Spirit of Giving

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Friends Asking Friends – Together We Can Make A Difference.

IMG_0056We spent many days and many hours in the IWK Health Centre’s NICU, surrounded by an incredible team of nurses, doctors, social workers, etc.  We were included on our girl’s daily rounds, we were taught how to show our love to babies that were in incubators, on ventilators, with oxygen probes, feeding tubes, IV’s, and heart rate monitors.  We were taught how to change diapers on such tiny little bums.  We experienced one of the most precious moments of a parent’s life in the NICU…kangaroo care.

We spent 124 days at the IWK, the first two weeks I was on strict bed rest, the next month felt like a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.  We prayed every day that someday we could take our girls home…Someday never came…on our 124th day, we left the hospital with only one baby carrier.

IMG_9388We left the IWK feeling incredibly empty.  Lost.  Broken-hearted.  But at the same time, we felt gratitude.  Love. Thankful.  Our loss will never be forgotten, just as the support and care we received during a most difficult time will never be forgotten.

The IWK 5K – In Memory of Jessica, which takes place on Telethon Sunday every year, was created to commemorate our daughter and at the same time show our gratitude for the care we received for our girls at the IWK and also the support to myself and my husband after our daughter passed away.  In 5 years we raised over $95,000, with every year growing exponentially.  This money was raised several different ways, but the easiest and most significant way was through the IWK’s online fundraising tool – Friends Asking Friends.

IMG_9502Friends Asking Friends allows you to create your own personal fundraising page for the IWK Telethon for Children. By creating a personal page with our story and pictures through this free site, I was able to share my fundraising goals on social media and email it to friends and family from away who were unable to participate at the event. The more personal your page is, the more you will touch people’s hearts which ultimately helps raise vital dollars to ensure maritime families receive world class specialized care.  Please help support this year’s IWK Telethon for Children and create your own personal fundraising page through the Friends Asking Friends website.  You will be surprised how easy it is, and how quickly your goals will be reached!

For more information on the IWK 5K – In Memory of Jessica please visit their Facebook page or contact Jenn Manuel at iwk5kinmemoryofjessica@gmail.com

Click here for details on how to create your own personal fundraising page for the IWK Foundation. 

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An incredible day with an incredible family.

Since 1996, CTV Atlantic has proudly broadcast the IWK Telethon for Children and helped raised millions of dollars for the IWK Health Centre. Rachel Bower shares her experience of filming one of the remarkable stories that will be featured on this year’s Telethon broadcast. 

Steve&JoshMy role in the IWK Telethon for Children is story producer. It is a role I am fortunate to have as I get to meet many incredible children and their families.

Recently, CTV production camera operator, Steve Townsend and I travelled to Southern Nova Scotia to meet Joshua Cochrane and his mom Anne and sisters Chaya and Kate.

Josh is diagnosed with autism, Kawasaki disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and teeth malformation.

LightinglessonFrom the moment Josh and Steve met, they were inseparable. Josh was interested in how camera and lights worked, and Steve was happy to share his knowledge with his new friend.

Josh watches everything and quickly began to copy Steve.

After seeing how Steve set up the lights for his mom’s interview Josh set up the lights for his own interview. He helped Steve pick out beautiful scenic shots. When Steve, who is a master of lighting with found objects, was setting up for an interview Josh was right beside him asking him what he was doing.  At the end of the shoot, to Steve’s delight, Josh helped put the gear back into the CTV Production Truck. HelpinginTruck2

It was a pleasure to witness how well Josh and Steve interacted on this shoot.

To find out more about Joshua’s story tune into the 30th Annual IWK Telethon for Children broadcast live on CTV May 31 & June 1.

Make a gift to the IWK Telethon for Children.

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It’s Not Goodbye – A Summer Well Spent!

This summer, the IWK Health Centre Foundation was lucky enough to have Kristin Wilton come on board as an intern for a few months. We are so lucky she came to work with us. We cannot thank Kristin enough for all of her hard work, dedication and incredible positive attitude.  Below is Kristin’s final blog on her time with the IWK Foundation – we’re glad to know she found it to be such a rewarding experience. Thank you for everything, Kristin!

After working with the team at the IWK Foundation over the past 16 weeks, I can honestly say this organization changed me as a whole. It changed my outlook on life and has certainly reassured me of my career choice to become a Public Relations practitioner. Being involved with the public, caregivers, patients, families and events really made me feel like I was doing PR. I’ve learned that a lot of things in the world of PR can be mastered by practice. The three words “practice makes perfect” helped me in so many ways, especially with my writing. The more you write, the more you learn, the better you will get.

My experience here at the Foundation has been incredible. One experience that had a major impact on me happened on my third day of work. My supervisor informed me that I would be attending a big announcement at the Health Centre. I didn’t think much of it until I arrived at the Health Centre and met these two twin little girls – Kendra and Kinsey, who were very premature or “micro-premie” babies born at 27 weeks. A normal pregnancy is 40 weeks so being this early resulted in them spending most of their stay in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) on life support.As I followed a group of people down to a boardroom, hand in hand with Kendra, I sat in and watched the video of their life at the IWK. They were born at 1.8 lbs, each of them had five blood transfusions, one twin had 12 surgeries and the other had 13 and one of the girls had to have an emergency eye surgery. They spent nearly five months at the IWK experiencing liver failure and kidney failure.

As I was watching this video, I’m sitting there saying to myself “Kristin, keep it together. It’s your third day on the job. Do. Not. Cry.” But I couldn’t help it – I was completely filled up. My supervisor reassured me that each and every one of us that work in this organization has a moment like this.

