Nathan, Adam, Meredith, and Savannah decorated the tree. Not pictured are team members Christine Parks and Mike Harding.
Each year StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs sponsor a tree in the Festival of Trees fundraising campaign for BC Children’s Hospital. For the past 24 years the Festival of Trees has created a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise much-needed funds for BC Children’s Hospital. The festival knits together the incredibly generous community of Victoria in what has become, over the last two decades, a cherished holiday tradition and the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in the city.
This year the StarFish Medical/ViVitro Labs tree’s theme is: We look deeper to help make holidays healthy for everyone!” The tree design featured an LED X-ray branch outline and ornaments that included hand crafted “x-ray” images. A custom booklet hangs on the tree to share the significance of our work and the tree’s design. Judges awarded the concept and execution top marks in all categories.
Highlights of the 2016 Festival of Trees Victoria:
85 beautiful trees were decorated, and over 550 guests attended the Kick-Off Celebration
$106,400 was raised through tree registrations
$170,500 raised during the season to support the most urgent needs of BC Children’s Hospital
StarFish Medical/ViVitro Labs tree ranked #11 in the 2016 Festival of Trees People’s Choice Voting Results
The Festival of Trees Online Voting System
The Festival of Trees Online Voting System is an fundraising tool for online vote collection. Visitors can make a donation and vote for their favourite tree (STARFISH/VIVITRO) at the Festival of Trees. Victoria Festival of Trees StarFish Medical Webpage
Triathlon of Compassion: Human Powered Racing for a Great Cause
June 28, 2016
Bjarne, Scott, and Dustin celebrate at the finish line.
Scott Phillips, Dustin Demontigny, and Bjarne Hansen represented StarFish Medical in the Triathlon of Compassion on June 26, 2016. The StarFish Medical team placed 1st in two categories: 1st place Team, and Highest Fundraising Team. They completed the course with a total time of 1:07:21, and raised $2501 for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. The annual event is a fun, sprint-distance triathlon put on by Human Powered Racing that benefits the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. The triathlon starts at 0730 with the 500m swim, at the Esquimalt Rec pool. Bjarne will probably hit the water at ~0830. About 8 minutes later he’ll tag off with Scott, who will scoot around the bike course 3 times, for a total of 20km. He should be at it for 40 minutes or so, and will then pass the torch to Dustin, who has a scenic 5km run down to the ocean and back.
The team was in it for fun and to help raise funds for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. Bjarne’s partner Barb is a Counsellor at the Centre. The team fundraising page remains open for donations. A big Wooot! to all three for their winning performances and fundraising success.
Bike to Work Week 2016 sets new company record
June 7, 2016
Team StarFish Medical/ViVitro Labs logged 1,483 km during Bike to Work Week Victoria 2016, our best year yet! That’s 44,482 Calories burned and 322kg of greenhouse gasses saved. Congratulations to Team Captain, Joe McMahen, and the 31 riders in the Bike to Work Week 2016 team.
ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical raised $7,741.10 for VIATeC‘s 2015 Winter Food Bank Challenge in support of the Mustard Seed foodbank. Activities included a highly successful chili/curry cook-off in November.
The Victoria Times Colonist summed up the Food Bank Challenge in an article dated December 10, 2015, that included StarFish Medical’s activities.
“VIATEC’s 13th annual Food Bank Challenge wrapped over the weekend, raising $73,584 in cash plus food donations that were being weighed this week. The organization’s February food drive brought in $51,636.
The Mustard Seed’s buying power nearly doubles the total amount raised to $245,941. Since its inception, the VIATEC Food Bank Challenge has raised just under $2 million.” wrote Andrew Duffy.
Thanks to Hayley Young for leading the combined company drive, the Social Committee for organizing the cook-off, and to all employees for being so generous with their time and donations,
2015 Festival of Trees
November 18, 2015
Congratulations to Mike Harding, DeAndra Chmelyk, Debbie Gould, Hayley Young, Nathan Muller and Kimberly Nguyen for creating a magical (and award winning) tree for the 2015 Festival of Trees fundraiser.
