Blogging all patients! BC Children's Hospital launches social network for kids



    
    Introducing 'Upopolis', Canada's first secure online community keeping
    kids in hospitals connected to each other
    

    VANCOUVER, April 20 /CNW/ - BC Children's Hospital, TELUS and Kids'
Health Links Foundation today announced the launch of Upopolis, the first
secure online social network for kids in hospital care in Western Canada.
    Created by Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and powered by TELUS,
Upopolis.com provides the best features of social networking for young
patients who often feel disconnected when they're in the hospital. Upopolis
provides a personal profile, personal blogs, instant chat and child-friendly
games. The site also provides unique features to kids in hospital like a
homework site to stay up-to-date with their schoolwork, links to kid-friendly
health and wellness information, and connections to other children with the
same condition.
    "Our hospital offers very specialized pediatric care that is unique in
the province, so we take in some seriously ill and injured kids who will
really benefit from Upopolis to help them stay connected to their loved ones,"
said Larry Gold, president, BC Children's Hospital and Sunny Hill Health
Centre for Children, agencies of the Provincial Health Services Authority. "We
are committed to bringing the best possible care for our young patients and
Upopolis will help to enhance their hospital experience."
    "The private sector has an important role to play in helping Canadian
healthcare providers continue to modernize and improve the patient
experience," said Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO. "Today's kids are
inseparable from the technology that connects them with the world, their
families and their friends. For kids in the hospital, Upopolis bridges that
connection. TELUS is excited to be part of a partnership that champions the
power of technology to improve the healthcare experience for young people in
hospital."
    Through a unique partnership with Kids' Health Links Foundation, TELUS
provides the technology to develop and build Upopolis. TELUS continues to
provide site expansion, ongoing access to Upopolis, managed Web hosting, and
application support and maintenance services.
    Kid's Health Links and TELUS launched the program last year at McMaster
Children's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario and since then it is expanding to
other hospitals across Canada, including IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
    "We had a vision when we started Upopolis to connect kids in hospitals
across Canada. Launching today at BC Children's Hospital is a monumental step
in helping us to reach that goal," said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and
founder of KHLF. "With the help of the hospitals and TELUS, we continue to
expand this program across Canada helping kids in care to connect with each
other on a national platform."
    The online support network was inspired by the hospital experiences of
two teenaged friends, Christina Papaevangelou and Katy McDonald. In February
2002, Christina was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at McMaster Children's
Hospital with a life-threatening illness. Shortly after, Katy was diagnosed
with cancer and had to be hospitalized for a long period of time, feeling
disconnected from friends, family and keeping up with schoolwork. Sadly, Katy
lost her battle with cancer. However, their friendship and common experiences
inspired Christina to explore ways to help kids in care stay connected.

    About Kids' Health Links Foundation

    Kids' Health Links was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter
Christina to connect, through technology, children in health care facilities
across Canada with friends and family, their teachers and schoolwork. Kids'
Health Links Foundation created Upopolis - an innovative, private online
community for children in care. The Kids' Health Links technology solutions
help to alleviate stress, isolation and loneliness for children in medical
care in order to help children heal faster and better to overcome traumatic
medical experiences.

    BC Children's Hospital

    BC Children's Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services
Authority, provides expert care for the province's most seriously ill or
injured children, including newborns and adolescents. Sunny Hill Health Centre
for Children, part of BC Children's, offers specialized services to children
with disabilities and their families from across the province. BC Children's
is an academic health centre affiliated with the University of British
Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the Child & Family Research Institute.
For more information, please visit www.bcchildrens.ca

    About TELUS

    TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE:   TU) is a leading national telecommunications
company in Canada, with $9.7 billion of annual revenue and 11.6 million
customer connections including 6.1 million wireless subscribers, 4.2 million
wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers. Led since
2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, TELUS provides a wide range of
communications products and services including data, Internet protocol (IP),
voice, entertainment and video. In support of our philosophy to give where we
live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed $137 million to
charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered more than 2.6
million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Nine TELUS Community
Boards across Canada lead our local philanthropic initiatives. For more
information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.





For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact:
Communications, BC Children's Hospital, (604) 875-2301, comm@cw.bc.ca; Shawn
Hall, TELUS Media Relations, (604) 697-8176, Shawn.Hall@telus.com; Basile
Papaevangelou, Kids' Health Links Foundation, (647) 880-3037 (mobile), (905)
469-1819 (KHLF office), basile.papa@sympatico.ca

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