This year, our donors made many amazing things possible within the walls of the Kingston hospitals. Here are some of our favorites…
By accessing over $200,000 in funds raised by the annual Rose of Hope golf tournament, the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario is able to perform 12 additional breast reconstruction surgeries on qualifying patients this year. Rose of Hope organizers and other private donors will fund 20 additional breast reconstruction procedures over the next three years in an effort to pilot the new program to secure longer-term government funding for the procedure.
“There is good evidence that if we are able to offer breast reconstruction, it improves a patient’s general self-confidence and well-being,” says surgical oncologist Dr. Jay Engel. “As we increase the number of reconstruction surgeries offered in Kingston, we will be able to help more women return to their normal life quicker than before.”
Thanks to a combination of government funding, support from Volunteer Services to Hotel Dieu Hospital and other community donations, the Bariatric Centre of Excellence at Hotel Dieu Hospital can now provide gastric bypass surgery. Up until this point,
patients were assessed and received follow-up care at Hotel Dieu Hospital but had to travel to Ottawa or Toronto for their surgery.
“This is life-changing, and it’s desperately needed in this region,” says Dr. John Drover, Medical Coordinator of the Bariatric Centre of Excellence, “Obesity in this area is higher than the provincial average, and this procedure means patients can get control of their health.”
Since the announcement from the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, we’ve been asked by many of our donors…
What exactly is a planning grant, and what does it mean for KGH?
A $2.5 million grant will be used to develop a Functional Program Submission (a “planning grant”) for major hospital redevelopment projects proposed for KGH.
Many of you already know that KGH’s leadership team has identified several major capital projects – known collectively as our “Phase II projects” – to be completed in the coming years. The list includes clinical diagnostic laboratories, operating suites, emergency department facilities, birthing suites and the Neonatal Intensive Care unit at KGH.
With this Ministry announcement, KGH will now be in a position to begin developing a functional program submission for all of these areas.
A functional program submission defines the clinical programs and services being proposed, associated workload, staffing, equipment and space requirements. It describes departmental and service relationships and locations, and describes architectural and environmental conditions. It forms the basis for and an estimate of the operating and capital funding requirements necessary to carry out the project.
The development of this submission is a crucial milestone for KGH to pass in seeking Ministry approval and funding for these major building projects.
We are thrilled to have the Ministry’s support for this critical next step toward redeveloping facilities at KGH. Our MPP Sophie Kiwala played a particularly important role in advocating a planning grant for the Phase II projects with the Ministry. We are grateful for her leadership and her ongoing, compassionate concern for the well-being of patients from across our region.
The Boards of Directors of Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) have announced plans to integrate into one academic health sciences centre. Legal and operational work will begin immediately, with an expectation the new centre will be launched in April 2017. The centre will be overseen by one Board and one executive team. Dr. David Pichora will become the first Chief Executive Officer of the new organization.
This important decision was made as a way to provide even more streamlined care for patients and their families. It is a decision that was reached by both hospitals after consultation with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as well as the Roman Catholic sponsors of HDH, Catholic Health International (CHI). CHI’s support and agreement in principle from Kingston Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, enabled a clear consensus to move forward with the integration.
A comprehensive engagement plan is being created by the hospital partners. The operating agreement will be structured so the new patient-centred centre will reflect the unique cultures of both hospitals, including the Catholic tradition at Hotel Dieu.
This voluntary and innovative partnership will build on the collective strength of our acute care hospitals, and strengthens the partnerships between our hospitals over the past several years.
The University Hospitals Kingston Foundation will continue to serve our donor community by ensuring that designated gifts are stewarded and granted to our hospitals in keeping with our donors’ wishes, as has been the practice since the joint foundation was established in 2004.
Meet Aleighia: at only seven years old, she already embodies the caring, giving mentality of the Kingston community and shows that it is never too early to return kindness.
Earlier this year, Aleighia was visiting KGH with her father, Peter, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. During one particular visit, the thermometer used to take Peter’s temperature wasn’t working properly. When Aleighia asked why the nurse couldn’t buy a new one, she was told that healthcare equipment was often very expensive, and that the hospital relies on donations to purchase it.
Aleighia decided from that point on that for her 7th birthday in February, she would collect donations instead of birthday gifts. Between the birthday party and some additional fundraising of her own, Aleighia raised $600 to benefit the Cancer Centre. She even made her own cheque for the presentation, decorated with unicorns and purple zebra print. “Her life is sunshine and rainbows,” her mom Krista proudly stated, looking at her daughter affectionately.