Every year, Victoria Festival of Trees creates a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Sponsors, local businesses, organizations and individuals come together and decorate trees in a sometimes wacky, often irreverent and always beautiful fashion. The festival invites visitors to browse through the holiday displays and donate to vote for their favourite trees. The event offers sponsors, like StarFish Medical and ViVitro Labs, an opportunity to demonstrate community leadership, show their creative talents and support child health. – See more
The 2015 event raised $135,000 for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
23 Cyclists show StarFish Bike to Work Week Spirit
May 25, 2015
StarFish and ViVitro employees enthusiastically supported the annual Bike to Work Week commuter challenge. The photo above shows first morning cyclists for the 2015 celebration. In total 23 members of this year’s StarFish and ViVitro Bike to Work Week team cycled, walked, and bused a total distance of 833 km. In Greater Victoria over 130,000 km were recorded during Bike to Work Week! That works out to 28,500 kg of greenhouse gasses saved and 3,950,000 calories burned.
This year’s team captain, Joe McMahen (with bike above), is a ViVitro Labs product manager. Joe summed up the experience with a nod to the future, “Thanks again to all who participated. I hope you all enjoyed your rides and continue to cycle to work when possible.”
Chili/Curry Cook-off raises $255+ for Mustard Seed food bank
April 8, 2015
The Mustard Seed food bank will receive a great donation of $255 + from our 2015 Chili/Curry Cook-off. Thanks to Mark Drlik and the social committee for organizing, and to Christine Park, Sal Sanci, Michael Lubben, Nigel Syrotuck, Bjarne Hansen,and Paul Charlebois for cooking up a storm.
In addition to adding funds for the Mustard Seed food bank, bragging rights went to the cooking winners:
1st Prize – DANA
2nd Prize – CAM
3rd Prize – MIKE L
ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical raised $4080 for VIATeC‘s 2015 Food Bank Challenge in support of the Mustard Seed foodbank. StarFish and ViVitro employees donated $3,864.55 to the Victoria Mustard Seed in 2013.
The VIATeC Food Bank Challenge has been running for 12 years. With over $1,589,457 value of food and cash donated from Greater Victoria Technology companies, this year’s Food Bank Challenge raised over $45,000. With the Mustard Seed’s buying power this number essentially doubles! On top of the cash, the challenge also brought in over 1500 pounds of food (worth over $4,000!) Congratulations to all the StarFish and ViVitro employees who participated in the event.
StarFish and ViVitro Labs deliver "Operation Christmas" for Festival of Trees
November 21, 2014
The 2014 joint StarFish Medical-ViVitro Labs Festival of Trees entry celebrates two Christmas holiday icons while adding a medical engineering twist for kids of all ages. Grinch and the long-time board game favorite “Operation” were combined to give a medical twist to the companies’ Christmas tree.
For over 22 years the Festival of Trees has transformed The Victoria BC Fairmont Empress into a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital. Local businesses, organizations and individuals decorate the trees in a sometimes wacky, often irreverent, and always beautiful fashion. The trees are displayed throughout the holiday season, beginning November 19, 2014, through to January 6, 2015.
Decked in lab outfits, StarFish-ViVitro design team, Christian McMechan, DeAndra Chmelyk, Debbie Anderson, James Jackson, and Janet Murray, created electro-mechanical magic filled with syringes, gauze, multiple Operation games, a Grinch from the 1980s (thanks, eBay!) and a massive heart. This is the third entry for the team and the second interactive tree.
“We love giving the kids a tree they can play with”, notes Christian McMechan, head buzzer and light engineer. Along with the tree and Silver Sponsorship, StarFish and ViVitro donated money and toys to the annual event. Congratulations to the team on a great looking tree that is delighting visitors and raising money for a great cause.
