He’s a music legend. And he’s coming to Winnipeg to combine his passion for music with a good cause.
David Foster, the artist, composer and producer behind artists like Canada’s Michael Buble and Celine Dion, is holding a gala and concert in Winnipeg September 24.
While the full line-up of performers is still to be announced, the Tenors and Sinbad will be among those in attendance.
The event is in support of the David Foster Foundation, which helps families of children who need organ transplants by helping with essential, non-medical expenses like travel, accommodation and food.
One of those families is from Manitoba.
Nazdana Jan was born with a rare genetic disease leaving her in need of a liver transplant.
Her family moved to Winnipeg to keep her close to Health Sciences Centre for care.
Since she wasn’t old enough for a full liver transplant, doctors at Alberta Children’s Hospital decided to try an experimental liver stem cell transplant. It had only been done about 20 times around the world. The procedure sustained her until she was finally old enough to get a full liver transplant in Toronto Sickkids Hospital.
Nazdana has had to be moved from province to province for care. The province will reimburse the child and one parent for costs of travel for treatment, but does not pay for the rest of the family.
As a result, many families are separated for long periods of time.
The David Foster Foundation has helped the whole family temporarily relocate so they can all be together as they support Nazdana.
Dad Jouhar Ali says he couldn’t imagine being apart.
“Those hard times – how would my wife face it alone over there? If I was over there, how (would) I would face it? It was a hard time, so the family should be together,” he said.
Nazdana is now three-and-a-half and back home with her family in Winnipeg.
Foster says the foundation is about helping families who fear for their child, and then find themselves facing that financial hardship and family separation as well.
“They’re so disoriented. It’s the worst news they can get. Now they all of a sudden they have to double their income because they have two lives. One parent has to be in the hospital in Toronto. The other has to be in Yellowknife taking care of the rest of the siblings,” he said.
Each year a gala and concert fundraiser is hosted in a different location. Winnipeg was chosen this year because Manitoba ranks low among provinces in organ donor registration and because children needing any transplant other than a kidney need to go out-of-province for the transplant.
Between 600 and 1,000 guests will attend the event at MTS Centre.
(Video from the David Foster Foundation, courtesy of Dale Baglo Broadcast Inc.)