Vancouver LIVERight Gala
A Fundraiser in Support of Liver Research and Education.
If your odds of winning the lottery were 1 in 4, you would rush to buy a ticket. But what if those same odds represented your chance of developing a serious liver disease? Suddenly, ‘beating the odds’ becomes a matter of life and death. 1 in 4 are the odds facing an estimated eight million Canadians from infants to seniors. But with your help, we can change them.
The LIVERight Gala is an annual signature event that raises funds for liver research and education. The commemorative theme continue to focus on our accomplishments that are made possible by the contributions from the Philanthropic Sector, Medical Professionals and Patients/Volunteers.
Our last Gala that took place in November 2021 remarked another successful event! Together, we helped raise funds dedicated towards funding life saving research projects and funding the delivery of supporting and education programs throughout 2021 and 2022. We rely on the help and generosity of caring individuals, community-minded corporations and foundations to assist in our mission to raise funds and awareness to positively affect the lives of those who are touched by liver disease.
2022 LIVERight Gala Information
Dr. Francis Ho Medical Honoree
The Pathology Teams of BC
As pathologists who seldom have face to face interactions with patients, they are often regarded as unsung heroes in the medical world. As the specialists other doctors turn to when they need answers about the nature of a disease as well as its likely outcome, which in turn guides treatment.
Not a single cancer diagnosis is made without their input. Although the family doctor may identify a symptom of concern, and the surgeon may remove the abnormal tissue, it is them who confirms whether it is benign or malignant.
Pathologists’ remarkable work in supporting liver patients, dedication in ensuring medical care and service, and creating positive impact on liver disease patients is admirable.
Departmental Sergeant Major, Ian Parks of the Abbotsford Police Department, is currently a Detective in the Major Crime Unit and has been a police officer for over 22 years.
Ian has congenital hepatic fibrosis, a rare liver disease that is present at birth and affects the liver. At some point in his life, Ian will need a liver transplant – and ironically, Ian’s stepfather was a liver transplant recipient, not only once but twice! Ian believes that his health is not going to define him because as debilitating as it can be, Ian tries not to let his liver condition stop him from achieving his life plans and goals.
He looks after himself, and especially, takes good care of his liver. With zero alcohol in the past two years and reducing his weight to a healthy range, Ian is living life to his fullest, continues to solve crimes, coach his kids football team, and giving back to the community.
Thank you Sponsors
The Canadian Liver Foundation acknowledges our sponsors for their support of the CLF’s mission of “bringing liver research to life” to benefit the liver health for all Canadians through research, education, patient support and advocacy.
Official Airline Sponsor
Dr. Francis Ho was our beloved and faithful Board President of the BC/Yukon Chapter of the Canadian Liver Foundation. Throughout his life and as a family physician for over fifty years, he was incredibly dedicated to making a positive impact on his community.
He tirelessly spent much of his time over the past several decades serving others, volunteering his skillsets and leadership with various health, community and religious organizations including the: Children’s Variety Club, Parish Council of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Parish, Kung Kuo Foundation, Vancouver Medical Association, Ho’s Benevolence Association, and the Vancouver General Hospital Fundraising Committee.
From the year 2014 until his passing, he served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Liver Foundation BC/Yukon Chapter. During this time, he also had the vision, founded and served as the Co-chair for our Hep Beware Project a free hepatitis B screening program targeted at the Asian communities. Through his leadership we were able to bring the much-needed awareness to liver diseases and the impact they can have on Canadians.
Dr. Francis Ho was a true educator, sharing his medical expertise for almost two decades on television, radio and our annual LIVERight Health Forum. He not only taught but engaged his audience allowing for lengthy question and answer periods. He wanted his teachings to have a positive effect and transform people’s lives.
Dr. Francis Ho was both as charismatic as he was influential. He was loved by many. We recall countless times at our events when people clamoured for his attention so that they can take photographs with him; it was like meeting a celebrity to them. He had the uncanny ability to connect with people and encouraged them to volunteer, to donate, and most importantly, to take better care of themselves. Much of our fundraising can be attributed to him, as our region raised over $4 million dollars since he joined in 2014 to fund liver research and support educational initiatives.
We have the distinct privilege and honour to have served under the leadership of Dr. Francis Ho. During our meetings and events, he shared his valuable experiences, insights, and wealth of knowledge. He demonstrated for us all a lofty example to follow, starting with the passion to serve others and a heart for change. We wish to express our utmost gratitude to him, by continuing the work with the Canadian Liver Foundation that he was unwaveringly committed to, bringing liver research to life.
Dr. Francis Ho will truly be missed by all of us.
My journey began back in January 2016. I had turned 40, life was happy. My youngest son was three years old, and I had begun a new career as a Recreation Coordinator for an assisted living community. After experiencing pain along my sternum, my doctor sent me for a series of tests. I really believed I was looking at having my gall bladder removed. This was not the case. I was shocked to hear I had an auto-immune disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) along with ulcerative colitis.
At the end of August 2019, I learned there was a mass in my liver, the prognosis was not good, and I was possibly no longer eligible for a transplant. Although this news was devastating, I refused to let it break my spirit. I was ready for the fight of my life.
