around the coffee mug. This simple task was impossible two years ago when he couldn’t even lift a fingeror move any part of his body.  

On Valentine’s Day 2017, Fran arrived at the emergency department of The Ottawa Hospital. He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that attacked his nervous system, destroying the protective sheath around his nerves and paralyzing him. At one point, Fran couldn’t even close his eyes and the nurse had to tape his eyelids shut. Fran was moved to The Ottawa Hospital’s Rehabilitation Centre while his nerves regenerated. He arrived on a gurney, and after several weeks, learned to get around in an electric wheelchair controlled by moving his head. He spent seven months in the rehab centre recovering, and is now continuing his recovery journey at home, with regular visits back to the centre for check ups.  

Fran Cosper has gone from patient to volunteer.

Being outgoing, Fran enjoyed chatting with people at the Rehab Centre and easily made friends with staff and other patients. One day, two hospital volunteers, Claude and Chris, showed up at his bedside and asked if they could take him for coffee.  

“I thought, ‘Okay, cool, a couple of guys want to take me for coffee.’ I gleaned they were volunteers because of their blue vests. So, we went to the coffee shop and started to talk,” Fran said.  

Chris told Fran that he had an aggressive brain tumour. He had been in the hospital for surgery and treatment, but it was now inoperable. Nonetheless, he felt his hospital care had been so amazing, he decided to come back and volunteer. 

“I thought, ‘This guy has a brain tumour, and he’s going to die…and he’s taking me to coffee!’ That just blew my mind,” said Fran. “That was when I decided when I get well enough, I’m going to volunteer.” 

Fran left the Rehab Centre with the help of a walker on October 6, 2017.   

“I think volunteering is a very tangible, and meaningful way to give back. 

A year and a half later, and not yet able to return to his regular work, Fran is getting ready to return as a volunteer.  His friend Claude put him in touch with volunteer services, which organizes the 1,200 volunteers who work in every part of the hospital, from waiting areas to the emergency department. Fran has to shadow Claude a number of times while visiting patients in the rehab centre, before he can be on the schedule. He has been fitted for a volunteer’s blue vest and signed up for a two-hour volunteer course with the hospital.  

“I think volunteering is a very tangible, and meaningful way to give back,” said Fran. “You don’t know how you might affect someone. People have their struggles, and a little conversation, a little ‘you’re important,’ a little ‘you’re okay’could make a difference in their life.” 

Fran knows firsthand how volunteering does make a difference. He sees no better reason to take someone for a coffee. 


Volunteering is one of the most impactful ways to give back. Give your time and see first-hand the impact you’re having.

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Trauma team saves arm

When the blade on Adrian Molloy’s power saw partially severed his arm, he was rushed to the Trauma Centre at The Ottawa Hospital. He was one of the first to benefit from a new quality improvement initiative that extended the time to 60 minutes for an ambulance to head directly to the Civic Campus, bypassing the nearest community hospital.

June 20, 2017, was a day like any other on the construction site, until the 14-inch diamond blade on Adrian Molloy’s power saw jammed in the concrete he was cutting and kicked back into his arm.

“It happened so quickly, I didn’t even know I was injured,” Adrian said.

The 40-year-old contractor had been using power saws on the job for 20 years. He was down in a hole cutting concrete when the saw kicked back. He was covered in dust so couldn’t see his arm, but knew he’d hit himself. He grabbed his right arm above the elbow, and his fingers landed on bone. Adrian knew it was a serious injury, and managed to get out of the hole and head to the road for help. His arm was bleeding badly.

Adrian Molloy
Contractor Adrian Molloy underwent two four-and-a-half-hour surgeries to repair his partially severed arm.

At the road, two Hydro One workers were sitting in their truck getting ready to leave. When they saw Adrian, the passenger called 911. The driver jumped out, and quickly took off his belt and tightened it around Adrian’s arm in a tourniquet. He was calm, and kept Adrian talking until the ambulance arrived.

In the ambulance, Adrian heard the paramedics talking with the dispatch.

“I knew they were looking to bypass Kemptville, but didn’t know what was going on,” said Adrian. “I knew my best hope was The Ottawa Hospital, so was happy they said we were heading to the Trauma Centre at the Civic. I was going somewhere where they could handle my injury.”

What Adrian didn’t realize was that he was one of the first patients to be part of a quality improvement initiative that the Ottawa Regional Trauma Program was testing in an effort to get patients to trauma care and provide more successful outcomes.

“Adrian was a direct recipient of our 60-minute bypass initiative,” said Mathieu LeBreton, Trauma Coordinator of the Ottawa Regional Trauma Program at The Ottawa Hospital. “Provincially, paramedics have rules that can permit them to bypass local hospitals to get to a lead trauma hospital if they are within 30 minutes of getting to a trauma centre. With the approval of all regional community hospitals, we expanded it to 60 minutes. Much of the literature suggests the sooner a patient receives definitive trauma care, the better.”

