The main purpose of the Council is to engage with BC SUPPORT Unit personnel related to specific issues and projects that arise from Unit operations. Please see below for information about each Patient Council member.
We thank all members of the Patient Council for all they have done for the BC SUPPORT Unit, and for patient-oriented research in British Columbia.
Anni Rychtera (Vernon)
Hello, my name is Anni Rychtera. I am a former Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Natural Health Practitioner and College Educator in Health Sciences. I was involved in clinical research working at the first unit for haplo-identical Bonemarrow Transplant for children. My lived experience with chronic nerve pain (after a sports injury and delayed surgery), and being a cancer survivor and thriver, taught me the importance of being an informed patient and an equal partner in health care and decision making. After the trauma in 2000 I was instrumental in creating the position of 'Patient Advocate" in VJH. After participating in the UVic's Self-Management Program for Chronic Pain and Living with chronic health conditions, I became a volunteer facilitator and a Health Coach for UVic's self-management programs. Since 2008 I am a "First Link" Peer Support Volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am actively involved with Patient as Partners/Patient Voices Network in different roles as a volunteer since 2014. I am a member of the Patient Advisory Committee for the Association of Registered Nurses of BC and the Standing Committee on Health Services and Population Health with the Ministry of Health.
Beverley Pomeroy (Vancouver)
Beverley Pomeroy is an awarded and highly sought after Community and Family Engagement Strategist, Speaker, Author of Living Grief; The Profound Journey of Ongoing Loss. Beverley’s community service began with a fifteen- year career in private health care working for MDS Inc (LifeLabs). This community health care role developed her acumen not only for serving people in need, but also her strength in business management and organizational renewal.
Beverley’s deeper journey into Community Engagement occurred when her youngest child was born with a life-threatening, life limiting illness and she suddenly found herself on the receiving end of community health care services. Sophia passed away January 1st, 2017 at the age of 16 and since then, Beverley has focused on paediatric palliative care, participating in creating the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada Act through Bill C-277. Beverley is a volunteer for Patient Voices Network and is the board Chair for the Family Advisory Council of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Beverley also teaches the End of Life Caregiving curriculum for Douglas College Health Sciences programs and is a staunch advocate of LGBTQI inclusion in health care.
Esther Storvold (Trail)
Currently I work for Selkirk College (26 years) as an online instructor and program/course development for the Medical Transcription Editing and Documentation Program. I also work in collaboration with BC Campus as a BC Campus Coordinator, instructor and program/course development and teach on line medical terminology and medical transcription courses through BC Campus.
Past committee work includes the Education Council, Curriculum Committee, and Learning Technology Advisory Committee at Selkirk College. In the past, I was a Hospice volunteer. In addition, I have been with the Patient Voices Network since 2011 and have been on various committees including on the Shared Care Advisory Committee of the Kootenay Boundary. I am also a BC SUPPORT Unit Patient Council member and on the Patient & Stakeholder Engagement Committee
I am on the Interior Health Palliative and End of Life Care collaborative working group, and am proud of the amazing work done by this committee on this website. I have a beautiful family of four children, their spouses, and eight grandchildren; soon to be nine. I love family get togethers and travelling. I have had several family members pass away from cancers such as glioblastoma multiforme, pancreatic cancer and malignant melanoma, all that currently have no cure thus my interest and support of excellence in health care and research for these and other diseases.
Fred Cameron (Victoria)
After a lifelong battle with addiction, I entered the world of recovery in 2015. In my early struggles, I came to realize that if I embraced it, my experience could be used to help others. I am currently using my lived experience to help conduct health care research under the SPOR guidelines, and working in a recovery house supporting people in early recovery.
Jaime Ascher (New Westminster)
Jaime is the president of Still Life Canada, and is involved in Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Education, and the Research and Support Society.
