PROGRESS REPORT 2022/2023
IT STARTED WITH YOU
When the challenges in front of us seem enormous, the best way to start is small. That might be with one promising idea, one step forward or one single gift.
Collectively, these beginnings create a ripple effect that can unleash massive advances in care. They transform the seed of a belief into breakthroughs. They turn audacious ideas into success stories. They become achievements that don’t just change today, but the trajectories of tomorrow as well.
Last year, we saw the many ways that greatness starts small. We hope you’re as inspired by these stories as we are—they are a reality because of you.
You’re pushing the next advances over the finish line
It’s remarkable to think how far we’ve come in our fight against childhood illnesses in the past year. Researchers gave life-changing answers to families who have long been told there are none. Surgeons used pioneering technologies to confront devastating diseases. And experts reimagined what it means to care for the unique needs of kids and teens.
What ties these things together? You.
provided to the hospital and research institute through donor support
patients received the best possible care
Leading the charge in tackling pain
Kids are wired differently. For example, they can often feel pain more intensely than adults. The challenge is that pain is harder to recognize in young patients, especially if they can’t express how they feel.
Fuelled by our community of supporters, BC Children’s Hospital has reimagined pain care for kids and youth across the province. That includes everything from helping prepare them for procedures to ease stress, to using mindfulness techniques to manage pain. The ultimate goal? Make sure pain is cared for today, so that it doesn’t become lifelong trauma.
In 2023, these efforts were recognized in a big way: BC Children’s became a ChildKind certified hospital. That makes it one of only three children’s hospitals in Canada—and 15 worldwide—to receive the international designation that recognizes pediatric pain care excellence.
Empowering experts to rise to big challenges
Your support allows the best and brightest minds at BC Children’s to move forward in overcoming our most pressing health challenges.
health care providers on campus
shaping the future of child health
ENDOWED HOSPITAL CHAIRS
chasing their boldest ideas
CLINICAL & SURGICAL FELLOWS
honing their pediatric skills
delivering specialized & advanced practice care
CHILD LIFE SPECIALISTS
creating brighter moments
Unleashing the power of small in surgery
The brain is the most complex organ in the body. When operating on it, every single millimetre matters—which means that precision is paramount. In 2019, generous donor support allowed BC Children’s Hospital to receive an advanced surgical robotic system. The impact of this was felt in extraordinary ways last year—proving how gifts can continue to revolutionize care for years to come.
In particular, the technology played a powerful role in tackling hard-to-treat cases of epilepsy. While medication is typically given, it can fail to control seizures in some children. Many continue to experience seizures several times a day, impacting their ability to attend school, play sports and spend time with friends. The next course of action is often surgery. The challenge? Locating the seizure source can be extremely difficult.
By enabling precise minimally invasive placement of electrodes to measure brain wave activity, the technology has allowed neurosurgeons to pinpoint the exact spot that triggers seizures. Once found, they could remove that tissue through surgery. This has stopped seizures entirely in some children—giving them the chance to live full lives.
Surgeons hope to build upon this technology to fight epilepsy in novel ways in the future, including precisely destroying seizure-causing tissue that’s too difficult or risky to reach through open surgery.
Finding answers for the unexplainable
The journey to get a diagnosis for rare, unexplained conditions can take years—and answers can be elusive. Children often endure countless tests and specialist appointments, while their families may struggle with an overwhelming sense of helplessness and isolation.
Last year, experts at the Rare Disease Discovery Hub at BC Children’s made major breakthroughs: they discovered two diseases, revealing them to the world for the first time. This was made possible through donor support of the Hub, which uses cutting-edge genetic sequencing technologies to pinpoint the responsible gene, and advanced molecular biology technologies to fully characterize the disease.
GIVEN IN THE
For families who have often endured years facing the unknown, the Hub has provided long-awaited answers—and in some cases, opened new doors to existing drugs that provide a path forward to treatment.
A game-changing diabetes tool
When a child is diagnosed with diabetes, their life changes in an instant. Immediately, families must become experts in the disease as they monitor a child’s health around the clock. The questions quickly follow. What do you do if blood glucose levels suddenly plummet? And what’s the proper technique for insulin injections?
To provide accurate information in one single place, BC Children’s Hospital launched a first-of-its-kind education tool last year through the generous support of donors—called LearnDiabetes. The interactive multimedia platform contains 46 lessons and nine learning modules that provide digestible guidance on how to best manage the lifelong disease. Already, numerous families have gained confidence by having the expertise of BC Children’s Hospital right at their fingertips—whenever they need it.
A high-tech way to comfort
Imagine: pet-like robots that quell anxious feelings before surgery, provide companionship during long hospital stays, and comfort kids during their toughest moments. That’s no longer a distant reality—because of you.
Your support is allowing researchers to move forward in exploring the potential for using social robots in the hospital. These friendly companions are equipped with cameras in their eyes, a touch-sensitive body and sonar hearing that allow them to interpret kids’ facial expressions and body language—and respond accordingly.
Using an interactive game, a team of researchers are working to engage children and families to understand their biggest hopes for the robots. This will provide new insights into the role the technology can play in comforting and distracting kids across many areas of care. There’s still plenty more to do, but this work brings us closer to integrating social robots in the hospital.
Together, we’ll show the world: small is mighty
Your support last year empowered us to make some of our most meaningful strides yet.
Thank you for being part of our journey.
There is strength in numbers
Last year, you proved just how mighty small can be. So many of you—88,483, to be exact—rallied together in inspiring ways to make a real difference in tackling complex health challenges.
You passionately attended our events, raised funds alongside your colleagues, made generous monthly gifts and came up with your own clever ideas for fundraisers.
No matter how you supported us, every single effort has contributed to a greater whole that’s propelled our fight against childhood illnesses. We are so grateful to have you standing with us.
from people who asked their networks to support our cause
Investment income and asset management
In fiscal year (FY) 2023, the Foundation’s investment income, including fair-value adjustments, was $20 million, compared to $36.5 million in FY 2022; this translates to a rate of return of 4.2% after fees.
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors, through the Finance & Investment Committee, oversee the governance of the investment assets by regularly monitoring the performance of the investment managers, selecting, appointing and releasing managers as required and deciding upon the appropriate amount of investment risk.
Investment assets with the right asset mix are vital to ensuring stable and sustainable donor contributions to BC Children’s Hospital. Some of the larger investments made by the hospital are multi-year projects and it is critical that the funding is protected from inflation. We prudently invest donor funds through a well-diversified asset-mix portfolio with a number of investment managers. A significant portion of our investment assets are endowment funds that are externally restricted contributions made by donors. On an annual basis, the Board approves the endowment payout rate (4.45% for FY 2023) based on the performance of our investment portfolio. These funds continue to provide an important base of ongoing and reliable funding for child health initiatives at BC Children’s Hospital.