Local activist donor pledges $500,000 to take on cancer

Gavin Murphy is unwavering when it comes to his desire to maintain a world-class health care system in our city. As a result, he’s willing to step forward and be an activist donor.

Local activist donor pledges $500,000 to take on cancer

Gavin Murphy is unwavering when it comes to his desire to maintain a world-class health care system in our city. He’s unwilling to settle for anything less and he doesn’t think anyone in our community should either. Gavin believes each resident needs to play an active role in giving back, and that’s why this self-described “activist” donor is sharing his story – a story he hopes will lead to a cure for cancer.

This New Edinburgh resident has committed $500,000 to support the Radiation Medicine Program at The Ottawa Hospital – it’s what he wants his lasting legacy to be.

While the Ottawa lawyer isn’t looking for public recognition, he’s not shy about sharing the news of his gift as he hopes it will inspire others to do the same. “Scarce government resources requires those in a position to give significant gifts to step forward and support The Ottawa Hospital.” Gavin adds, “By giving serious thought to my philanthropy, I am hoping to help improve discovery and care for our families, friends, and neighbours.”

Gavin’s interest in cutting-edge research is what enticed him to make this tremendous gift to Radiation Medicine Program with the hope that findings will one day be published. He’s excited about the opportunities which lie ahead and the advancements that will be made.

 

“I want to give this money while I’m still alive. It’s great that people leave money in their estates, I think that’s wonderful but I want to see the fruits of my labour, in my lifetime.” – Gavin Murphy

 

 

Gavin Murphy takes pride in describing himself an activist donor.
Gavin Murphy takes pride in describing himself an activist donor.

It’s the fruits of his labour, which will leave his fingerprints on advancements in cancer care to help others in the future. For Gavin, that’s truly exciting. “I like the idea of funding new, innovative technology. It will leave a lasting legacy and this gift is providing the building blocks for future research in this field.”

Donor support is vital to providing doctors and researchers with state-of-the-art tools. It’s also what allows The Ottawa Hospital to be a trailblazer when it comes to transformational advancements. Dr. Miller MacPherson, the Head of Medical Physics at The Ottawa Hospital says, “It’s the generosity of donors like Gavin which allows The Ottawa Hospital to be innovative with new technologies. This support will provide insight for new discoveries and will have an impact on care through research and technology advancements in the field of cancer research.”
Dr. Jason Pantarotto, Head of Radiation Oncology at The Ottawa Hospital, echoes that sentiment, noting that donations to the Radiation Medicine Program are particularly precious. “Despite radiotherapy being a key treatment for nearly 5,000 cancer patients each year in Ottawa, the amount of research dollars available to improve the science is pretty sparse. We are extremely grateful to donors, such as Gavin, who see the benefits of investing in the team and equipment that exists here at The Ottawa Hospital.”

For Gavin, his ultimate goal is to help find a cure for cancer.

“This gift will provide a foundation to greater understanding of cancer and I hope it will help obliterate cancer sometime down the road.”- Gavin Murphy

The reality is The Ottawa Hospital will touch each person in our community in some way. For Gavin, that’s a good reason for not only himself but also for others to step forward. “If people want to be well looked after in a world-class system, we have to ensure a world-class system is maintained.”

The way Gavin sees it, we’ll all need The Ottawa Hospital at some point, and there’s a way for each person in our community to support it. “You need people who are in the position to give, and those who can give smaller amounts, in greater numbers to support the hospital equally.”

To be a donor like Gavin, supporting patient-centred care and life-saving research at The Ottawa Hospital, please donate.

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$2.21 million raised through community events in September for The Ottawa Hospital

September resulted in $2.21 million donated to The Ottawa Hospital as a direct result of community support – solidifying our city’s dedication to ensuring world-class care and research in eastern Ontario.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2019, OTTAWA, ON – September resulted in $2.21 million donated to The Ottawa Hospital as a direct result of community support – solidifying our city’s dedication to ensuring world-class care and research in eastern Ontario. Events including THE RIDE, powered by Mattamy Homes, the President’s Breakfast, golf tournaments, and community-inspired events, all contributed to this excellent example of dedication local residents have to The Ottawa Hospital.