Jim Mann (Surrey)
After a career focused on marketing, communications and advocacy in the tourism and transportation sectors, Jim is now an Alzheimer’s Advocate stemming from being a care partner for his mother, who had dementia, and his own diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007 at the age of 58. Jim served on the boards of the Alzheimer Society of BC as well as the national board, and continues to ‘advocate to educate’ through other volunteer efforts. He was recently (2018) appointed to the 15-member federal Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia. Jim is a co-researcher, advisory board member of various research projects and is first author of a recently accepted article Co-research with People Living with Dementia in the Action Research Journal. He is a member of the Research Management Committee of AGE-WELL (Aging Gracefully across Environments using technology to support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life), member of the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee, and a committee member researching Health Care Consent, Aging and Dementia (BC) with the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. As a part of the education process around living well with dementia, Jim assisted with the City of Vancouver’s production of Jim’s Story that is posted on YouTube.
Ken Biron (Prince George)
My name is Ken Biron, and I live Prince George. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000 and a mental health condition around 2003. I have been a Patient Voices Network “Activated Patient” since 2006/07. I am also the facilitator for the Prince George Multiple Sclerosis Self Help Support Group, which brings together MS-afflicted people, the MS Clinic and the MS Society of Canada’s “local” chapter. I also work part time for the Handy Circle Resources Society which is an information and resource centre for all persons with a disability in Prince George. I have a diverse collection of skill sets that MS has not affected yet, including my voice.
I originally joined Northern Health to help study smoking cessation tools. It was a positive start of the changing health care I found as I grew wiser in my own life with my condition of MS. With the Patient Voices Network, I have been involved with Northern Health groups concerned with Emergency Room efficiency, changing and creating official health department communication to patients (pamphlets and brochures), provincial opportunities such as the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council Quality Forum, and provincial networking gatherings held by Impact BC.
In the past, I was involved with Northern Health project creating policy for the inclusion of family-centred care teams in northern BC working towards the health of all BC patients from birth to death. I joined the Patient Council in June 2018 to hopefully influence further the positive health changes reflected through the community of shared connections provincially, with a focused group of like-minded professionals.
Kent Cadogan Loftsgard (Vancouver)
Kent has been a Patient Partner to the BC SUPPORT Unit since the summer of 2016. In addition to his lifelong cerebral palsy and asthma, as well as his endless efforts as a patient advocate and caregiver, Kent contributes his diverse professional expertise in health media production, health specialty journalism, interdisciplinary health care education, and health research to complement the collaborative development and growth of the Unit.
Laurel Radley (Vancouver)
Laurel is the patient/citizen member of the BC SUPPORT Unit Interim Governing Council. She is a long-time member of both the BC Patient Voices Network and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Community Engagement Advisory Network.
Lise Berube (Victoria)
Lise has worked for Island Health since 2014, when she began working on the development of iHealth, before moving over to the position of Case Manager with the Patient Care Quality Office.
She has a background in Sociology and a Masters degree in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria.
Since receiving her diagnosis of breast cancer in early 2016, Lise has spent over a year receiving weekly and often daily treatment in Victoria, and hopes she can use her recent experiences as a patient in BC to inform sustainable positive changes to the health care system.
Lise enjoys spending time in the outdoors, running, camping, and hiking with her husband, two young children, and her dog Lucky.
Margaret MacDonald (New Westminster)
My academic background is in sociology/social psychology. My career in social services included working in public health, corrections and child welfare in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I retired as CEO of Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba. Subsequently I became a member of the Board of Brandon Regional Health Authority, becoming Chair one year later. I continued as Chair through a series of amalgamations, stepping down prior to my move to New Westminster in 2016.
In the interim I became involved with the Manitoba Institute of Patient Safety as a volunteer and member of the Patient Advisory Committee. At the personal level, I lost both parents, my only sibling, and most recently my husband, all to cancer. I have a strong interest in promoting patient safety.
Having become interested in palliative care, I currently serve on the Board of Crossroads Hospice Society. I also volunteer with Battered Women’s Support Services on a casual basis at My Sister’s Closet.
