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Mining for Miracles

on 1/25/2017
We spoke with Co-Chairs of Mining for Miracles 2017, Joanne Klein from Goldcorp and Jeff Hanman from Teck. Through Mining for Miracles, the mining industry has raised almost $27 million in support of child health in British Columbia and the Yukon. Thousands owe their health, wellbeing and even lives to this nonprofit. Mining for Miracles focuses on areas and advances that have the greatest impact on their communities. One advancement is a simple blood test that can be sent to a hospital that can diagnose 7000 illnesses without having the child visit the hospital. In one case, this diagnosed a five-year-old girl, who had been ill from birth with a mystery illness. Mining for Miracles will be at the Cambridge house Vancouver Recourse Investment Convention on January 22-23 and at Roundup all this week. Be sure to stop by their booth.

Ian Anderson, Jeff Hanman, Ed Morash and Geoff Brick from Teck at Pie Throw 2016

Dr. Allen Alper: It's a very important organization. I'm glad to hear the mining community is supporting children's hospitals and taking care of children. This is Dr. Allen Alper talking with Joanne Klein and Jeff Hanman. Could you tell me a bit about Mining for Miracles, your plans and goals and how you've helped the community?

Jeff Hanman: Mining for Miracles is really a great example of the generosity and community spirit of the mining industry. Every year, since 1988, regardless of market conditions, thousands of people, women and men from across the sector, dig into their own wallets and donate to support children in British Columbia and the Yukon. Today, after 30 years of activity, through Mining for Miracles, the industry has raised almost $27 million in support of children’s health. As a result of that, there are literally thousands of people now, living in every corner of our province, who are healthier and in some cases, have had their lives saved because of the work of our industry. I think that's a tremendous legacy for the mining industry and the men and women who work in it across our province.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's really great. It’s wonderful that the men and women of the mining industry contribute to the medical care of the children in the community. Would you like to elaborate, Joanne?

Joanne Klein: Yes. I think the initiatives that Mining for Miracles have sponsored over time speak to the innovation and forward-looking nature of our business and our employees. The men and women who are employees are also recipients of the services. They are a very engaged, very energetic group, who get involved with Mining for Miracles, because they believe in paying it forward, and supporting what's happening in our local communities. That's extremely important to us as an industry.

Dr. Allen Alper: Could you give our readers some examples and elaborate on how Mining for Miracles is helping the children in the local communities?

Jeff Hanman: Sure. One of the things that's unique about Mining for Miracles is as an industry we actually work with the hospital to pick the initiatives we fund. For many years now, we've seen ourselves as similar to a venture capital fund for the hospital. We combine our expertise as an industry with the expertise of the hospital to identify initiatives that can improve a really great healthcare facility and make it excellent. For example, last year we were raising funds for a new facility at the hospital, called the CAUSES Clinic, which allowed the hospital to scan for over 7,000 different illnesses with one simple blood test. Children and their families in remote communities could have a simple blood test done, without leaving their community, in order to have a diagnosis.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's wonderful! Could you tell me a bit more about some of the projects, fund-raising, and other aspects of Mining for Miracles?

Joanne Klein: This will be my second year involved with Mining for Miracles. It’s a great organization because you can see a direct link to the value it creates. When I was given a tour of the hospital, one of the areas the foundation showed me was the simulation clinic, funded by a Mining for Miracles campaign a few years ago. It is a set of rooms in BC Children's Hospital, where scenarios are created for nurses and doctors, who come together as a team to practice different techniques, on different cases. They can perfect their skills, their timing and what it means to work together as a team as the conditions around them are changing.

They use mannequins that were funded by Mining for Miracles. When I had walked into this simulation clinic, there was a mannequin who was a young boy, probably around six or seven years old, the same age as my son. This mannequin had blinking eyes, he was breathing, his chest was moving up and down. They have the power, with the technology that Mining for Miracles funded, to make the mannequin go blue and stop breathing, have all sorts of different heart rates and monitors and so forth.

Mining for Miracles is making sure that not just the facilities but also the training of the staff is excellent so they perfect their skills as a team on a mannequin before a patient. That educational component has also improved our excellent facilities at BC Children's Hospital.

Eira Thomas from Kaminak and Mark O’Dea from Oxygen Capital at Teck Pie Throw 2016

Dr. Allen Alper: That sounds excellent.

Jeff Hanman: Maybe I can just give one additional example as well. Last year I met one of the families that had benefited directly from a Mining for Miracles initiative, the CAUSES Clinic, that we were funding at the time. They had a five year old girl, who had been pretty sick since birth with what the hospital refers to as a mystery illness. They knew she was sick but they didn't know what was wrong with her, and for five years that family had been searching for a diagnosis.

You can imagine the stress that comes with that, of knowing your child's ill, but not being able to figure out what's wrong with them, and not knowing how to best treat them as a result of that. Once the mining industry had funded the CAUSES Clinic, and built it, with one test that child and family was able to get a diagnosis, which after five years of searching for answers, had a transformational impact on that family. They now know what's wrong with their daughter, know that there are other people who have this illness, know how the illness will progress, and know what treatment options are available.

Dr. Allen Alper: Well, that sounds excellent. If anyone wanted to send a contribution to Mining for Miracles where should they send it?

