Toronto Gala

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Toronto LIVERight Gala 2019

A Fundraiser in Support of Liver Research and Education

Join us on Friday November 15, 2019 at the Liberty Grand, and help us celebrate 50 years of bringing liver research to life for the benefit of Canadian children and youth affected by liver disease.

This year, the LIVERight Gala is a particularly special night as we are celebrating our 50th anniversary. Our forward-thinking founders established the CLF in 1969 as the first organization in the world dedicated to funding research and education into all forms of liver disease. 

Meet Maddy

Maddy CLF VolunteerMy name is Maddy and I am 17 years old. In 2016, I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) a liver disease where my own immune system attacks my liver. Up until that point, I appeared to be a perfectly normal teenager. Looking back however, I realize that I had been living with many symptoms of liver failure.

I had attributed many of my symptoms to being a teenager; fatigue, little to no appetite, a loss of interest in school/friends, and feeling moody or depressed. These were all serious indicators that something much more insidious was going on. They call liver disease the “silent killer” and I believe it since many noticeable physical symptoms did not occur until my liver was in big trouble.

Come meet Maddy at the Toronto LIVERight Gala and be inspired by her passion and optimism. Despite her serious liver disease, Maddy has found the strength she needs to overcome the complications that liver disease brings to her life by talking and encouraging people in her community. Buy tickets here.

Continue reading Maddy’s story here.

50 Anniversary Medal

The Canadian Liver Foundation would like to recognize and honour a number of special individuals for their dedication and kind-hearted generosity. With their support over the years, we have funded over $35 million in liver research.

Come and meet some of the ‘50th Anniversary Recognition Medal’ recipients at our LIVERight Gala in Toronto.

We will be celebrating James Bond style! Guests will dress to impress and break out the dancing shoes for this unforgettable evening featuring; reception, gourmet four-course meal, acoustic performance by rising Canadian superstar Eric Ethridge, silent auctions and of course, inspirational stories from liver disease survivors.

Casino Royal photo

Featuring Performance by Canadian superstar Eric Ethridge

Eric Ethridge wearing a white shirt and black capRising country singer with an undoubtedly unique path, this past year has seen him pivot from a profession as a doctor to full-time country artist. Canadian-raised, his extended play record (EP) hit number one on his country’s overall iTunes chart and was streamed over 3 million times in the first 6 weeks, with no promotion. Subsequently, the lead track earned a coveted spot on SiriusXM’s tastemaker program “On the Horizon” for 24 consecutive weeks.

Come meet Eric at the Gala, get your tickets here.

Liberty Grand: 25 British Columbia Rd, Toronto (Exhibition Place)
Doors open: 5:30 pm
Reception: 5:30-6:30 pm
Program starts at 7:00 pm

Tickets: $250 per person. Includes hors d’oeuvres, 3 course dinner, live auction, entertainment and more.
Table: $2,250 (10 tickets)

Every dollar advances liver research.

Alessandria standing at home

Teenager Maddy walking in the forest

A young boy holds up a fish he just caught

Selena at 4

Liver disease is a silent killer. Most people don’t know they have it until the liver is severely damaged. Liver disease affects men, women & children of all ages. For 50 years, the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) has demonstrated its commitment to Canadians by investing donor’s funds into education programs and services and providing hope for those suffering with liver disease by funding much-needed liver research.

For more information or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Karen Lyon by email or call (416) 491-3353.

2019 National Sponsors.

Silver

Speciality Rx Solutions logo

Bronze

Meet Maddy

Teenager Maddy walking in the forestMy name is Maddy and I am 17 years old. in 2016, I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis. Up until that point, I appeared to be a perfectly normal teenager. Looking back however, I realize that I had been living with many symptoms of liver failure.

I had attributed many of my symptoms to being a teenager; fatigue, little to no appetite, a loss of interest in school/friends, and feeling moody or depressed. These were all serious indicators that something much more insidious was going on. They call liver disease the “silent killer” and I believe it since many noticeable physical symptoms did not occur until my liver was in big trouble.

I have always been a low energy person. During childhood, I used to often ask my parents if it was time for a nap or bedtime. I was happy to sit and watch the goings on of my family and nobody thought twice about it. “Maddy is such a quiet girl,” I’d often hear.