Where Adrian was injured was about a 45-minute ambulance drive to the Trauma Centre. Previously, he would’ve had to go to the nearest community hospital. LeBreton said trauma patients who need resuscitation from life-threatening injury need very resource-intensive care. They require more medical staff, access to operating rooms, imaging capabilities, more blood, and other resources that community hospitals do not have in their emergency departments. There is a team of health-care professionals at the Civic Campus specifically trained to deal with trauma situations.

When paramedics notify the Civic Campus Emergency Department that they are bringing in a patient with multiple or life-threatening injuries, a Code 1 Trauma is called over the hospital’s intercom. This alerts the trauma team, which includes trauma surgeons, emergency physicians, nurses, anaesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, and trauma coordinator Mathieu LeBreton, to prepare for the patient’s arrival. A Code 1 Trauma also notifies the blood lab, radiology department, and operating room staff that blood-work, X-Rays, CT scans, and surgery may be needed.

“Sometimes a trauma code comes in without advance notice, and then we’re reacting to it in the moment,” said Kelly Barnett, Clinical Manager of the Trauma Unit. “Everyone has a job, and it’s a code that runs smoothly to diagnose, triage, and save the patient.”

“I’d never been to a hospital injured like this before,” said Adrian. As he lay in the ambulance, his mind raced with concerns. “I asked, ‘Do they know I’m coming? Are they ready for me?’”

The answer was yes. The trauma team was ready and waiting for him when the ambulance arrived. When he was rushed through the emergency room doors, Adrian said he couldn’t believe, “You can get so many people in one room for one patient.” He was in the operating room within 47 minutes from the time he entered the emergency department.

“I knew my best hope was The Ottawa Hospital, so was happy they said we were heading to the Trauma Centre at the Civic. I was going somewhere where they could handle my injury.”

The power saw had cut 75 percent of his right bicep, two arteries and a nerve. In the operating room, surgeons reattached his arm. The four-and-a-half-hour surgery repaired arteries and his severed nerve. He underwent a second four-hour surgery to repair the damaged bicep with a donor muscle in November 2017.

The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus is the adult lead trauma hospital for eastern Ontario. This takes in an area of 1.3 million people that includes Ottawa, stretches west to Pembroke and east to Hawkesbury. People with life-threatening injuries from Gatineau and western Quebec, as well as patients from Baffin Island and eastern Nunavut are brought to the Trauma Centre. Twenty percent of the population it serves lives in a rural area.

The Centre treated 856 trauma cases last year. One hundred and ninety-two of those patients benefited from the extended time guidelines from accident scene to trauma centre, with the average transfer time being 42 minutes.

Paramedics bringing stretcher into emergency

The eight-bed trauma unit is dedicated to patients who have multiple injuries. This could include head or brain trauma, limb loss, vascular, spinal cord, internal organs, multiple broken bones, broken spine, or neck injuries.

“Patients come into trauma from emerge [emergency department], and once they are stabilized, they then move through the hospital, as soon as possible, in order to get them back home, into rehab, or somewhere they can convalesce,” said Kelly.

Kelly said a patient’s length of stay in the trauma unit can be as short as 24 hours or as long as several months, depending on the severity of the injury and the ability to recover and heal. The health professionals in the Centre plan the patient’s follow up care or work closely with physiotherapy, and rehabilitation services to assess their need for rehabilitation.

“I know we often compare ourselves to similar standards from regional trauma perspectives: other hospitals we benchmark against in standardizing trauma care. We look to hospitals like St. Mikes [St. Michael’s Hospital] in Toronto to see their practices, and share ideas and common goals that we are trying to achieve,” said Kelly.

The Ottawa Hospital is part of the Trauma Association of Canada where members from across the country share vibrant practices about ways to improve patient care.

Hamilton and Kingston also have trauma centres, though The Ottawa Hospital is bigger because of the larger area patients come from.

The Ottawa Hospital has one of the largest trauma centres in the province, with Sunnybrook and St. Michael’s as the two largest. However, both Toronto hospitals cater to a dense urban population. The Ottawa Hospital covers a larger geographical area, so the timing to get patients to the trauma centre from a distance and the reason why the 60-minute bypass initiative is critical.

“What we found is there have been no negative outcomes yet. People like Adrian have benefitted directly from this,” Mathieu said.

Adrian Molloy with his wife Shelly
Adrian Molloy stands with his wife Shelly outside their home.

A year later, Adrian is back on the construction site with full use of his right arm and hand.

“I lost the motion for using a screw driver. I use it as an excuse to get out of work I don’t like. I use it to my advantage now,” laughed Adrian. “I’m doing everything I was doing before.”


The Centre treated 856 trauma cases in 2018. One hundred and ninety-two of those patients benefited from the extended time guidelines from accident scene to trauma centre.

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