Mary Beaucage
Mary BeaucageCo-Chair, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Governance Circle

My name is Mary Beaucage. I’m from Nipissing First Nation, outside of North Bay Ontario. I work in retail management, opening stores, recruiting, hiring and training, analyzing and forecasting sales.

I am a type 2 diabetic. As a result, my kidneys were affected. Diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in June 2013, I started dialysis immediately, 4 hours-3x/week for 2 years.

I had several severe infections including a severe staph infection which hospitalized me for 3 weeks and a blood infection while visiting my sister in Calgary. Upon returning from a hospital stay while I was there, I had a PICC line and an 8 week regimen of IV antibiotics.

I find I had to do a lot of my own research to be my best advocate. I started my journey at stage 5, I wasn’t prepared beforehand. I took an active role in my care, and learned what I could about the machine I dialyzed on, as well as my diet and fluid restriction. I worked hard to maintain some exercise regimen, mainly walking when I had some energetic days. I tried to continue working as I started dialysis, but that lasted less than 3 weeks, when I had my staph infection. It was then I realized I wasn’t wonder woman, and something had to give.

My cousin, Janice Pulak, from Thompson MB, went through testing to see if we were a match. Thankfully, after a year everything worked out, and I had my living donor kidney transplant on March 24th, 2015.

I am passionate about educating and advocating, and as I go through my healing journey, I’m finding strength in talking to others, especially in the aboriginal and northern communities. I became involved with Can-SOLVE CKD by referral, based on my involvement in the living donor initiative. Being part of research level and feedback workshops has been very meaningful to me.

These have been key motivating factors for becoming involved with Can-SOLVE CKD.

David Hillier
David HillierCo-Chair, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Governance Circle
I am a retired finance executive having worked for over 35 years within the financial services industry, primarily within the Toronto market. I have a wife, two daughters and a granddaughter. I was raised in Ottawa, Ontario and come from a family with nine siblings.

As an advocate and caregiver for family members affected by Polycystic Kidney Disease, I have seen firsthand the medical and hospital care that is provided for CKD patients and have believed that there can be better, more effective health care models based on patient-focused research. I have been extremely impressed with the approach and structure of the Can-SOLVE CKD initiative since being asked to participate as a patient representative.

All research projects and funding proposals are not only being vetted by clinicians and researchers but more importantly with the involvement of patients and caregivers, through a patient-focused “lens”. This ensures that research outcomes will be more directly linked to the priorities that have been articulated by CKD patients. Based on these research initiatives, funding bodies will be assured that their investment will lead directly to patient outcomes and result in a significantly greater “bang for the buck”.

Based on my involvement with Can-SOLVE CKD, I am now, far more optimistic that the funding, research and outcomes will dramatically improve the quality of life for CKD patients and caregivers.

Michael McCormick
Michael McCormickCo-Chair, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Governance Circle

At 18 years of age, I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). My primary disease process is Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS); I have been on hemodialysis for over 27 years, and on home hemodialysis for the past 15 years. I have had two living related kidney transplants, from my Dad and from a cousin. Both transplants failed immediately on the operating room table with extremely aggressive reoccurrence of FSGS in the transplanted kidney. At this time, I am not on the transplant list, as it is believed that the same outcome will occur as with the first two transplants.

I work full time as a Senior Manager at the Toronto Stock Exchange. I workout on a regular basis, including yoga, to maintain my overall health. In the winter, I curl competitively, reaching provincial finals twice; in the summer, I sail and golf. My wife and I also like to travel, we enjoy discovering new places. We have travelled to almost every province in Canada, over a dozen cities in the US, several locations in the Caribbean and many countries in Europe. Beyond the additional complexities of booking travel like everyone else, part of our travel planning includes finding and arranging a local dialysis unit at our destination.

I have recently become active with the Kidney Foundation of Canada – Ontario Branch, as a Peer Support Counselor. I believe that having access to a network of like-minded, progressive patients who have a keen interest in living a productive life, despite being diagnosed with CKD, is critical. I am part of a roster of several dialysis patients that are available to be matched to new patients and have spoken publicly at York University on risk factors and treatment options for CKD. I am also a standing member of the Ontario Renal Network (ORN) Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

Hans Vorster
Hans VorsterCo-Chair, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Governance Circle

My full name is Arris Hans Vorster, but I have always been known as Hans, since my first name in an English speaking world sounds too much like a horse’s Arris. I am a home hemodialysis patient in Kingston for almost 4 years. My journey here began with an FSGS diagnosis in the mid-90’s  and several years of CKD clinic at Wellesley and Scarborough hospitals before moving to Kingston in early 2003. I continued the monitoring of my progressive disease at KGH, however the process was exacerbated in 2005 when it was discovered I had developed a malignant kidney tumour leading to surgery and  re-sectioned kidney. A second primary was discovered in my colon in 2007, followed by more surgery and chemo. Although I recovered well from both those events and my five year clear period has passed, my creatinine levels started moving up quickly and by 2013 my fistula was created and I was on dialysis. Shortly thereafter I went home with Charlie, my Fresenius 2008K. 

Personally, I was born in the Netherlands , moved to England at 7 and (reluctantly) joined my parents in a further move to Canada at 12, soon to become an enthusiastic Canadian. Educated in Toronto and at Queen’s University  (Metallurgical Engineering ’65), I moved through several career options; engineering, stock broker, Director of Development at the National Ballet of Canada, and into broadcast sales and marketing.  

My accumulated experience and interests caused me to launch my own company doing media research on behalf of publishers, broadcaster and advertising agencies. Adding partners in 1990 and 1992, Totum Research Inc  in Toronto, became one of Canada’s leading strategic and media research firms. We did both quantitative and qualitative as well as time series (tracking ) studies for most Canadian media owners and several in the US. Doing social research on elusive behavior patterns, motivation to usage, “liking” and other similar characteristics was immensely rewarding. While involved in all facets of our projects, my personal focus was on study design, questionnaire writing and making the resulting statistics readable and useful. I retired in 2007 on discovery of my second cancer. 

Married to a former dancer with the National ballet and now a Landscape Architect ,I have one son living in Toronto.