With regards to my appetite, it became clear to my mother that much of what she was cooking for me was not being eaten. I had always had quite a healthy appetite…especially for the types of food that have a short shelf life such as yogurt, vegetables and fruit!

Next was the itchiness. I was very itchy, everywhere and frequently. Many had simply suggested that my skin was dry due to the winter, and to try some moisturizer.

Ultimately, if it hadn’t been for my transformation into a human banana, who knows how long it would have taken me for me to be brought to a hospital! The yellow tinge (jaundice) began in my eyes, and was first thought to be due to my recent switch to contact lenses. This was followed by comments from teachers and friends who noticed my “off” colour. One day while driving together, my mother noticed the corners of my eyes appearing yellowish. She made an appointment right away and my family doctor sent us for blood work immediately, believing that I might have contracted a type of hepatitis from some food or drink.

Our doctor had promised to call my mother as soon as possible with the results, but as luck would have it, he came down with a bad flu and was off for a couple of days. We tried to go on with life as normal over the weekend, relaxing at home and on Sunday, headed out to the mall for some shopping. My mother couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I was noticeably exhausted and complaining of feeling unwell. She decided to take me to the hospital the following day.

I received my first lab result at my hometown hospital. I remember the nurse who came in and told me that she was shocked I hadn’t been sent to the hospital sooner. This began my downward spiral and led me to my final diagnosis.

Overwhelmed by the multiple tests and rapidly declining health, my local hospital organized a quick transfer to SickKids. My family and I were very relieved. My mother insisted on bunking with me in my room every night, and my dad and sister stayed with me until every evening. My parents were incredibly worried and I felt like everything was out of control; it was a very scary time for us all!

The worst were the biopsies. I wasn’t in very much pain, although with all the needles, I felt like a human pincushion (this wasn’t exactly on my bucket list!). It had been close to a month since I was admitted into the hospital, and Christmas was only a few days away when I found out I would soon be sent me home. My family and I were ecstatic.

This next stage was tremendously difficult. I was taking a ton of medication, going for frequent blood tests and still feeling extremely lethargic, sleeping most of my days away. The side effects of some the meds were terrible. I seemed to struggle with either sleepless nights or vivid nightmares. I also felt the need to eat anything and everything day or night (I even stopped wearing my retainer to bed because I was scared I was going to eat it in my sleep!).

To this day, I continue to battle other side effects, such as hair loss, rashes, dry skin, unpredictable appetite, restlessness, and more. I live in the constant fear of developing osteoporosis, leukemia, cancer or of course, needing a liver transplant.

I will admit that life sucked! I was allowed back at school when I felt well enough. Little did I know that the school and teachers were all informed of my illness. It wasn’t long before kids started to look at me weird. After a while, I got into a routine, kept moving forward and did my best in school. Yes, I felt “different”. I never wanted to have sleepovers or go out with my friends—I was too tired and just found it more comfortable and less stressful to be at home with my family.

A year or so after being diagnosed, I began to feel more ownership over my illness. I even gave a speech in front of hundreds of women at a business awards evening, in which I also sang a couple songs and played guitar. My message to the crowd was to accept the things you cannot change, to be thankful for all that you have, and above all, to follow your dreams!

This is the same advice I would give to any child or teenager who is going through liver disease. Sometimes, a disease can make you feel different and alone. But, this experience will only make you stronger. I choose to see my illness in a positive light. Without it, I wouldn’t have experienced the countless opportunities to educate and inspire anyone inside or outside of my community, and of course, I wouldn’t have been able to raise the awareness of liver disease.

Please join me at the Toronto LIVERight Gala on November 15th. Please get your tickets here.

2018 LIVERight Gala Recap

Thank you for being part of the 2018 Toronto LIVERight Gala in support of children and youth living with liver disease! We hope you enjoyed the inspiring words of our Board Chairperson Dr. Sherman, and our honoured researcher  Dr. Kamath.

We are thrilled to announce that with your support we raised over $1 Million at our signature event across the country. Your generosity has helped lay the groundwork for new liver disease treatments to be discovered, and for our initiatives supporting anyone affected by liver disease to continue.

Because of your generosity, we are able to forge a new frontier of hope for children affected by liver disease. You have done your part in providing researchers with the funds they need to continue improving the lives of Canadians and bring us one step closer to the answers we need.