Engineering staff judge at annual UVic Engineering Competition (UVEC)
November 14, 2014
StarFish Medical Mechanical Engineers, Nigel Syrotuck and Julian Grove were guest judges at the annual UVic Engineering Competition (UVEC). Held on November 15, 2014 at the University of Victoria, the UVEC competition involves team and individual entries in categories such as junior and senior design, communications, impromptu debate, consulting, re-engineering, and innovative design. StarFish is a corporate sponsor.
“I had a great time judging this year’s UVEC, which was the most attended – by far – to date. Some teams were challenged to consult on the feasibility of Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Victoria, and each presented a unique and well thought out solution”, enthused Nigel. “It is great to see such developing talent emerging in Victoria and I hope to be involved again in 2015.”
The event is a qualifier for the regional WEC (Western Engineering Competition). If students are successful at WEC, there is also the opportunity to continue on to the national level, at the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC). Engineering competitions promote sharing of ideas between students, and push them to challenge themselves. It also provides an amazing opportunity for networking between motivated teams and individuals.
StarFish Medical Regulatory Advisor & Project Manager, Vincent Crabtree PhD, enjoyed his judging experience in 2013: “I was a judge last year and the hypothetical engineering project was to develop a low cost, rugged ambulance for emerging countries. They had the usual constraints – availability, cost and functionality (although not time), and it was an interesting experience.”
StarFish Team Places in UrbaCity 2014 Corporate Face-Off For Prostate Centre
June 9, 2014
L-R Joe, Shaun, Tim, and Dana represent StarFish in the 2014 UrbaCity Corporate Challenge for the Prostate Centre.
Sunday, June 8, 2014, Dana Trousil, Joe Bogner, Shaun Barry, and Tim Cummings represented StarFish Medical in the UrbaCity 2014 Corporate Face-Off, which pits local Victoria businesses against the course, and against one another to raise funds for The Prostate Centre, Victoria BC.
StarFish Medical and the employee Social Committee sponsored the team’s registration and fundraising. The StarFish team did us proud by achieving 7th place against 14 other corporate team competitors.
Shaun “(No Nick Name)” Barry summed up his experience: “I will never ride a Segway again. Walking down stairs is hard.” Tim Cummings added: “It’s difficult to move today.”
L-R: Dana, Tim and Joe complete the deep breathing portion of the challenge.
UrbaCity 2014 was a complete success. Thanks to the generosity of racers and sponsors, the event raised a total of $37,200 for The Prostate Centre. Each team did an amazing job and showed incredible spirit – check out the official Race Results page to see how UrbaCity teams did – and who came in first!
UrbaCity has three goals:
To raise funds for The Prostate Centre
To build more awareness of Victoria businesses
To have fun!
The Prostate Centre offers prostate cancer programs and services to local men and their families. These include community education, awareness and outreach, patient counseling and follow-up, collaboration and research and more. A not-for-profit staffed primarily by volunteers, The Prostate Centre is the only centre of its kind in Canada.
StarFish Employees Bike to Work for #biketoworkvic 2014
May 27, 2014
(L to R) Scott, Bjarne, Christian, John, Garrick, Kalonica, Mike, Lori, Jason, Jess, and Joe fill the empty parking spaces in front of StarFish and ViVitro on Day 1.
VICTORIA, British Columbia, May 27, 2014 – StarFish Medical announces seventeen StarFishMedical and ViVitroLabsstaff members shattered their Bike To Work Week Victoria 2010 first day results of 63.24 kilometres. This year’s team biked over 100 kilometres to and from work on day 1 of 2014.
Riders from both years include Bjarne Hansen, Niall Parker, John Walmsley, Paul Charlebois, Scott Phillips, and Ted Hodson. Joining them are Christian McMechan, Dean Addison, Joseph Bogner, Kalonica Christie; Jason Dolynny, Rob Fraser, Jess Hickman, Joe McMahen, Mike Sanders, Gerry Wight, and team organizer, Garrick Gunn.