Aleighia waited until her father’s physician, Dr. Christopher Booth, returned from an absence so that he could be present when she made her donation. It was revealed that this was not Aleighia’s first time giving back to the hospital and its staff: on the anniversary of her father’s first day of treatment, she brought cupcakes in for the staff members to enjoy.
Peter’s diagnosis has been hard on the family, but it is clear that this experience has made them stronger as a unit. “Nobody enjoys being here. So you have to make it fun,” said Krista.
If you are inspired by Aleighia’s story of selfless giving and want to contribute to the exceptional care at Kingston’s hospitals, please visit http://give.uhkf.ca to donate.
If you were to guess how your doctor spends their spare time, farming isn’t likely to be an activity that comes to mind. But for Kingston General Hospital (KGH) neurosurgeon D.J. Cook, the farmer’s lifestyle is what he’s known his whole life.
“I grew up on a beef farm in Lindsay,” says D.J., “I farmed with my family until I went to medical school and the farm had to be sold. My father and mother both balanced professional jobs with farming, that’s why I’m used to this lifestyle.”
After completing his residency at the University of Toronto and a fellowship at Stanford, D.J. and his wife were drawn to the exceptional academic environment at KGH and Queen’s, and the agricultural community surrounding Kingston.
“Kingston offered a world-class research opportunity in a city where I could farm and be within driving distance to the hospital,” explained D.J. “This is unique amongst all of the academic hospitals we looked at. Almost every other location is in a densely populated, urban area.”
While the farm was originally started to provide for their family, D.J. and wife Rebecca noticed an opportunity to grow into a business. While Kingston has many excellent local fruit and vegetable producers, there are limited artisanal meat producers nearby.
“We raise Wagyu and Black Angus cattle,” says D.J. “This spring we will have Tamworth and Berkshire pork available for the first time and we have chickens, turkeys and ducks year round. We focus on heritage breeds and top genetics, and raise our animals using natural, traditional and ethical techniques to optimize the end product.”
The key to balancing neurosurgery with farming? A bevvy of extraordinary people working alongside you.
“I am fortunate to work with excellent people in my clinical and research roles at KGH and Queen’s,” says D.J., “and I have exceptional people working with me on the farm, including my supportive and resourceful wife, Rebecca, and three energetic children.”
D.J. has found a way to fuse his two passions into a fundraising series in support of the operating room redevelopment at KGH, which will provide the community with access to minimally invasive neurosurgical, vascular and orthopaedic procedures. He has teamed up with Epicurious Catering to host an interactive series of Supper Clubs at their new venue, Juniper Café, located in the Tett Centre. The dinners will feature foods grown at Cook’s Otter Creek Farm, other local farms, and wines from local producers.
For more information on this unique Supper Club Series, visit https://give.uhkf.ca/supperclub.
Commitment, dedication and focus – those are three qualities needed for success in AAA rep hockey. For three area youth, they are also what it takes to face off against a formidable opponent: cancer.
Jake McLellan, Lane Morency and Grayson Ebrahim have a lot in common. Not only have they played representative hockey together for the past five years, but the teammates on Greater Kingston Junior Frontenacs minor peewee team all have family members who are involved in the fight against cancer. For the past year-and-a-half, the boys have been growing their hair so that they can donate their locks for wigs for people fighting cancer while raising funds for the fight against the disease.
On January 29, the boys will be on the concourse at the Kingston Frontenacs game at the K-Rock Centre, where they will collect donations in support of the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario prior to having their long locks cut.
Eleven-year-old Jake’s Grandpa and Poppa are both currently battling cancer. “I thought it was a good idea,” the well-spoken centreman says of his hair-growing effort, which began in early 2014.
Lane’s Nana is fighting lung cancer and he’s pleased he can do something to help others just like her. While he ponders what his hair may look like on someone else, the 11-year-old Seeley’s Bay area youth admits he’s ready to get it cut.
So too is 12-year-old Grayson Ebrahim, who began growing his hair when his aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Between them, they have over 30-inches of hair that will be donated through Pantene Canada to be made into wigs. With the “growing” pains almost complete, the three hockey players are now focused on raising funds in support of cancer care.
They may also be looking forward to fewer double-takes when they use public washrooms, although their long locks have resulted in lots of laughs over the last year. Jake shares one story: “A few weeks ago, we were out for a nice dinner in Toronto with a few friends. I went to the washroom and was washing my hands when a nice man comes in and says, ‘Ooh, wrong room!’ and then he went right into the ladies’ room!”
All three admit they have received looks from the opposing teams during warm-up for their games, as well. While Jake plays centre, Lane’s a left winger and Grayson is a right winger, they don’t play on the same line together.
