South Asian culture is a vibrant part of British Columbian life, but the South Asian community contributes much more than simply cultural diversity to our province. Since 2009 the community has been making a difference in the lives of BC’s sick and injured children through the A Night of Miracles gala in support of BC Children’s Hospital. As BC’s only black-tie gala in the South Asian community A Night of Miracles has already raised over $1 million since its inception; the community is celebrating the event’s fifth anniversary on October 19, 2013, at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel.
In 2011 A Night of Miracles’ founding chair, Robin Dhir of Twin Brook Developments, and others pledged to raise $3 million for the Campaign for BC Children to support the construction of an interventional radiology room in the new BC Children’s Hospital. Thanks to this commitment, patients in the new Children’s Hospital will be cared for in state-of-the-art procedure rooms that house the most advanced medical technology available, transforming the care – and the lives – of children being treated at BC Children’s Hospital.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for individuals, families and businesses from our community to make a significant difference in the well-being of BC’s children,” says Dhir. “As a community we have an obligation to help give children the best possible health care, and to ensure it continues to exist for future generations. I can’t think of a better legacy for all of us in the South Asian community to create for our children and grandchildren.”
Tracy and Colin Dignum know from experience how the right medical care can improve the outcomes of procedures for a child. Their 12-year-old son, Thomas, suffered a massive stroke in his brain stem at the age of six. When Thomas arrived at BC Children’s Hospital doctors knew that his window for treatment was rapidly closing. The medical team consulted with their colleagues from around the world and determined that the only way to save Thomas’s life was by performing a procedure that had never been done before on a child at the hospital.
Interventional radiologist Dr. Manraj Heran performed the highly complex intra-arterial balloon dilation procedure at BC Children’s. The innovative procedure, along with a clot-busting drug, helped to break up the blood clots that had spread throughout Thomas’s brain.
Thomas survived the procedure, but initially he could only communicate by blinking and was ventilated in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital. He gradually recovered his ability to breathe on his own and was transferred to Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children to begin rehabilitation. Thomas spent several months at Sunny Hill learning to regain movement on both sides of his body, and his balance.
Tracy says that Thomas’s stroke and miraculous recovery was a life-changing experience for the whole family. “Our family is so much better off not just because he lived, but because we have a true appreciation for how fragile life is. We now make sure to live life to the fullest.”
In the new BC Children’s Hospital, children undergoing this type of procedure will be able to receive care in one of two large hybrid proce¬dure rooms, including the interventional radiology room being funded through A Night of Miracles, reducing risk for kids and paving the way to a speedy recovery.
“Children are our most worthy investment. When I took on the role of chair in 2008, my vision was to raise awareness of the gala and pediatric health care in our province,” says Dhir. “I believe we’ve been very successful in doing that. So many members of the South Asian community have stepped forward, and together we are having an impact on the way care is delivered to our children today and tomorrow. None of this would be possible without the continuing support from people and organizations in the community who have generously supported A Night of Miracles.”
For more than 15 years, the South Asian community has been safeguarding the health of the province’s children through its support for BC Children’s Hospital. Members of this community raise funds for capital campaign initiatives and annual needs at the hospital through individual and corporate gifts.
This year’s A Night of Miracles gala will bring close to 400 guests together to share an evening known for its exquisite menu, silent auction, live entertainment and dancing. Proceeds from the event will support BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s $200-million Campaign for BC Children and this group’s specific commitment to supporting the construction of an interventional radiology room in the new hospital.
The interventional radiology room in the new BC Children’s Hospital will be named to honour the incredible commitment of the South Asian community. Interventional radiology procedures are minimally invasive, meaning they are performed by inserting thin needles and catheters through tiny incisions, instead of requiring the larger, open incisions that characterize traditional surgeries. Interventional radiologists are guided by real-time imaging technologies – such as angiography and ultrasound – during the procedures. This enables them to diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions, including cancer, infections, heart and blood-flow problems, brain conditions and many others with minimal damage to the child’s body tissues.
Dr. Heran explains that interventional radiology exposes children to fewer risks, decreases their discomfort during and after the procedure, and reduces their length of stay at the hospital, allowing them to return home to their loved ones sooner. “The benefits of interventional radiology are limitless,” says Dr. Heran. “We’re now in a position where we can give our patients better, safer care than ever before, and this is just the beginning. The new BC Children’s Hospital will offer children the type of care that was science fiction when the hospital was originally built 30 years ago. We can now perform procedures that surgeons in the past could only dream of.”
BC Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in the province with the critical mass of pediatric clinical expertise, research program and advanced technology required to care for and treat children with chronic and complex conditions. It is accessible to nearly one million children in BC and the Yukon – the largest child population served by a single Canadian hospital. When the hospital opened in 1982, it was designed to accommodate 35,000 patient visits a year; last year, it had over 216,000 visits.
The Campaign for BC Children has three main objectives: to build a new BC Children’s Hospital, to relocate child development and rehabilitation services from East Vancouver to the hospital site, and to support the expansion of and access to pediatric care throughout the province.
To find out how you can become involved in A Night of Miracles and learn more about BC Children’s Hospital Foundation please call 604.875.2444 or visit www.bcchf.ca/anom.