Son's Memory Inspires Surrey Family to Donate to BC-led Epilepsy Research

VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 10, 2021 /CNW/ – Tragically Joseph Chung passed away aged just 32 years old after undergoing complications following a seizure while swimming; one of his favourite past times. Joseph suffered from multiple disabilities including autism and epilepsy. His parents, Drs Peter and Stephanie Chung, are honouring the memory of their first-born son by donating to support epilepsy fellows at VGH to provide hope for future patients and their families.

“To have a child who experiences epilepsy, it feels like you have no control,” says Dr Peter Chung. “No way of making things better for them. Joseph would have multiple grand mal seizures during the night and all we could do is make sure that he didn’t injure himself. You feel helpless.”

While his life was short, Joseph will be fondly remembered for all the joy he brought to the world. Joseph’s family describe him as a gentle, happy person who was able to light up a room. Despite difficult challenges placed before him, Joseph graduated at Semiahmoo Secondary School and he was an avid swimmer, with a dream of participating in the Special Olympics.

“For our family the most important thing is faith in God and contributing back to society. Through Joseph, I got to be more compassionate to people who are different to who I am and who are less fortunate”, says Dr Peter Chung.

The Chung’s $250,000 gift to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation will support the recruitment of epilepsy program fellows at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). Fellows are specialists who undergo additional specialty training for up to two years in a particular area. They work side-by-side with a hospital’s leading sub-specialists, taking part in intensive, hands on training to gain expertise and advanced skills to care for patients and families.

“This generous gift with have a long-lasting impact on epilepsy research and care in BC,” says Dr. Yahya Aghakhani, Director, Epilepsy Program, VGH. “By investing in our fellowship program, the Chung family are nurturing the next generation of epilepsy experts. This will ultimately improve both care and treatment for the thousands of patients who are referred each year to the Epilepsy Program at VGH.”

VGH is the provincial centre for the neurosciences. Patients with the most complex conditions from across British Columbia are referred to VGH to be assessed for a vast range of neurological conditions, from stroke to epilepsy to brain tumours.

“With this gift, we really hope to provide the opportunity to develop better treatments so other parents do not have to experience the same helplessness that we did,” says Dr Peter Chung.

Epilepsy care and research is part of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s Brain Breakthroughs campaign. Learn more at  

Interviews with Dr. Peter Chung available by contacting [email protected]

Interviews with Dr. Yahya Aghakhani available via contact below.

About VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is Vancouver Coastal Health’s primary philanthropic partner, raising funds for specialized adult health services and research for all British Columbians. We partner with donors to drive innovation and sustainable health care at VGH & UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. Learn more at

About Coram Deo Foundation
Coram Deo Foundation is a not-for-profit public foundation based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We support charities with solid Christian doctrines locally and worldwide. We hope to play our part in God’s work and commit and participate in God’s mission. Coram Deo is a Latin phrase meaning “in the presence of God,” and our foundation pursue to be the followers of Christ living our lives Coram Deo: in the presence of God, under the authority of God, for the glory of God.

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