The funds will directly support patient care and research at The Ottawa Hospital. Tim Kluke, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, said this is a perfect example of a community rallying to ensure doctors, researchers and nurses have the right tools to care for their patients. “Philanthropy takes many forms, and each of these special events embodies the important role The Ottawa Hospital plays in our city. We are grateful for all of the support and we never take it for granted,” said Kluke.

In many cases, community leaders stepped forward to support The Ottawa Hospital and called on their friends and colleagues to do the same. This was the case for Cyril Leeder and Janet McKeage who co-chaired the annual President’s Breakfast held earlier this month.

“Beyond the right tools and equipment, research is fundamental to the advancements in care we are seeing. It’s research which is allowing The Ottawa Hospital to be one of the best health-care centres in the country and it is the generosity of our community which makes that possible,” said Leeder.

McKeage echoed that sentiment, “Together, we have the capability to help push the boundaries when it comes to health care in our city.”

It is community support, which provides critical funds to help purchase equipment not funded by our tax dollars and helps fund the work of a researcher who has dedicated his or her life to finding a cure.

About The Ottawa Hospital:

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals, with more than 1,200 beds, 12,000 staff members and an annual budget of about approximately $1.3 billion.

The focus on learning and research helps to develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital affiliated with the University of Ottawa, specialized care is delivered to the eastern Ontario region and the techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. The hospital engages the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care.

From the compassion of our people to the relentless pursuit of new discoveries, The Ottawa Hospital never stops seeking solutions to the most complex patient-centered care. For more information about The Ottawa Hospital, visit ohfoundation.ca.

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30 years after treatment, leukemia survivor forever grateful

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 with his grown children by his side.

30 years after treatment, leukemia survivor forever grateful

The importance of cancer research is not lost on Robert Noseworthy. He’s reminded of it every time he looks in the mirror.

Robert is a cancer survivor and not a day goes by that he doesn’t appreciate each moment he’s had to share with his two children, who are now adults.

On October 21, 1988, Robert was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a childhood leukemia. He was living in Montreal at the time with his young family, including Julianne who was 18 months old and his infant son, David.

A grim prognosis

“I was given a 13% chance of survival with 6 months to live. My doctor said it was very unusual for a 30-year-old to have a childhood leukemia,” says Robert.

And so, the cancer journey began for this father of two. It would include numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, which put him into remission, but the journey didn’t end there. “In March 1989, I received a bone marrow transplant from my sister, who was a six-on-six match.”

Thanks to that match, Robert beat the odds. He gives full credit to cancer research as the reason he is alive today. It’s what has driven Robert and his family to become dedicated supporters of cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital. “That is my why. I do my small part and to raise funds for cancer research,” he says.

Robert Noseworthy with his daughter Julianne after they cycled 109 kms during THE RIDE on September 8, 2019.
Robert Noseworthy with his daughter Julianne after they cycled 109 kms during THE RIDE on September 8, 2019.

Time to give back

Giving back has been important to Robert. Each year, his family comes together to cycle and raise funds through THE RIDE, a cycling fundraiser. It’s also been important to him to instill that in his children as they grew up. “I received all this help but now it’s time to give back.”

For Julianne, giving back as a family to The Ottawa Hospital and advancing research has become just as important to her.

“If it wasn’t for cancer research and everything my dad had been through, we wouldn’t be the family that we are today,” says Julianne.

Glancing over at her father, with a smile, Julianne says, “My why is you.”

The way Robert sees it; he is alive because of the investment of others who came before him and he wants to be that hope for someone else battle cancer. “60 years ago someone invested in cancer research. 30 later, I was the beneficiary of that generosity and that’s why I’m here today.”

Your support will provide crucial funding to improve the care of patients in the future, just like Robert.

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Immunotherapy eradicates cop’s melanoma

Despite years of treatment to prevent recurrence of skin cancer, Ian McDonell’s melanoma –a disease that killed his brother– spread to his brain and body. In 2017, he started an innovative immunotherapy treatment. A year later, all scans showed his cancer was gone.

A melanoma diagnosis

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, Ian McDonell
Ian McDonell received immunotherapy in 2017, which erased any trace of his melanoma.

