Barb Lather, Program Manager, Thamesview Family Health Team
This award is presented posthumously, as Barb Lather passed away in 2018.
As program manager at the Thamesview Family Health Team, Barb Lather was passionate about improving the health of everyone she met.
She led several initiatives to improve the lives of people with cancer. She was the co-creator of a unique Sharing & Caring support group for people living with cancer. She also volunteered as co-facilitator of a group called Master Your Health, which supports people with chronic diseases.
Barb’s dedication to helping others continued even during her own bouts with cancer. During her ongoing battle with cancer, she decided to make a video about her experience to help others as they go through their treatments. Barb’s spirit and commitment to making a difference were strong even as her health worsened.
Her truly inspirational legacy lives on through the Chatham Kent Health Alliance Oncology Gift Basket program, which she co-created with her friend Karen Brodie (who also passed away from cancer). Upon learning of the program, the community began to donate to the initiative and gift baskets are still being delivered to the oncology department today.
Champlain Indigenous Cancer Program, The Ottawa Hospital
The Indigenous Cancer Program at The Ottawa Hospital is a leader in driving system-level change to improve the patient experience of First Nation, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous people living with cancer in the Champlain region.
The team has implemented several initiatives to increase the cultural safety of Indigenous people with cancer. For example, they:
- developed a navigational video for people from Nunavut receiving cancer care in Ottawa
- offer ongoing staff education and cultural sensitivity training
- developed a smudging policy so people with cancer and their family members can practice traditional ceremonies
- established an Indigenous-specific space within The Ottawa Hospital’s general campus (Windocage Community Room)
The Champlain Indigenous Cancer Program is committed to a person-centred approach that focuses on allowing patients and their families to communicate their needs, priorities and values. The team recognizes the impacts historical and contemporary trauma has had on these communities, and supports traditional Indigenous approaches and methods.
Marsha Butler, Social Worker, Freeman Centre for the Advancement of Palliative Care, North York General Hospital
Marsha Butler has provided exemplary patient- and family-centred care rooted in compassion, kindness and emotional support at North York General Hospital’s (NYGH) Freeman Centre for the Advancement of Palliative Care for many years. She consistently places the needs of patients and families first and takes the time to get to know them and their unique situations. Marsha works with the inpatient inter-professional team and community partners to ensure patients and families are equipped with the knowledge and support needed to make informed choices about their care.
She recently played a pivotal role in developing a unique pilot project at NYGH that helps integrate four 4 specially trained volunteers to spend time with and support critically ill patients and their families.
As NYGH serves a diverse patient population, Marsha consistently makes sure the cultural and religious needs of patients and their loved ones are considered. She responds to the diverse emotional and spiritual care needs of patients and families. She also spends considerable time helping to guide patients and families through community supports and resources so they are well equipped during this difficult time.
Dr. Michelle Prince, Volunteer, Windsor Regional Hospital Foundations
This award is presented posthumously, as Michelle Prince passed away in 2018.
Michelle Prince was a dedicated community champion, a well-known chiropractor, a relentless patient advocate, and an active volunteer and mentor.
After Michelle was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2014, she decided to live her journey publicly and selflessly for five 5 years, despite enduring over 80 chemotherapy cycles and three 3 major surgeries. Michelle’s quest was to instill positivity and have an impact on people by educating and inspiring those around her.
She started a radio talk show called “Taking Charge of your Health” and invited the community to call in with their thoughts and questions.
She also started the Michelle Prince Education and Inspiration Facebook page, and even streamed one of her treatments through Facebook Live. Her goal was to make the experience a little easier for others.
She helped start a program (recently renamed the Dr. Michelle Prince Comfort Care Tote) to welcome patients to the systemic suite with a care package.
Michelle had a light that was so bright and an attitude so positive. Her impact is real and it is lasting. Her legacy remains in the lives she touched and the many she inspired.
Nancy McMillan, Chair of Executive Committee, BRIGHT Run
Breast cancer survivor Nancy McMillan is chair of the BRIGHT Run, an annual volunteer-operated event that has raised more than $3.5 million for breast cancer research in Hamilton since its inception 11 years ago. BRIGHT Run funds have supported 16 research projects at the Juravinski Hospital Cancer Centre (JHCC), paid for an ultrasound machine at the CIBC Breast Assessment Centre, and will be supporting an Endowed Research Chair. Nancy’s exceptional leadership drives the BRIGHT Run to become better each year. Her enthusiasm and unbounded energy have inspired many volunteers to get involved with this event.
As a prominent member of the breast cancer community, Nancy often acts as a resource at JHCC by explaining the patient experience to medical staff and students. She has facilitated focus groups, bringing together people with breast cancer for research projects.
Nancy was a founding member of the JHCC Patient and Family Advisory Council. As an advisor, Nancy provided the patient perspective on proposed changes to treatment and care, and on other matters of importance to people with cancer and their families.