CAEM raises $8,437 for KHLF, its Charity of Choice!

Earlier this week, on Wednesday, December 3rd at The International Centre, KHLF attended the Canadian Association of Exposition Management (CAEM) 2014 Holiday Luncheon Event. We are honoured to have been selected as CAEM'S Charity of Choice once again this year! It was a pleasure to lunch amongst friends as we continue to develop our relationship with such a generous organization and supporter of our work.

We were also so grateful to be presented with a cheque of $8,437 from the fundraising produced by CAEM and its members at last year’s holiday luncheon, their 2014 Conference and their Sports Day.

It is because of our amazing partners, like CAEM that we are able to continue to expand our initiatives and realize the full potential of our Foundation.


Upopolis, KHLF & TELUS recognized in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly

UPOPOLIS Rocked "The Rock"!

Our Newfoundland & Labrador launch of our UPOPOLIS Program was a great success! Though the temperature was chilly, we certainly basked in the warm welcome received from Eastern Health and Central Health, our newest UPOPOLIS sites.

We were so excited to have The Honourable Steve Kent, Deputy Premiere and Minister of Health and Community Services attend the event, and it was a tremendous honour for Kids' Health Links Foundation and UPOPOLIS to be spoken about by him later that day at the House Of Assembly - a short video clip can be viewed HERE!

A HUGE thank you to TELUS Health and Eastern Health Newfoundland & Labrador in particular for helping us rock "The Rock" by organizing and promoting this province-wide event!

Upopolis launches in Newfoundland and Labrador!

St. John’s – Newfoundland and Labrador will welcome TELUS Health and Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) to the province on Thursday, November 20, 2014 to make a province-wide announcement affecting pediatric patients and their access to youth-friendly medical content and social connections with families, friends and schools while undergoing treatment.

The Honourable Steve Kent, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Community Services, along with representatives from Eastern Health, Central Health, TELUS Health and the Kids’ Health Links Foundation will be present for the provincial launch of this initiative.

Note to editors: Cameras and reporters welcome to attend

When: Thursday, November 20, 2014 9 a.m.

Where: Paradise Youth Treatment Centre 7 Mallow Drive (off Paradise Road)

What: Interview and Photo Opportunities: • Honourable Steve Kent, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Community Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador • David Diamond, President and CEO, Eastern Health • David Thomas, Vice President, TELUS Health • Basile Papaevangelou, Chairman and Founder, Kids’ Health Links Foundation

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #Upopolis.


For more information, please contact:

Jill Yetman TELUS Media Relations 416-992-2639

April Ganong Kids’ Health Links Foundation 905-817-1717 ###

Countdown to Upopolis SuperUser Meeting!

This Thursday and Friday, November 13-14, 2014, Kids' Health Links Foundation is hosting its 3rd Annual UPOPOLIS Super User Meeting in Toronto. This yearly event brings together key child life specialists from across the country from that are using and enjoying the positive benefits of the UPOPOLIS program. Child life specialists are the life-blood of UPOPOLIS. They act as the administrators and champions of the program in the institutions where it's found. We've found that bringing them together annually for UPOP training, in-depth discussions on socialization of the program within their hospitals, best-practice sharing and hot topic brainstorming – all in an effort to promote collaboration and develop ways to continually improve and enhance the program – has become a much anticipated, effective and exciting event we all look forward too.

All 10 UPOP institutions with the program will have at least 1 delegate to represent their child life teams. Participants include:

McMaster Children’s Hospital – Hamilton, Ontario BC Children’s Hospital – Vancouver, British Columbia Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario – Ottawa, Ontario IWK Health Centre – Halifax, Nova Scotia The Hospital for Sick Children – Toronto, Ontario CHU Sainte-Justine – Montreal, Quebec Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital – Toronto, Ontario Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences – London, Ontario Emily’s House - Toronto, Ontario Lutherwood - Waterloo, Ontario

This year, we are excited to have delegates from 3 tertiary care centres join us as well. They are exploring the possibility of bringing UPOPOLIS to their units (eg. Oncology) to support the children and youth they see. We look forward to their ideas, contributions, and feedback.

We are also very excited to announce Mary Jo Haddad, KHLF Board Member and Past President & CEO of SickKids Hospital as our Keynote speaker to kick-off our meeting on Friday morning!