Several years ago, Ian McDonell, a Staff Sergeant with the Ottawa Police and father of three had just lost his father to cancer and his brother was dying of melanoma. Ian’s wife insisted he see his physician to check out a mole on his back. It turned out to be an ulcerated nodular malignant melanoma – an aggressive form of skin cancer.

Ian had surgery to remove it along with a lymph node from his left groin. Several weeks later, he had a lymph node removed from his armpit. Following these surgeries, he had no signs of cancer, but due to his family’s history, Ian was at high risk for relapse.

Sobering news

Ian was feeling well, but during a standard monitoring visit in June 2017, his CT and MRI scans showed sobering news. He had half a dozen tumours in his groin and abdomen, and three more tumours metastasized to his brain. Ian’s cancer was stage 4.

Given the severity of the findings, Dr. Michel Ong at The Ottawa Hospital suggested an aggressive approach – a recently approved immunotherapy treatment.

Unmasking cancer

Scientists have tried for decades to stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells. But the game-changer was the discovery that cancer cells make key molecules, called immune checkpoint proteins, that suppress immune cells and prevent them from attacking the cancer. These immune checkpoint proteins cloak the cancer from the immune system. New drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors remove this cloak and allow immune cells called T-cells to naturally attack and destroy the cancer.

“The idea of chemotherapy is to kill off cancer directly,” said Dr. Ong. “There are potential side effects, because chemotherapy tries to poison the cancer.

“Immunotherapy does not directly affect the cancer itself. Instead, immunotherapy unmasks the cancer to your immune system by flipping some switches on T-cells, and the body’s own immune system does the rest.” – Dr. Michael Ong

Ian McDonell with his wife Michelle (left), and their daughters Kendra, Macy, and Ainsley, hiking in the Adirondack Mountains in 2019.
Ian McDonell with his wife Michelle (left), and their daughters, hiking in the Adirondack Mountains in 2019.

CyberKnife treatment

Ian started on a combination of two immunotherapies given intravenously in the chemotherapy unit at The Ottawa Hospital’s Cancer Centre. He also underwent CyberKnife radiotherapy treatment where high doses of radiation were directed at his brain tumours. He bravely continued with the second round of immunotherapy, but was so sick, he had to be taken off the treatment and started on steroid medications to slow down the immune system. Ian felt better, but his immunotherapy was on hold.

Shrinking tumours

When Ian began to develop weakness in his face, he worried his cancer was getting worse. It wasn’t. Scans showed one tumour had shrunk from 25 to 10 mm, and another had shrunk from eight to four mm.

Dr. Ong recommended trying a single immunotherapy rather than two, and while the treatment made Ian very sick, it did the trick.

Two months later, the results of a PET scan, MRI, and a CT scan showed that he was tumour-free. All trace of his cancer was gone.

Oncologist Dr. Michael Ong said recent immunotherapies are hugely successful for treating melanoma.
Oncologist Dr. Michael Ong said recent immunotherapies are hugely successful for treating melanoma.

Advances in immunotherapy

When Dr. Ong first met Ian in 2013, options for immunotherapy or targeted chemotherapy weren’t available. Thanks to incredible advances in immunotherapy, there is now hope.

“In the last few years, we’ve gone from having very poor options to having many effective options for melanoma. That’s because cancer therapy continues to develop at a very rapid pace,” said Dr. Ong. “We, at The Ottawa Hospital, are constantly participating in practice-changing clinical trials. The standard of care is constantly changing, as it should. We are continually trying to push the limits of cancer treatment.”

The Ottawa Hospital is a leader in cancer immunotherapy research, both in terms of developing new therapies and in offering experimental treatments to patients. Currently, there are approximately 70 active cancer immunotherapy clinical trials being conducted at the hospital involving nearly 700 patients. The hospital also hosts a national network for immunotherapy research and has developed a number of unique immunotherapies made directly of cells and viruses.

Hope for the future

Because of successful immunotherapy treatments, patients like Ian are now planning a future of living cancer-free.

“When the provincial exams for police services came up, I said, ‘I’m gonna write it, because I’ve got a bit of hope now.’” said Ian.

More importantly, in addition to his career plans, immunotherapy has allowed Ian to plan for the future with his family and a chance to watch his daughters grow up.

