Pink with a purpose
Proceeds from new cosmetics company to fund war on kidney scarring.
It started with a tube of pink lipstick, past its best-by date. Professional makeup artist Nicole Abbott was partial to a particular shade of pink. When the company that produced the line discontinued it, she went online and tracked down the last tubes. But lipstick has a shelf life. That’s when it struck her. “Makeup is my passion,” Nicole says. “For years, I’d been dreaming of starting my own cosmetics company. I figured, it’s time now.” So she collaborated with a local manufacturer, and Hey Babe Cosmetics was born.
Nicole wanted her passion to have a special purpose. So she is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Hey Babe Cosmetics to support pioneering fibrosis research at St. Michael’s Hospital, in memory of her late husband Allen, who passed away from kidney disease in 2017.
Fibrosis is the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ in response to an injury or disease. Scarring, in short. Few people know about it, but fibrosis is responsible for nearly half of all deaths in the developed world. It is at the root of most types of heart and kidney failure, including what claimed Allen’s life. And its incidence is on the rise.
The Holy Grail for doctors is a treatment that can stop—or even reverse—scarring. This is what researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science are pursuing relentlessly.
Why focus on fibrosis? Dr. Darren Yuen, the clinician-scientist with the Keenan Research Centre who treated Allen, explains that scarring is the common pathway by which all kidneys get diseased, regardless of whether the root cause is diabetes or high blood pressure or one of many other conditions. The Allen David Abbott Scar Wars Fellowship will fund research and support the next generation of clinician-scientists whose goal is to make breakthroughs in drug therapies that prevent or reverse fibrosis.
Dr. Yuen recalls, “Allen inspired me because he did not let kidney disease stop him from living his life. The fellowship that Nicole is creating reflects his desire to fight his disease, to challenge the status quo, to push his doctors and nurses to find the next solution. We want to come up with the answers we didn’t have for Allen, so we never have to face the problem where a kidney fails and the patient is left with no options.”
Nicole herself embodies this spirit of perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. After her first husband, Charles, passed away from cancer, she rebuilt her life with Allen. Now she is rebuilding yet again. “I embraced life with Allen knowing he had had a kidney transplant,” Nicole says. “We learned to function as a family with kidney disease. I want to support St. Michael’s because the doctors kept my husband alive for so many years; he received great kidney care from the entire team.” Her hope for the fellowship is that kidney disease will be identified before end-stage renal failure. “It was too late for Allen, but I want others to have hope.”
St. Michael’s surgeon pioneers revolutionary glaucoma treatment
Dr. Neeru Gupta on what we can do to mark World Sight Day on October 10.Read article
One-on-one with Dr. Andrew Baker, HUMANCARE Medical Co-Chair
Find out why St. Michael’s chief of critical care and anesthesia joined the HUMANCARE movement, and how he recharges after a long work day.Read article
St. Michael’s heart research is saving lives
After three life-saving surgeries, the Lourie family is deeply thankful to the heart and brain surgeons at St. Michael’s. They’re showing their gratitude by supporting world-leading clinical trial research through our CardioLink program, led by Dr. Subodh Verma.Read article
After 50 years, St. Michael’s Hospital remains at the forefront of kidney care
Our history of innovations has been remarkable. But we never rest on our laurels. St. Michael’s clinicians and scientists are always at the forefront of new discovery.Read article
Outreach worker helps one patient find housing – and healing
The Slaight Family Emergency Department Outreach Counsellor Program has been life-saving for people like Eric who need an ally to connect with help.Read article
From woman’s last chance to first-in-Canada heart procedure
Dr. Gianluigi Bisleri performed the first-in-Canada heart procedure on Margaret Spurrell to treat an irregular heartbeat.Read article