I am very impressed with the focus of the BC SUPPORT Unit and look forward to participating as a member of the Patient Council.
Myrna Scarff (Victoria)
I am a former teacher of students with a variety of learning difficulties and foster mom to several children with medical and emotional problems.
My lived experience with the medical system was as both a breast cancer survivor 12 years ago with bilateral mastectomy followed by a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy and hysterectomy as well as removal of the fallopian tubes and cervix when I found out I had the brca 1 gene. I am the third of 4 sisters to get breast cancer. The first sister passed away at 33 years old. The gene has passed down to children and grandchildren. Those who have the gene but not cancer have had prophylactic surgeries. Two years ago, I had my right lung removed due to lung cancer.
My, now adult son, was born a blue baby due to his pulmonary valve being closed. He also had two holes in his heart. He had emergency surgery at 3 days and again at 14 months and later, as an adult, a tricuspid valve replaced. He has suffered from mental health and learning difficulties all his life due to what I believe to be lack of oxygen.
I am also familiar with drug addiction and set up a 12-step program for NARANON (families and friends of addicts). I am a member of Patient Voices Network.
Rich Sobel (Port Moody)
My name is Rich Sobel and I am a semi-retired senior citizen. I have a PhD in cell and molecular biology from Syracuse University and did molecular research on prostate cancer for over 7 years before moving into the fields of project management and ultimately, grant facilitation. As a research facilitator for the Child and Family Research Institute, I helped numerous healthcare researchers attain funding for their research on childhood maladies. Six years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and opted to have my prostate removed. Testing since then has not revealed any signs of cancer recurrence so I view myself as a survivor who may yet recur at some unknown point in the future and I am thankful for whatever time I have left. The past few years I have been working part time with a start-up biomedical diagnostics company, Fusion Genomics, as their Director of Communications and Government Relations. My hobbies and personal interests include playing and composing traditional fiddle and mandolin music, running, hiking, photography and Tai chi. I am also a long-time Buddhist meditation practitioner. The Patient Council BC SUPPORT participation will be my second patient partner position.
Sarah Fletcher (Vancouver)
I am currently a first year medical student at UBC, and previously studied health sciences at the University of Calgary. Over the past several years, I have been involved as a youth advisor on both health care and health research councils, including the KidsCan research initiative at BC Children’s Hospital, the Child and Youth Advisory Council at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the ConnectCare Clinical Information System project in Alberta, and the International Children’s Advisory Network. In addition to my passion for patient and family engagement in research and health care, I am also passionate about the inclusion of children with special needs in recreational activities and have volunteered and worked for several thousand hours in this field. In my ever-diminishing free time, I enjoy reading and listening to audiobooks, eating sushi with friends, and spending time with my family and our two dogs, Dexter and Louis.
Sherri Mytopher (Fort St. John)
Sherri has been working in the financial services industry for 16 years and is currently on the Board of Directors with the Northern Regional Chapter of the MS Society of Canada. Being diagnosed with MS so young, she felt it was important to have her voice heard and bring awareness about MS to her community.
She is passionate about being a part of heath research and making the health care system better for everyone.
Sherri enjoys volunteering, traveling, attending sporting events with her husband and being an advocate for people living with MS.
Sunny Loo (Sooke)
Sunny is a volunteer with the Patients as Partners/Patient Voice Network. A pharmacist by training with a focus on technology and innovations, Sunny’s 35 years in the profession included development of innovative patient support programs, implementation of medication management pilot programs in several provincial jurisdictions, and participation in the Ontario e-Health initiative as Director of e-Health for the Ontario Pharmacists Association.
Currently Sunny and his wife operate a consulting practice that strives to better understand physician practices.
However, most importantly, Sunny is a patient living with a rare form of vasculitis (Wegener’s Granulomatosis) for the past 7 years. Having been a part of the health care system as both a professional and as a patient, he looks forward to sharing his experience with others.