2:30 - 4:30 PM UPOPOLIS 2.0 Orientation for New Super Users
5:30 - 6:30 PM Welcome Cocktail Reception
6:30 - 9:00 PM Group Dinner


8:00 - 8:30 AM Breakfast Buffet Marquis Restaurant
8:30 - 8:45 AM Special Welcome & Introductions Basile Papaevangelou, Founder/President, KHLF Mary Jo Haddad, KHLF & TELUS Board Member, Past President & CEO, SickKids Hospital
8:45 - 9:30 AM Super User Needs Assessment Survey Results & Discussion Allison Sohanlal, KHLF UPOPOLIS Program Manager
9:30 - 10:15 AM UPOPOLIS 2.0 Training: CK Editor, Embedding Video, other TBD Presenter: Mario Cantin, TELUS
10:15 – 10:45 AM Hot Topic Charting & Break
10:45 – 11:45 AM The Road AheadTaking UPOP 2.0 Mobile Presenters: TELUS Team
11:45 – 12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 – 1:30 PM UPOPOLIS as Part of the Theraputic Toolbox: A Discussion of Psycho-Social Support for Youth in Hospital Presenter: Allison Sohanlal, KHLF
1:30 – 3:00 PM Hot Topics for Future Direction of UPOPOLIS: Group brainstorming Facilitators: Allison, KHLF & April Ganong, KHLF
3:00 – 3:30 PM Closing Comments & Thank You


Allison Sohanlal (CCLS) joins KHLF!

KHLF WELCOMES CCLS, ALLISON SOHANLAL TO OUR TEAM! We are very excited to announce that Allison Sohanlal has joined the KHLF Team as our National UPOPOLIS Program Manager.  Allison brings with her over 11 years of clinical experience as a certified child life specialist (CCLS) working with children and families who have experienced illness, loss and/or trauma.  Most recently, Allison has dedicated the last five years at SickKids in Toronto as the UPOPOLIS Super User (administrator) since its launch in 2009.

Allison holds a Masters in Child Life and Family Centered Care and is an assistant professor in the McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences, Child Life Studies Program. She is also on the board of directors of Hospice Toronto. Allison, with her child life background and extensive experience with UPOPOLIS over the years, will help us expand UPOPOLIS from a fantastic social platform for hospitalized kids, to a very important therapeutic modality integrated into the practice of care in hospitals and care centres across the country.

Allison is excited about joining Kids' Health Links and continuing her advocacy for the needs of youth with hospital experience:

"I have seen UPOPOLIS grow in leaps and bounds over the last five years and am thrilled to continue to develop and support the success of this therapeutic network across Canada.  You cannot begin to measure the positive impact UPOPOLIS has had on the patients I have worked with - who find comfort in a safe and secure space to meet other youth who understand their unique experiences and challenges.  UPOPOLIS allows them to express themselves, give and receive support and to connect with their hospitals in a new and engaging way.  It is incredibly rewarding to work with the Kids' Health Links Foundation who not only support the child life profession, but the patients and families across Canada that we are lucky enough to work with every day!"

Welcome to the Kids' Health Links family, Allison!!

KHLF Welcomes Mary Jo Haddad to Its Board of Directors

 A VERY WARM WELCOME TO MARY JO HADDAD (Toronto, Ontario) The Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF), an Ontario-based charitable organization, announces the election of Mary Jo Haddad to its board of directors. KHLF is dedicated to using technology to develop initiatives targeting the physical and mental health of children and youth.

President and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto until her retirement in December 2013, Haddad has made numerous contributions to children's health in Ontario and internationally. She brings her extensive experience in the healthcare field to build and expand upon the Foundation’s initiatives, devoted to furthering the health and well-being of paediatric patients and those who support them.

“Words are inadequate to express how honoured we are to welcome Mary Jo as a board member,” says KHLF Founder and Chairman, Basile Papaevangelou. “Her addition to the KHLF Board of Directors reflects KHLF's unrelenting commitment to finding the most innovative and very best leaders to guide our efforts to support the physical and mental health of children and youth."

An honours graduate of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Windsor, Ms. Haddad earned her master’s degree in Health Science from the University of Toronto. She is an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Business, and she is a mentor for aspiring leaders from the Women's Executive Network and The Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young Leaders.

In 2013, she received the Contribution to Child Health Award of the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres and the Grace Evelyn Simpson Reeves Award for Excellence in Career Achievement, The Hospital for Sick Children. In 2012, she received The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2010.