2018 Photo Gallery

2017 Photo Gallery

Meet our Special Guests

Alessandria standing at homeAlessandria was first diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) a disease that slowly breaks down the bile ducts of the liver, at two-years-old. Suffering from frequent tummy aches, sleeping for 12 to 13 hours a night, and napping for three hours a day, her parents took her frequently to the ER where she was eventually given her diagnosis. PSC is manageable, but will never go away.

“We were shocked to hear that for the rest of her life Alessandria would be taking medication,” remarks Natalie, Alessandria’s mother.

Now at age 10, Alessandria sees her hepatologist every three months where she undergoes blood work to check her liver enzyme numbers. Her parents continue to ensure she keeps on top of her countless medications and vitamins.

Alessandria’s parent’s worst fear is that one day soon she will need a liver transplant.

Still, it can be difficult for Alessandria and her family to interact with others who have little understanding of how this liver disease impacts their family.

“People will say she doesn’t look that sick so it can’t be that bad,” says Natalie, Alessandria’s mom. “Yet, they don’t know how she feels daily, the amount of medication she needs to take, or how many hospital visits she must endure.”

A young boy holds up a fish he just caught“It is amazing how quickly a life can change!” remarks Julie, Brock’s mother.

Brock Chessell was on the ice feeling fine, but just two days after hockey tryouts ended, the 10-year-old St. Mary’s resident was in the hospital with a liver cancer diagnosis. After a visit to their family doctor to check on Brock’s severe weight loss, he was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a type of liver cancer. Brock, also a pitcher and second baseman, plays triple-A for the U11 Ontario Expos. So you can see that Brock was a very active sports enthusiast! But from that day at their doctor’s office and for the next five months everything changed for Brock and his family – he couldn’t participate in sports; he missed school due to long and arduous chemo sessions. But Brock and his family stayed positive and knew a cure would be found before it was too late. Brock was placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant as the liver cancer specialist ruled out the possibility of receiving an organ donation from a living donor. On August 23rd Brock had a liver transplant. Brock is now considered cancer free and just finished the last round of chemotherapy in September. Brock’s determination and support from family and friends enabled him to be one of the first liver transplants patient to be released from hospital so quickly! “We will be forever grateful to the organ donor and his or her family for offering this incredible gift of life to Brock,” says Julie, “and we are so thankful to the Canadian Liver Foundation knowing that their focus on liver research is so strong and successful”.

Nathan was born November 15, 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario.

A mom holds her baby son and shows a long scar on her abdomenLike most babies, during the first few days after birth Nathan was quite jaundiced. He was routinely treated with photo-therapy and we were sent on our way.

During the first two weeks after photo-therapy, we noticed that he was becoming increasingly more jaundiced. At each trip to the family doctor, I expressed my concerns for his jaundice, often being reassured that the yellow presence after photo-therapy takes time to fade. By the third visit, we convinced the doctor to retest his bilirubin, which unfortunately had increased and he was diagnosed with biliary atresia.

At five weeks old, Nathan had a Kasai procedure. Over the next few months the Kasai partially worked, which was so helpful to allow Nathan to get a little bit bigger for transplant assessment.

In May of 2016, Nathan’s health dramatically declined and his liver began to fail. On June 15th, 2016, Nathan had a liver transplant at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto; his mom Alicia was his living donor. What a day that was!

Now, Nathan is a happy healthy 19 month old! He is so silly; he loves playing with his older brother Logan, and can easily keep up with other kids his age. You would never know that just one year ago, our healthy, happy boy was not so healthy” Alicia Nathan’s Mom.

Randy Bachman performed at the 2017 LIVERight Gala in Toronto.

Randy Bachman

Few artists can claim to have made a bigger impact on popular music than Randy Bachman, widely regarded as the “architect of Canadian rock ‘n’ roll.” His renowned songwriting acumen produced “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” “American Woman,” “Let it Ride, “Taking Care of Business,” “Looking Out for #1,” “No Sugar Tonight” and “These Eyes,” tracks that have become pop‐culture touchstones. His accomplishments haven’t gone unrecognized, of course. In addition to his induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, Bachman has the distinction of being the only one of his countrymen to be inducted twice into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, most recently alongside his fellow original Bachman‐Turner Overdrive members in 2014.