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, with a focus on children with liver disease.
Our last Gala that took place in November 2019 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 2020. 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.
Currently, all in person gala events have been postponed due to COVID. For further questions about past and future Galas, please contact Monica Chui by email or phone at (604) 707-6434 or 1 (800) 856-7266.
Title Sponsor Elite Sponsor Presenting Sponsor
National Sliver Sponsor
National Bronze Sponsor
Regional Silver Sponsors
Regional Bronze Sponsors
Official Airline Sponsor
Marketing Sponsor Video Sponsor Table Decor Sponsor
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.