Hear more about oncologist Dr. Michael Ong’s work with immunotherapy.

To support life-saving research at The Ottawa Hospital that helps patients like Ian, please donate.

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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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THE RIDE – celebrated 10 years raising $1.07 million

900 cyclists and volunteers came together Sunday and raised $1.07 million to support leading-edge research at The Ottawa Hospital. In ten years, THE RIDE, powered by Mattamy Homes, surpassed the $14 million mark.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2019, OTTAWA, ON – 900 cyclists and volunteers came together Sunday and raised $1.07 million to support leading-edge research at The Ottawa Hospital. In ten years, THE RIDE, powered by Mattamy Homes, surpassed the $14 million mark.

Tim Kluke, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, said the research advancements we’ve seen in the last ten years have been remarkable. “When you look at immunotherapy treatments and CAR-T cell therapy for cancer treatments to stem cell treatments for MS patients, support for research at The Ottawa Hospital has been truly transformational. The dedication we’ve seen from so many riders and volunteers over the past 10 years has been an incredible way to bring our community together.”

“The dedication we’ve seen from so many riders and volunteers over the past 10 years has been an incredible way to bring our community together.” Tim Kluke, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

When it comes to inspiring our community to give back to The Ottawa Hospital, Mattamy Homes has been a true leader. Kevin O’Shea is Mattamy Homes Division President, “We not only take great pride being the title sponsor of THE RIDE, but we also participate as a team. It’s a positive way to promote health and wellness in our workplace, as well as, support our leading health care centre in eastern Ontario.”

Making THE RIDE come to life over ten years ago had a great deal to do with Robert Merkley, founder of Merkley Supply Ltd. The team captain of The Brick Peddlers, Merkley had a vision of bringing a phenomenal cycling fundraiser to Ottawa and he, along with Claude DesRosiers and Roger Greenberg, helped make it a reality. “I remember thinking to myself, if I was spearheading this new fundraiser for The Ottawa Hospital, I had better bring together a good, strong team. That’s how The Brick Peddlers came to life. I’m proud to say it’s the largest, most successful and most enthusiastic RIDE team.”

In addition to the 50KM closed route and the 109KM open road route, the 10th edition of THE RIDE also saw the inaugural Alinker one kilometre loop. Dozens of participants joined THE RIDE using the Alinker, a relatively new walk assist bike. These bikes give people with mobility challenges a chance to be a part of this vital fundraiser for research at The Ottawa Hospital – research which could potentially help them one day.

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals, with more than 1,200 beds, 12,000 staff members and an annual budget of about approximately $1.3 billion.

Our focus on learning and research helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the eastern Ontario region and our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care.

From the compassion of our people to the relentless pursuit of new discoveries, The Ottawa Hospital never stops seeking solutions to the most complex health-care challenges. For more information about The Ottawa Hospital, visit ohfoundation.ca.

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Media contact: Shelley McLean, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation; [email protected]; 613-324-4466


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Acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease— newfound hope for treatment

Researchers at The Ottawa Hospital are working together to help prevent and treat acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease.

Stem cell potential

Acute kidney injury affects one in five intensive care patients. A staggering fifty percent of those patients will not survive.

Doing the rounds of the intensive care unit several years ago, nephrologist Dr. Kevin Burns was struck by the number of patients with acute kidney injury. While they had come to intensive care for other serious illnesses, experiencing low blood pressure, shock, infections, blood loss after an operation, or needing to take certain medications, had injured their kidneys.

“Despite ongoing research in this area for over 60 years, there is no treatment,” said Dr. Burns. “Things have been tried to help the kidneys recover and absolutely nothing has worked to date.”

That is until now. Dr. Burns and his fellow researchers at The Ottawa Hospital Kidney Research Centre are uncovering ways to help kidneys recover from injury and to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Dr. Kevin Burns
Nephrologist and senior scientist Dr. Kevin Burns is investigating how stem cells could regenerate kidneys after acute kidney injury.

Chronic kidney disease – preventative research and early treatment

While exciting progress is being made in treating acute kidney injury, researchers at The Ottawa Hospital are also looking into ways to improve detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease.