I got the call on November 9, 2019, of a possible match. As I was prepped for surgery, Dr. Sudamore told me if I woke up in post-op, I would know the transplant was unable to be performed due to the cancer. However, if I woke up in ICU, I would know they had performed the transplant. I woke up in ICU and the transplant was a success.
Throughout this journey I have developed a close relationship with the Canadian Liver Foundation. I have been able to connect with people who are waiting for a transplant, those living with and fighting cholangiocarcinoma, people who are post–transplant and recovering. I feel so very honoured to be allowed into the journey of others, supporting them as I have been supported.
I have met so many amazing people and grown as a person in so many ways. Although my life may be shorter, I see it through a new lense. Every day is a gift; it is to be treasured and lived to the fullest.My
Rapid weight loss, extreme fatigue and severe swelling due to fluid buildup in the abdomen and legs were just some of the symptoms that Grand Chief Stewart Phillip experienced. It was not until after numerous clinic and hospital visits, blood tests, ultrasounds and CT scans that he was finally presented with what he thought was a ‘death sentence’ – liver cancer. He had not only one, but three tumors on his liver and each was about the size of a golf ball. The only option he had was a liver transplant.
Grand Chief Phillip faced dark prospects, knowing very well that there were far more people who needed a liver transplant than there were liver donors, and that many patients died while waiting for a matching liver.
A late-night phone call from the hospital brought a glimmer of hope when the Grand Chief was informed that there was a matching liver available for him. He couldn’t believe it when he was told, “A Med Jet will be on its way to pick you up”
When the Med Jet arrived at Penticton to pick up Grand Chief Phillip, his family members gathered around, gave him hugs and sent him best wishes. His mother locked her arms around his neck and would not let go. “Is this the last time I’ll see my mother and my family?” he wondered. He looked around before he boarded the Med Jet with a few other patients. Anxiety filled the atmosphere as the ride was silent without a single word to be said.
He laid down on the surgical bed thinking those might be the last moments of his life. Yet…
“What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it young again”
“I still have so many things I need to do in life, I want to grow old with my wife; my kids are just teenagers, I want to have grandchildren….”
Thanks to advancements in medical research and treatment, his transplant was a success.
23 years post-transplant, Grand Chief Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs for 21 years and a long-standing member of the Penticton Indian Band for over 24 years, of which he was also an elected Chief and Councillor, continues to play an active leadership role in aboriginal communities, defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples. He is enjoying his 30th year of sobriety, living his second chance at life to the fullest with his wife of 33 years, Joan, his three sons, two daughters and 15 grandchildren.
Grand Chief Phillip’s story inspires other patients who are going through the same journey of pain, fear, and hope. He is a true testament to how love, courage, perseverance and gratitude, along with advanced medical treatments can overcome the challenges that liver disease brings.
Drs. Thomas Randall (retired), Terry Waters and Jacqueline Trudeau are anesthesiologists with a special interest in liver transplantation. They assess the patients prior to the procedure with the intention to optimizing them for this major operation. They then manage the patients through the intraoperative period which involves sophisticated monitoring, care of vital organ systems, and transfusion support that can last anywhere from 6-10 hours.
After obtaining a medical degree together at UBC, Dr. Thomas Randall and Dr. Terry Waters went to New Zealand and Australia for a rotating internship from 1976-78. They also travelled across Asia together. Dr. Randall stayed in the United Kingdom for about a year doing medical and emergency locums in several hospitals. Upon returning to Canada and a short practice as a family physician, Dr. Randall started a General Surgery Fellowship, but shortly after he transferred to anesthesiology obtaining his fellowship. This was followed by several anesthetic locums around the province and he returned on staff at VGH in 1986. In 1987 Dr. Randall became involved in both the retrieval committee and liver transplant committee to prepare for the actual commencement of solid organ transplants such as liver, lung, heart and heart-lung.
The first liver transplant in BC was performed in 1989. Dr. Thomas Randall and Dr. Terry Waters administered the anesthetic. In preparing for this major operation, Dr. Randall visited UCLA and Pittsburgh for 2-3 weeks each to observe their liver transplant programs, followed by conferences including one in Pittsburgh. Dr. Randall also administered the anesthetic for the first heart and heart-lung transplants in BC. Over the 30 years, Dr. Randall was probably involved with over 300 liver transplants. He was nominated for the Clinical Excellence Award at VGH in 2001 and 2002. From 2009-2012 he served as the Medical Director of Perioperative Services for VGH and UBC Hospitals. An avid traveler prior to getting married having visited almost 100 countries, Dr. Randall found himself providing anesthetic services for the Canadian Military in Kandahar Afghanistan in 2008. With retirement beckoning in March of 2018 he now spends his time supporting his wife’s work and shepherding his 7-year-old daughter.
