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

    TORONTO, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF), McMaster
Children's Hospital (MCH) and TELUS today announced the launch of, the first secure online social network for kids in hospital
    Powered by TELUS, provides the best features of social
networking for young patients who often feel isolated when they're in the
hospital. Upopolis will provide a personal profile, secure mail, instant chat,
discussion boards, personal blogs and links to 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.
    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.
    "Christina and I established Kids' Health Links Foundation to make a
difference in the lives of hospitalized children," said Christina's father,
Basile Papaevangelou, who is the chairman and founder of KHLF. Mr.
Papaevangelou appreciated the care Christina received so much that he wanted
to make a lasting contribution to health care for kids. "With our partners,
McMaster Children's Hospital and TELUS, we are taking the first step in what
we committed to accomplish: the launch of Upopolis, a Canada-wide program that
enhances the lives of hospitalized children."
    McMaster Children's Hospital is the first hospital in Canada to launch
the service.
    "Upopolis is an exceptional program for children in hospital," said Dr.
Steer, President, McMaster Children's Hospital. "Hospital stays can be the
most challenging time of a child's life and so it is important that we make
every effort to help alleviate stress for these children and their families
and keep them connected to loved ones and friends. Kids' Health Links
Foundation and our partners on the Upopolis initiative are paving the way with
innovative technology in caring for the whole child."
    Through a unique partnership with Kids' Health Links Foundation, TELUS is
providing a gift of technology services to develop Upopolis. TELUS helped
build the site and, over the course of the partnership, it will continue to
provide site expansion, ongoing access to, managed Web hosting,
and application support and maintenance services.
    "TELUS, Kids' Health Links Foundation and McMaster Children's Hospital
are giving kids the unique ability to stay connected to the world while
they're in the hospital," said Joe Natale, president TELUS Business Solutions.
"At TELUS, we give where we live. We are proud to be part of the Upopolis
partnership and championing the power of technology to improve the healthcare
experience for children."

    About TELUS

    TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE:   TU) is a leading national telecommunications
company in Canada, with $9.0 billion of annual revenue and 11.0 million
customer connections including 5.4 million wireless subscribers, 4.4 million
wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers. TELUS
provides a wide range of communications products and services including data,
Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video. Committed to being
Canada's premier corporate citizen, we give where we live. Since 2000, TELUS
and our team members have contributed more than $91 million to charitable and
non-profit organizations and volunteered more than 1.7 million hours of
service to local communities. Eight TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead
our local philanthropic initiatives. For more information about TELUS, please

    About McMaster Children's Hospital

    McMaster Children's Hospital (MCH) is one of the top pediatric academic
health sciences centres in the Canada. With 120 acute care beds, 40 pediatric
clinics and a full range of specialized inpatient services, MCH is home to one
of the country's most impressive Neonatal Intensive Care Units, a cutting-edge
Neurometabolic and Neuromuscular Clinic and a state-of-the-art endosuite for
performing minimally invasive surgery on our smallest patients. Founded in
1988, MCH has rapidly become a leader in pediatric evidence-based care,
collaborative research and innovative leading-edge education.
    MCH is one of the two busiest children's hospitals in Ontario offering
specialized care to more than 150,000 children each year from South Central
Ontario extending from Niagara to Kitchener-Waterloo and beyond. An integral
part of Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster Children's Hospital is a hospital
within a hospital. It is also home to the McMaster Child Health Research
Institute (MCHRI) led by McMaster Children's Hospital and McMaster
University's Department of Pediatrics in conjunction with many key research

    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.

For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Basile
Papaevangelou, Kids' Health Links Foundation, (647) 880-3037, (905) 469-1819
(KHLF office),; Krista Maling, Senior Public
Relations Specialist, McMaster Children's Hospital, (905) 521-2100, ext.
76589,; Allison Vale, TELUS Media Relations, (416) 629-6425,

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