MONTREAL, April 3, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Though family caregivers are too rarely given their due recognition, 11 of them were honoured for their dedication today during the Pat Burns Award ceremony held at the 6th National Conference to Defeat Cancer, in the presence of 350 attendants.
The Pat Burns Award is a Coalition Priorité Cancer au Québec initiative, made possible by Celgene, and created to honour family caregivers for the outstanding quality of the support they have given to a person living with cancer. "The number of people with cancer is expected to rise substantially in the years to come. We can only hope that the number of informal caregivers will inevitably increase, and their support will prove essential, perhaps even decisive, in our ability to fight cancer," explained Jason Burns, jury president, at the opening of the Award ceremony.
The jury, comprised of cancer patients and survivors as well as community representatives and oncology professionals, granted a total of $10,000 to the main recipient and two runners-up. In addition, eight honourable mentions went to family caregivers whose story was particularly touching and two other candidates were designated as the jury's Coup de coeur.
Award recipient – Jimmy St-Jean (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu)
Jimmy St-Jean has been supporting his wife Anne-Marie for nearly 13 years in her battle against cancer. During those years, he also gave unwavering support to his oldest daughter, Megan, who lost her fight against leukemia in January 2014. Three of Mr. St-Jean's nieces nominated this man they consider a true hero. They wrote that "in the face of hardship, he kept his head held high and never gave up, proving with his courage and sense of initiative that he could always be counted on. His sense of humour was also a great source of stress release in difficult situations."
Runner-up – Sylvain Houle (St-Eustache)
Sylvain Houle, father of three, supported his wife for nearly four years in her battle against cancer, leaving his job to devote himself body and soul to Nathalie who was initially told that she only had three months left to live. Mr. Houle also used the help available to him to provide his wife with the restful environment she needed. Nathalie's life ended, as serenely as can be hoped, at La Maison Sercan. The jury's heart was deeply touched by Mr. Houle's strength of character and resilience.
Runner-up – Alcide Hautcoeur (Gaspésie)
"Even when confronted with both moral and physical sufferings, Alcide, who I like to call 'the clown', always manages to make people laugh with his jokes and stories to help them forget their hardships for a few moments. His tenacity, his positive outlook and his strength of character make him the kind of brother everyone wishes they could have by their side", writes his sister Claudette. The story of this man who, after facing cancer himself, chose to dedicate his life to helping others is a great example of dedication to his community and open-mindedness which made quite an impression on the jury.
* * * * *
The jury for the Pat Burns Award would like to remind you that it does not claim to be able to judge the value of an experience compared to another and that the aim of this award is simply to publicly honour the resilience and courage shown by family caregivers in their efforts to support their loved ones' fight against cancer.
Six honourable mentions were also given to Dolorès Auger, Ginette Aumont, Lyse Camerlain, Pauline Lavoie and Marie-Alberte Soudan; the jury's mention for their coups de coeur went to Jonathan Martel and Ren Quijing.
Coalition Priorité Cancer au Québec invites people to keep an eye on their Website (www.coalitioncancer.com) to submit the names of other exceptional caregivers for the Pat Burns Award during the next nomination period in the fall of 2014.
About the Coalition
Coalition Priorité Cancer au Québec was founded in 2001 to protect, support and give a strong voice to people affected by cancer (patients, survivors, informal caregivers, their families and their loved ones, as well as cancer-related community organizations and health professionals) and to help organize the fight against cancer. Because of the contribution of these organizations and members, the Coalition's membership represents close to 1.5 million people.
SOURCE: Coalition Priorité Cancer au Québec
For further information: Sylvie Piché, 514 868-2009 ext 225, Cell : 514-296-0694, email@example.com; Michel Racette, Cell : 514 576-9327; Site internet : www.unevoixforte.com; Facebook : CoalitionPrioriteCancerAuQuebec, Twitter : @CoalitionCancer