After the video was over, we walked to the Gallery for the announcement – the IWK was receiving a donation of $1 million from Kent and Irving Shipbuilding. This donation will support a state-of-the-art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as ground-breaking research in the treatment of childhood blood disorders and leukemia.

Following the announcement, five-year-old Kendra and Kinsey stood up on the podium and thanked Kent and Irving Shipbuilding for their donation as it will go towards helping children like them.

Today, Kendra and Kinsey are two thriving five-year-olds, and despite continuing health issues and regular visits to the IWK, they will grow up to live normal lives. I don’t think this would be possible without the remarkable caregivers at the IWK who helped this family get through this tough time.

It was the most touching thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life. It was events like this over the past 16 weeks that made me confident that the career path I’ve chosen is a perfect fit for me. Thanks to the IWK Foundation, working with this not-for-profit organization has opened my eyes and helped me discover my passion. It proved my passion for working with people, my love for children and my drive to help raise money for children and the world-class specialized care facility we all call the IWK Health Centre. 


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These Hands.

June 1st and 2nd was one for the record books! Spirits were soaring as once again, generous Maritimers stepped up for the IWK and declared it as a special place and an absolute priority for families. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, we were able to raise $5,877,139.53 during our 29th Annual IWK Telethon for Children on CTV!

To add to the merriment, on Saturday evening we debuted “These Hands” – a very special video created in collaboration with Canadian Folk/Celtic singer-songwriter, Dave Gunning.  Direced by Scott Simpson of Playmaker Films, this video showcases the incredible strength and community inside the IWK Health Centre.

We are proud to announce that “These Hands”, co-written by Gunning and George Canyon, is the East Coast Music Awards 2013 Song of the Year! The song accompanies a children’s book by the same name, which teaches us that every person has the ability to be a hero of the human kind.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book supports the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

Thank you Dave Gunning for your incredible support and commitment to improving the lives of Maritime families who rely on the care of the IWK.

“I was excited to be involved with this project because of the great work that’s done by both the staff at the hospital and the Foundation,” says Gunning. “I’m very proud to have the song being used for such a great purpose.” 

Hope you enjoy the video, please feel free to share it!

Make a gift
to the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

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Volunteering is a part of who I am.

Volunteers strengthen our communities and donate their time, talent and energy to improving the lives of those around them. April 21- 27 is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize individuals who are making a contribution to their community. Dorothy Miller, of Saint John, New Brunswick, shares why she volunteers with the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

Dorothy & Lee at the IWK Radiothon in Saint John

Dorothy & Lee at the IWK Radiothon in Saint John

Volunteering is a part of who I am. Finding a way to give back to my community has always been important to me.  Over the years I have given back to various events and organizations that hold a special place in my heart such as the IWK Health Centre.

Why the IWK you may ask? Although I do not have a personal connection to the Health Centre there are many individuals in my life who have benefitted from its services. We all know of someone whose life has been touched by the outstanding care that the hospital provides. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to get involved with this remarkable organization.

The health and wellbeing of children has always been a passionate interest of mine, so volunteering for the IWK Foundation felt like a natural fit for me. Last year, the IWK held its inaugural Radiothon in Saint John. Having experience as a training coordinator, I volunteered to help coordinate other volunteers needed to help make this event a success. I even recruited my husband Lee who jumped at the opportunity to get involved.  Although I knew that this would be a fun opportunity, it was better than I could have ever imagined! The energy that filled McAllister Place during our two-day Radiothon in 2012 was contagious, as the phones rang with calls from individuals from all over the Greater Saint John area who wanted to give to help advance critical care at the IWK. It was inspiring.

Last year I was approached to assist with the organization of the 2013 IWK Telethon at the Saint John broadcast site. It was an easy decision to make! I’m honoured to be involved with an organization that touches so many peoples’ lives. It feels good to give back to my community and if you have a chance to volunteer with this great cause in some form or another I urge you do it.  I’m excited to see what this year’s IWK Telethon will bring, and I have no doubt that it will be the best one yet!

Dorothy Miller, Chair, Saint John Telethon Operations Committee & Volunteer Coordinator, Saint John Radiothon

Volunteer  with the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

Make a gift to the IWK Telethon for Children on CTV. 

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Say “cheese”!

Here is a great photo of the Noseworthy triplets that was captured at Confederation Landing Park in PEI during the 26th Annual IWK Telethon for Children on CTV.

IWK Patients Parker, William & Luke Noseworthy - Charlottetown, PEI

The Noseworthy triplets were delivered at the IWK 11 weeks early on May 23, 2007. Parker weighed 2 lb 7 oz, William weighed 2 lb 1 oz and Luke weighed 1 lb 12.5 oz. The first 76 days of their lives were spent in the NICU, where they interacted with more than 100 care professionals as they grew stronger.  Combined, the triplets have undergone a total of nine surgeries ranging from hernia repairs to heart surgery for all three. Today, they are doing well and continue to interact with various care teams at the IWK through traveling clinic visits in PEI and trips to the Health Centre.

These three-year-old boys are very curious and quite funny. They love tractors, trucks and trains. William enjoys music and likes to put on a show.  Luke is still small and cuddly and Parker is the peacemaker.

“Spending a lot of time in a hospital is not a desirable situation to be in, but the IWK team often went the extra mile to make our family’s experience as pleasant as possible. We can not say enough good things about our experience with the staff at the IWK.”