My friend is right in the thick of her treatment for ovarian cancer. She's just completed several rounds of chemo and is starting radiation this week. As you can probably guess, she's wiped out. Super tired, and anticipating some pretty awful side effects that may leave her out of commission from looking after the kids. Her wife is already overwhelmed by having to pick up the slack. And having any time to themselves? Forget about it.
So when an acquaintance mentioned to me a charity called the Nanny Angel Network last week, I knew I had to find out more. This organization provides free childcare for any family that has a mom undergoing cancer treatment. Need I say more?
I immediately called them up and requested a nanny on their behalf. My call was returned within a day and I was told they most certainly had a care giver to send their way. How awesome is that?
Here is a little more info on the services they provide:
We close the gap between healthcare and social servicesMoms with cancer have limited childcare relief options. In Ontario, they are eligible for about four hours a week of personal home care – but that doesn’t include childcare support. Few hospitals or clinics provide childcare facilities on-site, and many women don’t want to bring their young children due to fear of infection or having to leave them totally unsupervised for hours at a time. Plus, these women are faced with the added worry of being alert and healthy enough to get their children home safely after treatment – and then fighting illness and exhaustion once they get there.
For many, the only option is paid childcare, but because many families lose income due to extended absences from work, their ability to afford childcare during treatment and recovery plummets. NAN’s free childcare helps families impacted by income loss. It offers mothers the peace of mind of knowing their children are in good hands, and gives them the opportunity to get the care, rest and the free time they need.
NAN gives mothers and children emotional supportDuring a Nanny Angel visit, children get undivided attention from a trained caregiver who ensures they are coping well with their mother’s diagnosis. They are entertained, stimulated and encouraged to share their feelings in a safe space. For children who have anger issues, anxiety, or difficulties dealing with their mom’s illness, Nanny Angels provide extra help and support. Our volunteers are trained to identify warning signs of children not coping well, and can recommend a visit from a Child Life Specialist. Often, in a high stress environment of a mother’s illness, our Angels are the only smiling faces a child sees.
NAN is an ambassador of cancer prevention educationStatistics show that 90% of all cancers are curable in the very early stages. Our program offers families and volunteers helpful information about cancer prevention and healthy lifestyle, and can help women detect cancer at an early stage. Over 500 volunteers have been trained in cancer awareness education and are committed to peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.
NAN actively raises funds to help support mothers with cancerNAN’s Angels Spread Their Wings initiative is a long-term fundraising effort to help support moms in the GTA and expand our services to other Canadian communities. We reach out to community partners and individuals to raise funds so we can:
- Spread the word by generating awareness at hospitals, healthcare support networks and in the media.
- Spread the knowledge by educating volunteers and families on how to cope with the cancer journey, including recovery and bereavement, in a constructive and positive way.
- Spread the joy by promoting a healthy and generous volunteer spirit in the communities we touch.