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As part of Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Awareness Week, the AYA Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre hosted its third annual lectureship in honour of Michael Kamin Hart.
Michael was a promising second-year Biochemistry Masters student at McMaster University. Vibrant, intelligent and compassionate, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away on June 5, 2011 at the age of 25.
The Hart family wished to recognize Princess Margaret staff members (clinicians, allied health, service staff and/or volunteers) who demonstrate excellence in AYA care, similar to those who provided care to their family throughout Michael's cancer journey.
Approximately 1,500 AYA are diagnosed with cancer each year at the Princess Margaret and these individuals are known to have unique psychosocial and clinical care needs that require additional support. These needs can often be related to fertility risks and preservation options, sexuality, school and work transitions, social relationships, nutrition, and exercise.
In memory of Michael, the Hart Family has enabled the AYA Program to hold the annual Michael Kamin Hart Lectureship and Award ceremony to bring awareness to the unique needs of AYA and acknowledge the exemplary work of staff at the cancer centre.
This year's winners, who were announced at a ceremony this week, are Michael George, Systemic Therapy Nurse, and SarahRose Black, Music Therapist.
Michael George was nominated by a patient who praised him for his compassionate care.
"Michael made such a huge difference in normalizing my chemo experience. He treated me with respect and care. He gave me all the tips I needed to survive the side effects," Michael's nominator wrote.
"He asked about my family and friends, most of whom he met. I learned of his unofficial title, 'The Vein Whisperer' from other patients who love him too and how comfortable he made the process while using his sixth sense to locate veins!"
SarahRose was nominated by a colleague who remarked on her ability to connect with patients through music.
"Song-writing was one modality SarahRose explored with a 31 year-old with advanced cancer that was rapidly approaching the end of her short life. What they created together over the course of their sessions was a meaningful piece of art – a deeply personal legacy that allowed the young woman to pair poetry she had written about her worries, thoughts, feelings, and hopes with music shaped by the two of them."
Congratulations to all of the nominees of the Michael Kamin Hart Award for Excellence in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Care!
Glenda Towne – Diet Technician
Nominated by a patient
"She had arranged for a cake for me right before I was being discharged for the weekend to celebrate when my friends had come to pick me up that day. Her kindness was something I could never forget."
Jennifer Deering – Nurse Practitioner
"The impact Jennifer had on my family and I will always be cherished. She was not only my nurse practitioner, but a strong leader, a fierce female role model, a sister, and a friend."
Chanel Fernandes – Administrative Assistant
Nominated by a co-worker
"She is pleasant, patient and professional when dealing with challenging situations with patients on the phone and face-to-face. She is an outstanding team player and will assist when needed."
Michele Wake – Radiation Therapist
Nominated by her supervisor
"She has demonstrated exceptional care and respect for her patients, whether they are small frightened children accompanied by their parents or young parents themselves receiving radiation treatments for their devastating cancer diagnosis."
Megan Morrison – Dietitian
"Megan is the central contact for the AYA Program in regard to nutrition information. Megan has compiled relevant nutrition resources for the AYA program's website and coordinated dietitian submissions for the newsletter."
Chana Korenblum – Psychiatry/AYA Fellow
"She is continually caring for others, constantly thinking about her patients, always creating new ideas for patient care, and eager to support anyone who might feel they need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on."
Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) Volunteers
Nominated by their co-worker
"The program is an opportunity for them to meet other AYA patients, learn about wig and hat options, learn how to take care of their skin during treatment and apply a little makeup in order to feel more confident."