About BTWBC: Bike to Work BC is a registered non-profit society governed by a board of directors. Vision: To experience the joy of an ever increasing number of people safely commuting by bicycle. Mission: Encourage more people in all BC communities to commute by bicycle through Bike to Work initiatives. We will secure and share resources and best practices that will stimulate growth in commuter cycling. In 2013, more than 35 regions/communities participated with the following stats: 19,860 Participants; 3,634 First-time commuter cyclists; 3,175 Workplace teams participated; 734,973 Kilometres were cycled; 170,516 Kilograms of CO2 were saved from entering the atmosphere; 20,138,260 Calories were burned; and $47,388 In Gas saved.
Each year, ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical participate in the VIATeC’s fundraising efforts for the Mustard Seed foodbank. Towards the end of the campaign period, we have some staff “volunteer” for the Harbour Hop, which is organized by Contech. Harbour Hop involves jumping into the Victoria BC Inner Harbour wearing a crazy outfit (or a swim suit) all for the sake of fundraising and a chance to be on the evening news! Those already jumping are Rob Fraser, Mike Harding, Martine Janicki & Gerry Wight – pretty cool, huh?
Through individual donations, the Social Committee’s donation, the 50/50 draws, the chili cook-off and the online auction, StarFish and ViVitro employees donated an amazing $3,864.55 to the Victoria Mustard Seed in 2013.
The VIATeC Food Bank Challenge has been running for 11 years. To date $1,543,457 value of food and cash has been donated from Greater Victoria Technology companies. Last year $87,325 in cash and 3421 of pounds of food was donated to the Mustard Seed food Bank. But there’s so much more that we can do! The food drive runs from November 12th to December 6th, 2013.
Rob, Gerry, Scott, Martine, Mike & Lori braved the icy waters on Thursday, November 28, 2013.
Thank you to these brave flyers and to all ViVitro Labs and StarFish Medical employees for your support of the Mustard Seed. While we may joke about the money we raise in terms of the people that will be swimming, your donations will feed a lot of people who really need the support. Thank you!
Vegetarian Upset at 4th Annual ViVitro-StarFish Chili Challenge for the Mustard Seed
Debbie and her certificate
December 02, 2013 — VICTORIA BC– Huge thanks to everyone who participated by making the delicious chillis and side dishes. And those who paid for lunch – today’s event raised $116 for the Mustard Seed. The favourite side-dish was Rob Fraser’s cornbread in the silver pan. Mmmmmmmm!
In first place, and the new reigning champion of the StarFish Chilli Cookoff, TED HODSON! Congrats to Ted, the first ever Veggie Chilli winner in the four year history of this event.
In second place, last year’s reigning champion: Debbie Anderson (prize – hot sauce).
In third place, with the super meaty chilli: newcomer, Mike Camplin (prize – chilli’s for his next batch).
StarFish and ViVitro Volunteers Add Magic Entry to Festival of Trees 2013
November 22, 2013
Magical colors for good girls and boys.
The joint StarFish-Vivitro magic entry in this year’s Festival of Trees is a smash hit. Appealing to young visitors, our tree magically changes colors at the command of good girls and boys. Based upon early reaction, choosing the tree light colors is like eating potato chips. Once you start, you just can’t stop with one.
Volunteers on Opening Night: Mike, Bjarne, Janet, Christian, Ryan, Martine
Many thanks to the entire Festival of Trees volunteer team (Bjarne Hansen, Christian McMechan, Debbie Anderson, Janet Murray, Jess Hickman, Martine Janicki, Ryan Lee, Shane Reierson, and Stephen Leckenby.) If you are in Victoria, please head down to the Empress hotel for a bit of the magic before January 7, 2014. It really is a festival of wonderful trees.
A few highlights from the Festival of Trees Victoria:
73 beautiful trees were decorated on Thursday night and over 450 people were in attendance for the Decorating Reception.
$84,700 was raised through tree sponsorships and $4,000 was raised through the balloon draw.
Volunteer teams raised a combined total of $11,086 through your bribing and Spirit of Giving donations!
