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Volunteer Heroes

Nearly 80% of all caregiving in Canada is provided by volunteers – most often relatives, but also friends and neighbours – who act out of compassion and love, but rarely if ever receive public recognition for their contributions to the health care system. That oversight was one of the reasons the North East CCAC launched its Heroes in the Home – Caregiver Recognition Awards program, to provide an opportunity to say 'thanks, we appreciate you' to our partners in care. Three of five Heroes in the Home award ceremonies have been held to date across the North East, and the stories that have been shared publicly have been emotional, heartfelt, and life-affirming.

In Timmins, Danny Hince was nominated by his friend Liz Feldman:

"Danny cares for his partner, Koreen, who is bed-ridden and requires total care," Liz writes. "He manages all of her health needs and dedicates his time to ensuring that Koreen is happy. He has music playing all of the time in the house and they watch her favourite movies together at night. She is unable to speak but Danny is able to detect her every need. He dyes and cuts her hair and gives her manicures and pedicures himself, complete with nail polish! And he does all of this while working a full time job. He is totally devoted to Koreen's care, and talks to her constantly just to see her smile! His whole world revolves around her."

At the Kirkland Lake event, CCAC Care Coordinator, Shannon Carey nominated the entire Volunteer Visiting Supportive Care team from the Timiskaming Hospice Palliative Care Network. Under the direction of Betty Smallwood and Nora Barker, team members visit patients with life-altering and life-ending diagnoses, giving countless hours to support patients and their families in their homes, in the community and during hospitalizations.  

"From a cup of tea, a box of Kleenex, a smile, a laugh, a quick trip to the grocery store, these volunteers go above and beyond to ensure the patients and their loved ones receive optimal care and support," says Shannon.

Many of the 'volunteer visitors' attended the event and were very grateful for the nomination. "Our volunteers felt very honoured to receive recognition for the work they do each day," explains Betty. "They feel that their life experiences are enriched by knowing they have made a difference. We know that our organization would not be the same without them, and are glad that others recognize this as well."

There wasn't a dry eye in the house in Sault Ste. Marie as CCAC Care Coordinator Gloria Mears outlined why she nominated James Warmington for his love and devotion to his parents, and his assistance with their care:  

At 21, James made a very heartfelt decision to leave his job and his new life out west and come back home to Sault Ste. Marie to take care of his parents. A few years ago, his father was in a severe motor vehicle accident and suffered an acquired brain injury, at which time his mother became his father's primary caregiver. Unfortunately, while James was out west, he received news that his mother had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. James decided to come home and take care of both his parents during this difficult time. With the help of his sister, uncle and other caring family members, James ensured that his parents' day-to-day needs were met. He would take them to their medical appointments and worked with the CCAC and other community healthcare providers to organize their services. He also maintained the household, doing most of the cleaning and cooking and attended to their personal care. Sadly, James' mother passed away but he still keeps her memory alive by helping his dad in any way he can.

Caring volunteers all – all Heroes in the Home.

To see photos from the 2015 ceremonies, follow the Heroes in the Home Facebook page.

 

 

​Danny Hince and friendsJames Warmington

 

 

The Timiskaming Hospice Palliative Care - Volunteer Visiting Supportive Care Program