About the Kids’ Health Links Foundation

The Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) is a grassroots charity co-founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter Christina in 2007. It was inspired by Christina’s near death as a result of a massive blood infection known as Toxic Shock Syndrome in 2002; and by the passing of her good friend Katy, in 2004 following a brave battle with cancer. Through these experiences, it became obvious to Basile and Christina that the isolation and lack of connection felt by both Christina and Katy during their hospitalizations were typical for hospitalized kids across Canada. KHLF was created to answer this need. The mission of the Foundation to use technology to help alleviate the stress and isolation of paediatric patients drives its initiatives. Today, these include

UPOPOLIS: The only private, secure and trusted social network for hospitalized kids and teens in Canada. It is offered, supported, hosted and updated at no cost to the institution or user. UPOPOLIS was recognized in November 2012 by the Canadian Health Informatics Association (CHIA). TELUS our partner was recognized for the CHIA Corporate Citizenship Award for their support of our innovation. UPOPOLIS can be found at eight (8) children’s hospitals and one kid’s mental health center across Canada.; Lutherwood Children’s Mental Health Centre, Kitchener, ON; McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, ON; The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, ON; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON; IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS; BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC; Ste-Justine University Hospital Centre, Montréal, QC; Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Ottawa, ON: Children’s Hospital, London, ON. This year, UPOPOLIS will be implemented at Emily’s Children and Youth Hospice, Toronto and at 3 centres in Newfoundland and Labrador: Eastern Health Center for Youth Mental Health and Addictions, Paradise; Central Health Center for Youth Mental Health and Addictions Grand Falls-Windsor; and Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre, St. Johns. An online community hosting a national community of practice; facilitating educational and mentoring opportunities within the network of children’s mental health treatment providers. This peer-reviewed library holds child life resources and policies that have been generously contributed by children’s hospitals and pediatric centers. Contributions continue.


Upopolis 2.0 Canada-wide launch event

Celebratory Cupcakes!
Celebratory Cupcakes!

UPOPOLIS Announces Canada-Wide Launch Event

Making cyber-safe connections even easier for paediatric patients across Canada


Toronto, Ontario – The Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) is pleased to announce its Canada-wide launch event to be held June 18th, celebrating the release of the newly redesigned and revamped Upopolis 2.0, a private online social network available exclusively to paediatric patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Canada.

Developed in partnership with TELUS Health, the new UPOPOLIS 2.0 makes it even easier for hospitalized youth to connect with one another, with family and with friends.

“The idea for UPOPOLIS was inspired by my daughter’s near-death experience in 2002, followed in 2004 by the death of a close friend of hers after an extended battle with cancer,” says Kids’ Health Links Foundation co- Founder and President Basile Papaevangelou. “Both required lengthy hospitalizations, creating a sense of isolation and loneliness at times, which is often the experience of hospitalized kids and teens. At its core, UPOPOLIS was created to help paediatric patients connect with family and friends and to also enable them to form new ones with patients at other hospitals and healthcare facilities. We’re honored to be able to work with Telus and our hospitals and healthcare facilities to offer UPOPOLIS 2.0 to these young people.”

Along with its psycho-social benefits, UPOPOLIS users can share photos, chat, play games and much more. A particularly important feature of UPOPOLIS is its kid-friendly medical content. Written specifically for kids & teens and reviewed and verified by medical professionals, this library of information allows paediatric patients to learn more about their medical conditions and treatments.

“At TELUS, we take pride in connecting millions of Canadians with the people and information that matters most to them. For us, helping connect hospitalized kids with a safe and secure social network is an extension of that,” said Paul Lepage, President of TELUS Health. “Our commitment is to provide the best healthcare information technology solutions in Canada and leverage our unparalleled telecommunications network to give healthcare providers life-saving reach nation-wide from coast to coast to coast. We consider it a privilege to support ground-breaking initiatives like UPOPOLIS because we care about turning information into better health outcomes for all Canadians.”

Hospitals that are part of the UPOPOLIS network and that will be participating with in-hospital events on June 18th include: The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, ON; McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, ON; IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS; Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Ottawa, ON; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON; CHU Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre, Montréal, QC; and Children's Hospital London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON.


At the Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF), our mission is to use technology to alleviate the stress, isolation and loneliness of children in medical care, and keep them connected with their family, friends and school community.

We believe that positive emotional well-being can be fostered by maintaining family connections and encouraging active social participation. By providing technology that enables this well-being, we hope to help children heal faster and better overcome traumatic medical experiences. For more information about the Kids’ Health Links Foundation and UPOPOLIS, visit