Article: Help’s music to their ears


David Foster Foundation


David Foster’s foundation aids families while children are in hospital

Sebastien, Fintan, Dravidan, Cleo and Britney.

No matter how bad your day is going, today I invite you to just take a second and read about these five brave kids who easily could not be with us today.

But they are with us — thanks to generous donations on several levels.

The five are drawn together by something they all have in common. They are all young children — five of many, by the way — who are at Sick Kids Hospital right now recovering from transplant operations.

“Every time I go and see kids in hospitals I am always amazed at how positive they are,” Canadian music legend David Foster tells me. “It is amazing.”

Foster was in town accepting an entry into the Canadian Music Industry’s Hall of Fame.

“I am honoured to get the award but the reason I am really here was to come to see the kids and bring some attention to my foundation,” he said.

Tears are not enough. And there are lots of them that go with this stuff.

Cheers are not important to Foster any more. “We want to help these families,” he said.


And he does, through the David Foster Foundation.

It all started 21 years ago in Los Angeles. Foster got a call from his mother in Victoria, B.C., about a child originally from Victoria who was in California in need of a transplant. He went over to offer support.

“I asked her if there is anything she wanted,” David recalled. “I was thinking in terms of Disneyland or something, but she said, ‘I want to see my sister.’ ” Foster immediately flew her down.

“In that I saw the need and the kind of financial burden these families are put under when they are waiting for transplants or recovering from one.”

He wanted to do something for Canadian kids and immediately held a fundraiser and started the foundation. Enter Lynne Mozley, a volunteer from Victoria who wanted to help. She has been running the foundation ever since.

“We don’t always win,” she said. “But we win more than we lose.”

The work they do is amazing. Essentially they help the families pay the bills and allow their families to stay together in the time of extreme need.

And yesterday Foster, his partner, Yolanda Hadid, and his children, Erin, Gigi and Bella, spent a couple of hours at Sick Kids with some children and their families. More tears.

“It is emotional because of everything we have been through,” said Jasmina Forest, whose 21/2-year-old son, Sebastien, is recovering from a liver and bowel transplant. “We really appreciate what this foundation has done for us. It has allowed me to stay with my son.”

Jasmina is from Winnipeg and she and her husband, David, need to be here in Toronto. The financial assistance from Foster’s organization makes sure it happens.

Fintan Doucette is 15 months old and had similar surgery. Dad Richard, mom Nicole and sister Shaeleigh have moved into the area from North Bay with Foster’s help.


Dravidan Ratnam is only 9 months and has a new liver. The donor was his mom, Satiya. “We are so appreciative of what this hospital and foundation has done for us,” said Ruben, who adds the help is vital because they have to raise 5-year-old son Sameeran as well.

Leo Savage, of the Kingston-area village of Yarker, said his 1-year-old daughter Cleo, who had serious transplant surgery recently, may not know who Foster is or his music but will one day thank him for the financial support he offered her parents.

Jennifer and Shawn Brewster from Hartland, N.B., know exactly what they mean. Their daughter, 4-year-old Britney, had a heart transplant Jan. 18 and they said such a thing rips the hearts of the parents who have to go through it.

“David Foster is something else,” said Shawn. “His foundation helped get us a place to live.

“They have been amazing to us.”

Foster said his aim is ensuring families can focus on getting the kids better and not worry about going bankrupt. He’s planning a big fundraising concert for Toronto in 2008.

“My goal is to one day raise $50 million,” he said.

It’s worth every penny. Just ask Sebastien, Fintan, Dravidan, Cleo and Britney.


Please support the David Foster Foundation

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