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Michael Kamin Hart was a promising second year Masters student at McMaster University. His work explored the use of environmental microbes as sources of biologically active drug leads.
Vibrant, intelligent and compassionate – Hart was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away on June 5, 2011 at the age of 25.
Caring for cancer patients under age 39
The Princess Margaret's Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program was established in June 2013. The program was developed for patients like Hart, who are under the age of 39 and are considered to have unique psychosocial and medical oncology needs. These needs may include: fertility, sexuality, school/work, social relationships and finances. The AYA Program provides supportive care counseling and resources to patients in collaboration with their primary oncology team.
"The program is striving to ensure that AYA patients are well-supported at all points in their cancer experience and that healthcare providers have the appropriate tools to address their holistic needs," said Laura Mitchell, Clinical Nurse Specialist, AYA Program.
Honouring Hart: "the small things made a difference"
On March 31, 2014, as part of Adolescent and Young Adults Awareness Week, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre hosted an annual AYA Lectureship in honour of Hart. His family created the Michael Kamin Hart Award for Excellence in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Care.
Hart's family wished to recognize Princess Margaret staff members who provided them with comfort during their cancer journey.
"It was their warm personalities; the chemo daycare nurses, inpatient nurses and even the porters that made the difference," said Murray Hart, Michael Kamin Hart's father. "It was the small things that made the biggest difference."
This year, eight Princess Margaret staff members were nominated for the award which included two nominations from patients.
"This is such a wonderful way to recognize members of the health care team who make a difference in AYA patients' lives every day," said Dr. Abha Gupta, Medical Director, AYA Program.
Sarah Wood named as inaugural award winner
The 2014 recipient of the Michael Kamin Hart Award is Sarah Wood.
Wood, a social worker in the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, was nominated by one of her patients in a moving nomination letter.
"Sarah helped and supported me" said the patient who nominated Wood. "She was very aware of my needs and expressed concern about the issues specific to young adults and the social isolation that can occur."
Congratulations to Wood and all nominees on this wonderful recognition.
All nominations received demonstrated qualities that exemplify the Princess Margaret's core values of caring, excellence, teamwork, innovation, leadership, integrity and respect while caring for AYA patients.
Congratulations to all 2014 AYA Award nominees:
Nancy La Macchia,radiation therapy Nominated by Jerry Roussos, radiation therapy practice leader
Patrick Gullane,head and neck surgical oncologist Nominated by a patient
Patrick Darcy,radiation therapy Nominated by Jerry Roussos, radiation therapy practice leader
Elena Piryatinsky, clinical research nurse coordinator, melanoma Nominated by Dr. Anthony Joshua
Ryan Hyvarinen, radiation therapy team supervisor
Nominated by radiation therapy treatment unit 6
Laura McGillis, nurse practitioner, Bone Marrow Transplant Program Nominated by Dr. Jeffery Lipton
Susan Awrey, pediatric nurse, radiation therapyNominated by Ryan Hyvarinen
Sarah Wood, social worker, Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Nominated by a patient