Jake borrows from the lessons he’s learned from sport when asked if he has a message for those who are fighting cancer. “Try to have a winning attitude, a courageous attitude,” he says.
You can donate in support of the trio’s efforts in-person during the Frontenacs game January 29, or you can support them by calling UHKF at 613 549-5452 or by making a gift online at http://uhkf.kintera.org/JrFronts.
Did they get it all? Those words weigh on the minds of people who have had surgical procedures to remove cancer.
Thanks to an innovative new surgical technique pioneered by Queen’s University in concert with Hotel Dieu Hospital and Kingston General Hospital, surgeons are better able to navigate the fine line between cancerous and normal tissues. This not only translates into fewer patients needing a second surgery before other treatment (chemotherapy or radiation) can begin, but it also means that surgeons are able to conserve as much of the woman’s breast tissue as possible.
Innovative care provided by extraordinary people is resulting in better quality of life for our communities.
Hear Dr. Jay Engel talk about the new procedure in a presentation sponsored by the Hotel Dieu Hospital Research Institute on December 8, 2015.
While our clinical experts carry out leading-edge care every day, sometimes they need some extra funding to support the studies that they are undertaking for advances such this. That’s where we all have an opportunity to play a role, whether it is through joining a group such as UHKF’s Women’s Giving Circle or making a donation in support of research.
Click here to watch: Mapping the future of breast cancer surgery
Under normal circumstances, giving birth to twin girls on December 24 would be the perfect early Christmas gift for first-time parents. But Callie and Cayden Reid were born prematurely at 27 weeks. They spent their first four months fighting for their precious little lives in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kingston General Hospital (KGH).
On December 24, 2014, Stephanie Montroy was preparing for the holidays and shopping for some last-minute Christmas baking supplies. She was 27 weeks pregnant, and had seen her doctor the day before.
“I was experiencing a lot of cramping,” she said, her doctor reassured her it was “just pregnancy.”
But Stephanie knew that something wasn’t right. She followed her intuition and some advice from her mother and called KGH, and was advised to make her way to the hospital for an exam.
That burst was Stephanie’s water breaking, 17 weeks ahead of schedule. “I don’t even think it dawned on me that I was going to be in NICU,” said Steph, “I was just thinking about being a mom.”
Stephanie was immediately given medication to try and postpone the delivery as long as possible, but her baby girls, Cayden and Callie, were born on Christmas Eve, Cayden weighing 1lb. 8oz. and Callie at 2lb. 1oz.
“Their hands looked just like adult hands, scaled down,” said Stephanie’s partner, Joe Reid. “They had wrinkles on their knuckles and everything, but the whole thing was the size of a thumbnail.”
After a few precious moments with their mother in the delivery room, Cayden and Callie were whisked to the NICU where they were hooked up to special live-giving technology to help them breathe and to measure their vital signs. For new parents, the sights and sounds of the NICU are stressful.
“When you’ve got a pound and a half baby that looks like it’s living off a computer, and then that computer starts to siren, you immediately think your baby is dying,” explained Joe. “It’s scary at first, but what we learned after a week or two is that it’s normal.”
Lungs are the last organ to develop in newborns, which means that Callie and Cayden needed the assistance of ventilators to help them breathe. They are particularly noisy pieces of equipment but provide the specialized breathing assistance that these babies need while their lungs develop.
“One parent told me how soothing they felt the sound of the ventilator was,” said Dr. Robert Connelly, Medical Director of Pediatrics at KGH, “When they walked into the nursery and heard the ventilator, they knew their baby was always better.”
“After you’ve been there for so long you hear things like ‘Callie is intubated again’ and you realize it’s probably for the best so she can be more relaxed,” explained Stephanie, “but at first, I was in tears thinking about how she is struggling.” Stephanie and Joe grew accustomed to life in the NICU. After a few weeks, their daughters’ had stabilized to a point where the new parents could participate in their care.
Kingston is home to one of only eight NICU departments in the province of Ontario that is outfitted with the equipment that Cayden and Callie needed to survive. Stephanie and Joe, who live in Napanee, were able to visit their children at the hospital every day for six months— something might not have been possible had they needed to travel far from home.
“Imagine the trauma of having not only an unanticipated unwell infant but then to be told that they are going to Ottawa or Toronto to be cared for,” said Dr. Connelly.“ Because we have this ability with some very important pieces of equipment, we can keep those families in our community.”
Government funding alone cannot supply all the equipment needed, so the NICU also depends on the generosity of community donors to fund lifesaving equipment.
“[Donations] buy lifesaving equipment that keeps up with growing technology improvements,” said Stephanie. “And without that equipment, our babies may not have survived.”