“If we can catch the disease earlier, treatments will be more effective at preventing or delaying kidney failure. Any way that we can buy time and prevent or delay losing kidney function will be invaluable to patients,” said researcher Dr. Dylan Burger, a world expert laboratory scientist at The Ottawa Hospital’s Kidney Research Centre.

He is developing a diagnostic test that can predict if a person is at risk for developing kidney disease rather than relying on the current tests which show when it is already present, often at an advanced stage.

World-first technique for early detection

In the lab, Dr. Burger’s team looked at what happens at the cellular level when people start to develop kidney disease and identified microparticles as the problem. These are tiny pieces that come off a cell when it’s stressed or injured and are released into the blood or urine causing damage to the kidney.

In response to this finding, the team has developed a technique to count microparticles in urine. This technique, which is still in the research phase, allows any patient’s urine to be tested to accurately determine their risk for developing kidney disease.

The results of this approach have been published and it is now being used in approximately 20 different labs around the world. A standardized technique is being developed so that any lab in the world can use the same diagnostic test for patients.

Dr. Dylan Burger with student Ozgun Varol
World expert laboratory scientist Dr. Dylan Burger watches student researcher Ozgun Varol.

World-class expertise

These studies are only part of the kidney research taking place at the Ottawa Hospital. As one of Canada’s largest health research centres, researchers and clinicians have tremendous opportunity to learn from each other and work collaboratively to bring treatments from the lab to the bedside.

The expertise of these scientists, the quality of their kidney research, and the number of publications is attracting researchers from around the world. This level of excellence and a resolve to remain at the forefront of research and discovery will directly translate into improved treatment and outcomes for patients.

To learn more about the leading research of The Ottawa Hospital and the life-changing innovations that are improving patient lives, please click here.

Donate now to support kidney research at the Ottawa Hospital.

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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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2018-2019 Events Summary

The Ottawa Hospital Foundation saw great success during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. From running to cycling, to posh gala evenings, we have something for everyone! These events are all about being a part of your community. Click the images below for more on individual events.

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

 

Summary of the 2018-2019 Dancing with the Docs event

Summary of the 2018-2019 RIDE at The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

Summary of the 2018-2019 Run for a Reason at The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

Additional summary of events held by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation throughout 2018-2019

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

After 18 years with MS—“I really feel like I’m cured.”

“It’s now 12 years since my stem cell transplant. I really feel like I’m cured,” said Heather who has no symptoms of the disease.

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

 

Heather Harris was driving her fiancé to a golf tournament one morning in 2001 when her right foot went numb. By the end of the day, the numbness had spread up the entire right side of her body.

The then-24-year-old Thunder Bay resident had an MRI, which showed signs of multiple sclerosis (MS). The numbness was her first MS attack.

MS is a devastating disease that occurs when the immune system—which protects against foreign organisms such as viruses or bacteria—mistakenly attacks the body’s own central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve.

Heather met with neurologist and MS specialist Dr. Mark Freedman just a few weeks before her wedding. Heather’s disease was progressing rapidly. Dr. Freedman told her she would be in a wheelchair within five years.

Dr. Freedman and hematologist and scientist Dr. Harold Atkins were leading a world-first clinical trial, investigating whether patients with early, aggressive MS would benefit if their immune system was wiped out with high-dose chemotherapy and then regenerated with blood stem cells.

The stem cell treatment seemed her only hope. Heather and her husband moved to Ottawa for a year while she took part in the trial. She had the stem cell transplant in November 2006.

“It’s now 12 years since my stem cell transplant. I really feel like I’m cured,” said Heather who has no symptoms of the disease. She works full-time as a school principal, and is back to camping, skiing, running and driving a manual shift car.

Heather and her husband wanted to have a baby. With the help of in vitro fertilization, Heather had a baby girl in 2016. She said her little Zoe is the second miracle in her life.

In June 2016, Drs. Freedman and Atkins published the results of their successful clinical trial in The Lancet, a top medical journal. To date, more than 50 MS patients, like Heather, from all over Canada have undergone this treatment, which eliminated all signs of damaging active brain inflammation.

 

 

 

 

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, Heather Harris
Heather and daughter Zoe.

 

The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

Support from generous donors like you helps The Ottawa Hospital conduct research that is revolutionizing patients care.

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