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The Vancouver Friends For Life Society is a registered not-for-profit society

(BIN registration number: 138277728RR0001)

which enhances the wellness of individuals living with very serious illnesses, by providing complementary health and support services. 

For a copy of our constitution and bylaws, please click here.

Meeting Minutes

Board Meetings are held every month. Meeting minutes will be available to the public below.

Board of Directors.

Sameer Ismail


Sameer is a Financial Consultant with IG Wealth Management. He has prior background advising on issues related to governance of non-profit societies. He has volunteered extensively in Canada and the United Kingdom with charities providing services to marginalized communities and people living with HIV/AIDS. Sameer strongly believes in the value of a holistic approach to care and well-being, an area where Friends for Life excels.

Sameer holds degrees in Political Science and Law.

Drew Morris


Drew grew up in a small town in southern Ontario, with dreams of finding a career where he could work with numbers every day. To make this happen, he graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics with a focus in Accounting and then received his CA designation in 2012.

He articled with a firm in a small town in Alberta, since then he has held a Controller position at a mid-sized company and he currently holds the position of Senior Manager at Yates Whitaker Chartered Professional Accountants. His work is split between providing services to owner managed companies in a variety of industries and auditing both profit, and non-profit entities.

He’s not all business…he ran the Olympic Torch for the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010 and he also enjoys spending lots of time with his two huskies and enjoys playing all types of sports and is passionate about music and watching Netflix. 

Drew joined the board of Vancouver Friends for Life in September 2021 and is very excited to assist with everything related to the finances of the organization.

Sheila Giffen

Vice President

Sheila Giffen teaches in the Department of English Language and Literatures in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC. She holds a PhD in English Literature, and her dissertation research analyzed literary responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic from the US and South Africa.


Formerly the Museum Manager at Roedde House Museum, and the Executive Director of Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, Sheila brings several years of experience in non-profit leadership, grant-writing, fundraising, and volunteer coordination to the VFFL Board.

Susan Petrina

Board Director

New to the Board, Susan has been volunteering for the Vancouver Friends for Life Society since 2016. Her recent work experience includes teaching positions at Simon Fraser University in both the Beedie School of Business and the Centre for Continuing Education. Fueled by her curiosity in human behaviour, she has crafted, implemented, and evaluated programs in leadership, teambuilding, career development, communications, customer relations ,and conflict resolution at every level of the organization from front-line to international senior management. 


Susan’s love of cooking led her to the VFFLS. Over the years she has led lunch teams, baked cookies and cakes, led cooking classes, prepared hotdogs and turkeys, shamelessly recruited volunteers and donations, flogged Aurora tickets, and set her mind to dreaming up new ways to enhance the member experience. 

Chris Girodat


Chris Girodat (he/him) is the executive director of the Capilano Students’ Union on the beautiful North Shore, a board governance consultant and meeting facilitator with over a decade of experience in board governance and operations management in the non-profit and retail sectors, and is a member of the leadership team of 100 Gay Men for a Cause Vancouver. As a queer activist, Chris is passionate about supporting the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community in overcoming barriers and systems of oppression, including the disproportionate impact of life-interrupting illness on our community.

John Kinsley

Board Director

John is part of the leadership team at Enrolment Services at Douglas College. He's been involved in governance within higher education for over five years and has volunteered at various health and social service-oriented non-profits working with marginalized populations. As a member of the queer community, John works to remove barriers to access and support all 2SLGBTQQIA+ folkx. John's term on the Board began in 2023 and he is excited to be a part of the amazing work that VFFL does in the community.

John holds degrees in Communication Studies and Applied Psychology.

Eli Puterman

Board Director

Dr. Eli Puterman, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is the Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Health since 2015. Eli joined the VFFL Board in 2023, and is excited to advance the Society's mission of developing and providing health promoting approaches to support people living with serious health challenges thrive in all areas of their lives, including physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Eli spends his free time on the seawall, playing in parks, or camping and hiking with his husband Dave, son Zev, and dog Gunther.

Find out more...

Got a question for the Board of Directors? Feel free to email us at

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