Joanne Klein: Maybe I can speak to our signature events. Certainly the premier signature event that we have for Mining for Miracles is our Pie Throw. I was also a pie-ee in 2016. I was competing against a lady at Teck to raise money for the CAUSES Clinic. It's just such a great opportunity to get involved with Mining for Miracles in a very fun way. Of course there's nothing that our industry likes more than bragging rights and competing, so that's a great opportunity for us.

We also have other signature events and Diamond Draw is one where we will be selling tickets. It's an opportunity for individuals to win a $16,000 Canadian diamond package. We sell raffle tickets for that opportunity and we will be attending some of the industry events coming up for the next few months.

We also participate in Jeans Day and Slo-Pitch. Again all of our employees and the mining companies are involved in that. I think more importantly it's really a case of if you want to donate then we have all sorts of opportunities and perhaps Jeff can speak to that in terms of our outreach program.

Jeff Hanman: Yeah. One of the great things about Mining for Miracles is there's no overhead, so whether it's a one-dollar donation or a $50 donation or larger, all of those funds go to the hospital. Any overhead associated with the initiative is covered by the companies themselves across the sector. So if you're donating money you know it goes straight into child health. As Joanne outlined, there are five signature events that we use to raise money, but many companies also run their own events, everything from bake sales in the office to auctions to even mini pie throws that happen in the offices and at some of the mine operations. Last year in the steelmaking coal operations, I know that many of the sites held their own pie throws with their employees where the general managers would take literally dozens and dozens of pies in the face all to raise funds for the hospital. Dr. Allen Alper: A great bunch of people! Could you tell me a bit about both of your backgrounds, the organization, and its membership?

2012 East Kootenay Mine Rescue Competition buddy with winning team - greenhills

Jeff Hanman: Starting with the organization, Mining for Miracles is an initiative that brings together the entire mining industry. We have people involved right from the smallest exploration companies through to some of the large majors that are active in British Columbia, like Goldcorp and Teck, but also each of the active mines in the province run major initiatives as well as all of the supplier industries, so engineering firms, law firms and companies like SMS Equipment and Finning. Basically, if you name a company that has a connection to the mining industry, they're involved in Mining for Miracles.

It really is a very broad, industry-wide initiative that raises funds for the children's hospital. In terms of my own background, in addition to being co-chair of Mining for Miracles, I also work at Teck, which is one of the mining companies here in Vancouver. The reasons I got involved are twofold. It's a great way to meet other people who work in the industry. But mainly, you don't get many opportunities in life to be a part of something that saves a child's life and that's what this initiative does. It actually does that. There are children, who are alive and healthier today all across our province because of the work Mining for Miracles does. That's a pretty rare opportunity.

Dr. Allen Alper: That's wonderful. I really feel that's great that you're giving your time and your effort, and support for this cause. I think that's really a very fine thing to do. How about you, Joanne? What is your background?

Joanne Klein: I'm with Goldcorp, and as Jeff said, we are also a mining company headquartered in Vancouver. My background is on the HR side of things, so when I was asked to be one of the individuals who would kind of be taking a pie, I really didn't hesitate because I really saw it as an opportunity to do something fun for a really good cause, and that was really how it started. Going back to this case in point around my example of the simulation clinic, my son choked on something and was taken to BC Children's Hospital to be evaluated just to make sure that everything was okay because I wasn't with him at the time. We haven't had to use too many of the Hospital’s services, but when we really needed it, it was there for us.

I'm now in a position where I'm more involved than I was last year, and I'm very proud to be because I know that I even have employees at Goldcorp who have had to use the services at BC Children's Hospital and equipment that is only available at BC Children's Hospital. If BC Children's Hospital was not there, their children, their sons, their daughters, would not be alive today. As Jeff said, and I think it's really important that we don't have many opportunities in life to truly make a difference, and if we can, if through my energies and my efforts, I can contribute to one life being saved in this province, then I feel really great about that. I know Jeff has many stories about families who have come to talk to him and express their appreciation for what the industry has done for their child.

Dr. Allen Alper: Well, that's really wonderful. I am very proud of both of you and Mining for Miracles. I think that's a wonderful and great thing to do for the community. Children's lives are so important, health is so important. I've interviewed Rob McEwen many times, and he's very active in supporting health issues, he and his wife. I'm glad to see the mining industry, as a whole is supporting health and medical issues. I think that's an excellent thing to do. Is there anything else either of you would like to add?

Jeff Hanman: Mining for Miracles is an industry-wide passion. In some ways it's the easiest charity to be involved in because no matter where I go in the industry, all I hear from people is how can I help? How can we do more? Even last year in the early spring you'll recall, we were moving through one of the worst periods in the history of commodity markets, particularly in January 2015, and yet the industry still came together around this initiative. When I say the industry, I really mean the people who work in it every day, came together and dug deep and we were still able to raise $1.7 million dollars last year, in one of the industry's worst downturns. I think that's just a tremendous testament to the commitment and values of the people who work in our industry.

Dr. Allen Alper: Well, that's excellent. That shows that people are willing, even in tough times, to contribute to a very important cause.

Jeff Hanman: We really appreciate you taking the time to interview us today.

Joanne Klein: Thank you very much indeed.

Dr. Allen Alper: Both of you have a wonderful day, and also have a great 2017 and a successful campaign for Mining for Miracles.

Want to get involved? Contact Veronika Spencer, Philanthropy Officer, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation or 604-875-2504

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