Board of Directors
Pam Husband, Co-Founder, Director, and Acting / Interim Executive Director
Pam’s relationship with The Canadian SADS Foundation began in 1990 after the sudden unexpected death of her 16 year old son Greg. Greg had suffered for 10 years with startle-induced fainting. He had been misdiagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. His sister was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome a year after his death.
In the fall of 1994, the “Toronto Star” agreed to print the family story about the events leading up to Greg’s tragic death. The public response was overwhelming and resulted in over a thousand calls of enquiry from other affected families across Canada.
In early 1995, a group of affected parents and healthcare providers began the work of creating a registered Canadian charity and together they thought they would save the world from the ravages of inherited cardiac rhythm disorders. They had no idea how daunting that task was. Today, this evolving challenge has become international in scope and requires on-going efforts, not only from researchers and physicians, but also from the national and international SADS communities of patients and their families.
For Pam, the driving force behind her work with the Foundation has been threefold. Her son’s death and her daughter’s courage in dealing with LQTS have taught her more about living than she could ever have imagined.
The third impetus comes from the patients and families who are willing to share their stories and demonstrate their resilience to carry on their lives and to inspire others to do the same. Every one of you and your life stories have become an integral part of this heart-felt mission to save the lives and support the families of children and young adults who are genetically predisposed to heart rhythm abnormalities.
Please support The Canadian SADS Foundation and its new board who are committed to building a sustainable organization able to move forward and continue to deliver its important programs to the Canadian SADS community.
It is Pam’s fervent belief that if we all work together, we can make the future brighter for all of us.
Pam currently resides in Ottawa, ON. Besides devoting many hours per month to the Canadian SADS Foundation, Pam enjoys socializing with her friends and family, traveling, playing and teaching duplicate bridge, reading, and generally embracing life as it comes.
Nadia Larson, Chairperson
We are excited to welcome Nadia Larson as the new Board Chair of the Canadian SADS Foundation.
In August 2019, Nadia unexpectedly experienced the devastating loss of her 16-year-old son Wes Birdsell. Nadia and her family were shocked to learn that Wes passed away because of an undiagnosed heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
After learning Wes had HCM, Nadia connected with the Canadian SADS Foundation to learn more. It has become her mission help raise awareness and educate others about HCM, so no other families go through the same experience.
Nadia is keenly involved in fund-raising projects for the Foundation and is excited to be part of the team to move the Canadian SADS Foundation into a new and sustainable future.
Michael (Mike) Stark, Treasurer
Michael (Mike) Stark graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2009 and worked as a Communications and Electronics Engineer in the Canadian Armed Forces until medically retiring in 2017 due to the diagnosis of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC).
After medical retirement, he completed an Executive Masters of Business Administration, Global Leadership from the University of Fredericton in 2019. He moved to Ottawa in 2019 to assume his current position as a Section Head within the Department of National Defence in the Ottawa Region as an IT Operations Manager. Mike has been extremely fortunate in his career within Defence to now be working in progressive management opportunities that expose him to a wide range of experiences within the Government of Canada.
Mike is married to a very supportive wife Mary-Anne Stark who also works within the Canadian Armed Forces. They have two children, Alexander (15) and Elizabeth (11), who are both active youth within their schools and community. Since his diagnosis of ARVC in 2012, Mike has slowed down from playing competitive sports like hockey and soccer to focus on his passion for golf and is enjoying sport through his children. Mike has volunteered for other activities in the past such as Membership Committees at various golf courses as well as serving as a Head Coach and Trainer for local minor hockey associations.
This is Mike’s first opportunity to work with a Board of Directors for a charitable organization. He is looking forward to working with the SADS Community and helping to positively steer the future of The Canadian SADS Foundation.
Julie Rutberg, Secretary
Julie Rutberg is a certified Genetic Counsellor with nearly 20 years of experience working in cardiac genetics. Her introduction to cardiac genetics was at Johns Hopkins Hospital where she helped set up the clinical and research program for Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy(ARVC). She later moved to Ottawa, Ontario and worked at the Ottawa Heart Institute, primarily in an Inherited Arrhythmia clinic. Currently she is a member of the CHEO Regional Genetics team providing cardiac genetic services in Eastern Ontario. In 2022, she received the Allied Health Professional Achievement Award from the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society in recognition of her hard work to move the field of cardiac genetic counselling forward in Canada.
Julie has been involved with the Canadian SADS Foundation for many years and has spoken at conferences and referred many health care professionals, as well as patients to the Canadian SADS Foundation. As an allied health professional, Julie hopes that her experience of helping patients and families find and adapt to a diagnosis, as well as work in the health care system, will be helpful for the Canadian SADS Foundation board of directors.
Robert Boudreau, Director
Robert Boudreau grew up in Antigonish, NS and now resides in Dartmouth, NS with his wife Maria. Rob and Maria have raised 3 children and now spend leisure time entertaining friends and family, hiking their own province and traveling world-wide.
Rob is a retired Advanced Care Paramedic. During his career he was a supporter of community education and awareness programs such as CPR/AED, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.
Rob became involved ten years ago with The Canadian SADS Foundation because he believes in the importance of promoting awareness of the SADS warning signs and fulfilling the mission of the Canadian SADS Foundation to save the lives and support the families of children and young adults who are genetically predisposed to heart rhythm abnormalities.
Rob is looking forward to participating in the on-going board activities that will ensure the sustainable future of The Canadian SADS Foundation.
Tim Westhaver, Director
Tim Westhaver was born in Halifax and is a lifelong Nova Scotian.
After graduating from Saint Mary’s University, Tim embarked on his chosen career in the printing industry, ultimately creating Meridian Communications. In collaboration with other partners, Meridian became Atlantic Canada’s most successful print broker.
He is married to his wife Susan. Together they have two children. Tim and Susan spend their winter months in Dartmouth and enjoy their summers in Cape Breton where Tim is able to indulge his love of golf.
Tim has been involved in minor hockey. He is a past president of Saint Mary’s University Alumni Association.
Presently he teaches resource reading for Halifax Regional School Board and has recently become an avid member of the Board of Directors for The Canadian SADS Foundation.