StarFish and ViVitro Participate in BC Children's Hospital Festival of Trees Event
November 29, 2012
Each year the team at StarFish Medical takes part in the Festival of Trees, a community event that raises funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital. This year was no exception and StarFish team (comprised of Steve, Christian, Ted, and Debbie, plus a host of StarFish advisors ;- ) went all out with their creative skills and created a ‘living tree’, complete with a heart at its centre and ‘blood’ pumping all around its boughs. It even has an audible heartbeat! The entire effect was very cool and the judges seemed to think so as well since they honoured us with the “Best Decorated Tree” award.
For those of you who are interested in the nitty gritty engineering/design details of how the tree was decorated, Steve and Christian have come through for you.
Notes from Steve
The idea was originally just based on the blood pumping around inside clear tubes concept. From there we thought of adding the heart and blood bags to make a more complete theme for the tree.
To create the visible pumping effect I knew that we needed to have a bright red liquid and a 50/50 ratio of air and liquid inside the tube so that you could easily see the movement. I started by using a steady flow pump but this did not work because the air bubbles all gathered in one spot and the pump only worked when it was primed with fluid. My next attempt was to use a voice coil to drive a 60ml syringe. I did not get the power or the displacement required out of the voice coil, and did not want to use a large expensive one to increase the power. I finally borrowed a gear motor from Allan and mad a bracket which cycled the plunger of the cylinder in and out with the rotation of the motor shaft. This worked very well to pressurize the tube of air and liquid and create a visible motion of the fake blood.
The team combined this moving fluid tube with white gauze bandage on the tree to create a stunning effect. Christian rigged up a sub-woofer with the sound of his own beating heart which added an extra level of experience to the theme, while Cam provided a model heart centerpiece in the middle of the tree.
Notes from Christian
The heartbeat that you hear is mine and is from the work I did previously in developing my own electronic stethoscope
Heartbeat sound was taken at the third left intercostal space (Erb’s point), where the most pronounced heartbeat is usually heard (especially S2)
The sound was recorded using a prototype wireless electronic stethoscope
There is a subwoofer in a box that is playing the sound
Red and white lighting were chosen to best accentuate the plastic veins around the tree and the gauze
January 12, 2012
Lego, robots, and science – What’s not to love?
We admit it, we’re suckers for Lego. After all, what industrial designer, engineer, or physicist can resist the allure of all that plastic potential? Add robotics, a science theme and kids to the mix and you’ve got an event that we wouldn’t miss for the world. If you haven’t heard of First Lego League, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s a worldwide organization that holds an annual competition for kids aged 9-13 to flex their research and problem solving skills and come up with a project and Lego robot that addresses a particular scientific area.
Last year the theme was medical devices (yes, we were pretty excited by that) and this year the theme was food safety. As always, we were happy to donate resources to this cause, but the best part for us, by far, was having the opportunity to attend the event as judges and spectators and get to talk to the kids about their projects. The enthusiasm, energy, and intelligence the kids displayed was fantastic. We took a few photos, but really, you had to be there to get the full effect. Keep an eye out for an FLL event in your neighborhood or check out this link for more information: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/
December 24, 2010
Who knew that excess wiring and circuit boards could help sick kids?
When StarFish was invited to decorate a corporate Christmas tree to raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital, we jumped at the chance. After raiding the inventory room for interesting bits and pieces and finding some great photos of client projects from Marketing, we were all set. Of course, no StarFish tree would be complete without a full host of StarFish Christmas ornaments from years past, including the ever popular sound activated LED ornaments. These were a big hit with all the kids and adults who came to view our tree and scored us big points with the event judges!
StarFish President, Scott Phillips, Takes an Icy Dip to Raise Money for the Mustard Seed
Our intrepid leader joined another 14 of Victoria’s local tech sector leaders in jumping into the icy waters at Fisherman’s wharf to raise money for the Mustard Seed food bank. Known as the Harbour Hop, this is the 4th year for the annual event. In addition to much heckling and good-natured dares, the brave group of divers raised $13,500.00 for the very worthy cause. Way to go Scott, you are brave in more ways than one!