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December 14, 2007
Hamilton Health Sciences, ON --

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

Toronto, ON - Kids' Health Links Foundation (KHLF), McMaster Children's Hospital (MCH) and TELUS today announced the launch of Upopolis.com, the first secure online social network for kids in hospital care.

Powered by TELUS, Upopolis.com 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 Upopolis.com, 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. "The private sector has a vital role to play in helping Canadian healthcare providers continue to modernize and improve the patient experience. Nowhere is this more real than for our kids. 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 visit telus.com.

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 partners.

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.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Krista Maling
Senior Public Relations Specialist, McMaster Children's Hospital
(905) 521-2100, ext. 76589
maling@hhsc.ca

 

Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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