Dr. Terry Waters grew up in North Vancouver, and then attended UBC obtaining a BSc in 1973 and MD in 1976. After working and travelling overseas he entered UBC anesthesia residency finishing in 1984. His interests involve liver transplantation and perioperative blood management; he has been involved with the liver transplant program since its inception. Dr Waters started the Periperative Blood Management Program, the only such program in BC, where patients are optimized prior to elective surgery to reduce the need for blood products. He also was the first to bring ROTEM to VGH. ROTEM is a test of blood coagulation, and since being available it has changed transfusion practice in cardiac surgery, transplantation and trauma resulting in better management of coagulation problems while using fewer blood products. Dr. Waters is also a keen cyclist, a trumpet player and has a small vineyard in the Okanagan.
Dr. Jacqueline Trudeau is an anesthesiologist at VGH. She has been part of the liver transplant team since 2015 and has recently become the head of the division of hepatobiliary and liver transplant anesthesia. After growing up in Winnipeg, Dr. Trudeau moved to Vancouver to complete a PhD in cellular immunology at SFU and BC Children’s Hospital. There she studied the immune system and its response following pancreatic islet cell transplantation. She subsequently completed medical school and anesthesiology training at UBC, during which time she developed a keen interest in transfusion medicine, and the effect of blood transfusions on patient outcomes. Following fellowship training in transfusion medicine, she continues to pursue quality improvement work and research in the area of transfusion and liver transplantation. She very much enjoys working as part of a large and very talented multi-disciplinary team. Her goal is to continue to improve the care that is provided when patients come to the operating room for a transplant.
Don’t miss the opportunity to meet these eminent specialists at the Gala, get your tickets here.
Drs. Nilu Partovi and Trana Hussaini are clinical pharmacotherapy specialists in liver transplantation. As medication experts, they are vital members of the transplant team, working closely with physicians to ensure the most efficacious and the safest medications are prescribed for each individual patient. In addition to patient care, Dr. Partovi and Dr. Hussaini are involved in clinical research and academic teaching at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Partovi has been a part of the transplant program in BC since its inception in 1990. She is a clinical professor and clinical coordinator at Vancouver General Hospital who has mentored many clinical pharmacists. Dr. Partovi completed her undergraduate degree at University of British Columbia and her Doctor of Pharmacy from Medical University of South Carolina with specialization in transplant and immunology. She received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the B.C. Chapter of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, and 2016 Above and Beyond: Lifetime Achievement Award from Fraser Health.
Dr. Hussaini completed her undergraduate degree in pharmacy at the University of British Columbia in 2001 followed by a Hospital Pharmacy Residency program at Vancouver General Hospital. In 2010, she earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Washington. She has worked as a clinical pharmacy specialist in the areas of critical care, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplantation and Solid Organ Transplantation. Dr. Hussaini joined the Liver Transplant Pharmacy program in 2012. Her areas of expertise and research interests include hepatitis B and Hepatitis C therapy and immunosuppressive pharmacotherapy. She is a dedicated clinician and a passionate advocate for her patients.
In 2008, Gurdeep Stephens was thirty-five and utterly devastated to learn that her father Arran was going to die. That is, unless he got a liver transplant. This news was such a shock to the family, knowing how Arran had lived so cleanly, eschewing drugs and alcohol since he was twenty years old. Living far away in Florence with her husband Pascal and two young daughters, Gurdeep panicked and immediately got her blood type taken, finding out she was a perfect match. Pascal also got tested but wasn’t the right blood type. From that point on, Gurdeep harboured an unshakable premonition that she would be the one to donate her liver to her father. Not wanting to put their daughter – and granddaughters – at risk, Arran and her mother Ratana refused to consider her selfless offer. Gurdeep’s grandmother had died decades earlier due to complications of the same liver disorder alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency. With Arran sick but relatively stable in 2009, Gurdeep and her family moved back to Canada in order to be closer to her parents; Pascal, a prominent Economist, accepted a Professorship at the University of Victoria. Gurdeep is a trained singer, a writer, and Director of Special Projects at the Stephens’ family business Nature’s Path Foods Inc. Over the following months, Arran’s health deteriorated to dangerously-precarious and still no cadaver liver presented. The family agonized over each frequent hospital visit to save Arran from the latest threatening infection or crippling ascites build-up. Doggedly determined, Gurdeep signed up as a donor with BC Transplant and continued to pressure her parents to accept her offer. Just as determined, they continued to refuse. As Arran’s health went from worse to catastrophic, this argument continued until early 2011, when Father and Daughter simultaneously underwent each a long, complicated surgery. Gurdeep’s younger daughter was just 4 years old at the time. Notwithstanding, Gurdeep volunteered to lay down her own life, put herself in jeopardy and suffer willingly for the chance to give her father another opportunity at life.
The support of Gurdeep’s husband Pascal and the extended family made this harrowing sacrifice possible. Both father and daughter endured complications which eventually got sorted out. Overwhelmed with thankfulness for this modern medical miracle, Gurdeep and Arran co-wrote a manuscript, “De-liver Me” as a testament to their ultimately successful but challenging journey, hoping to inspire others. They have contributed generously to the hospitals in appreciation of the care given by heroic doctors and nurses. Arran has a joyful new lease on life and Gurdeep continues to sing and has since written and published two award-winning books. Eight years post transplant, gratitude infuses their lives, love surrounds them as their large, tightly-knit family continues their mission to leave the Earth better than they found it.