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Unsung Heroes - Years 2005 - 2009

The Unsung Hero/Heroes Awards are presented to those individuals who always work behind the scenes in any successful organization. They are also dedicated to UOAC, but do not seek the limelight. In fact they prefer to do their work and give their support in an unobtrusive manner.

Doris Crandall, Moncton Chapter (February 2006)
Lee Munn, Moncton Chapter (March 2006)
Hazel Dauphinee, Metro Halifax Chapter (May 2006)
Betty McNab, Truro Chapter (May 2006)
Cathy MacIntyre, Cape Breton Chapter (June 2006)
Eva Bordage, Moncton Chapter (October 2006)
Marie Winn, Brantford & District Chapter (May 2007)
Berthe Huntley, Calgary AB Chapter (September 2007)
Irma Morningstar, Lethbridge Chapter (November 2007)
Mike Leverick, Winnipeg Chapter (February 2008)
Linda Gielen, Truro Chapter (February 2008)
Norma Gibson, Thunder Bay Chapter (May 2008)
Olive Jackson, Metro Halifax Chapter (May 2008)
Shirley Roxborough, Hamilton & District Chapter (June 2008)
Marlyne Wight, Saskatoon Chapter (September 2008)
John and Nora D'Eon, South West Nova Scotia Chapter (June 2009)
Cindy Hartmann - Vancouver Chapter (June 2009)
Robert Crawford, Saskatoon Ostomy Association. (June 2009)

** Deceased


Doris Crandall - Moncton Chapter (February 2006)

Doris Crandall had her colostomy surgery in 1977 as a result of cancer. Following her surgery, there was an ad in the newspaper that there was a meeting for those with ostomy surgeries. She contacted the number that happened to be Bette Yetman's. Doris made arrangements for a meeting room and Bette Yetman and Ruth Kenney came to Moncton from Halifax for the first meeting where a number of people attended.

Doris became the first President of the Moncton Chapter in 1979, a post she held for four years. She was the Chapter's Vice President for three years, from 1995-97. Doris has also been the visiting coordinator for the last 25 years, a job she does very well. She is always willing to help out where she is needed, whether it is visiting new persons with ostomies, greeting people at meetings or helping with fund raising events. Doris recently lost her husband of 58 years, Nelson, who was also a great supporter of our chapter and never missed meetings when he was able.

It is people like Doris Crandall who makes the Moncton Chapter such a great chapter because of her presence and willingness to help.

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Lee Munn - Moncton Chapter (March 2006)

Moncton chapter member Lee Munn had his colostomy surgery in 1989 as a result of cancer. Lee is a World War II veteran, having served overseas for six years, from 1939 to 1945. Following his return, he was in the Militia for 10 years. He has been a volunteer member of the Legion for over 60 years and does the Honour Guard when a Legionnaire passes away. Lee worked at C.N. as an electrician until his retirement.

We can count on Lee to be at every meeting to greet new people and visit new Ostomates at hospitals. He is also in charge of the Moncton Chapter's library. Lee and his lovely wife, Edith, have been married for 58 years. They volunteer to help during events where fundraising is involved, such as selling tickets at hospitals. It is always a pleasure to see them at each of our meetings.

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Hazel Dauphinee, Metro Halifax Chapter (May 2006)

Born in the living room of her home in Nictaux, Nova Scotia, maybe eight decades ago, and still living in the same house, Hazel Dauphinee emigrated to Boston after high school to take a business course and then work. She married high school chum Frank Dauphinee in 1947 and they have resided in Middleton or Halifax ever since.

Hazel had colostomy surgery in February 1980, joined the Metro Halifax Chapter in 1982, but, because of travelling distance, started the Middleton & Valley Ostomy Satellite in June 1982. She was vice president, but assumed the presidency in 1984 and has yet to be succeeded. Hazel has obviously been the driving force of this Satellite.

She joined the Annapolis East Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society shortly after her surgery, faithfully attends meetings and also visits patients in home and hospitals at their request. Hazel has been a volunteer at Middleton's Soldier's Memorial Hospital Gift Shop since the early 1950s.

She was at the initial meeting of  'Living With Cancer' Support Group in Greenwood and regularly supports and uplifts new cancer patients.

Hazel has been a volunteer with Middleton & District Welfare for 35 years, with more than 20 people on her interview list. Hazel takes other lady volunteers to Greenwood's 'Friendly Neighbours' to sort clothing and pack requests. Each December, she works for telethon fundraiser, Christmas Daddies, and interviews and ensures the needs of clients receiving aid from that event.

In 1986 she organized the first Strawberry Picnic & Potluck Lunch for ostomates from Halifax through the Annapolis Valley and even Nova Scotia's south shore, to show ostomates throughout the area they can enjoy activities as they had before their operation.

Because of Hazel's efforts in 1984, when Nova Scotians were fighting to get ET's at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, the government installed them. She and ostomates from all over Nova Scotia, including members from Cape Breton chapter, inundated the Premier, Minister of Health, CEO of the V.G.H. with letters supporting the brief and the need for ETs. So many of them attended a meeting at the provincial legislature, that the Committee accepted the brief. Hazel was a personal friend of Dr. Gerry Sheehy, Minister of Health at the time, so it was very hard to say 'no' when your constituents were all there, saying hello and calling you by your first name.

In 1988, Hazel was presented a provincial certificate for Volunteer of the Year and received the Volunteer of the Year Award for Annapolis County.

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Betty McNab, Truro Chapter (May 2006)

Betty McNab was born in Glace Bay on Aug. 19, l922 and will celebrate her birthday at the convention.
She came to Truro to attend teachers college, met her first husband, Percy Hall, and they married in l942. They had two children, and Betty has nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Percy died in 1986 after they were married 44 years.
Betty taught school in Glace Bay and the Truro area before working for a Truro dentist for 30 years.
Betty had an ileostomy in 1984 after years of suffering with colitis. She became a member of the Truro Ostomy Association when it started 28 years ago, serving as secretary, along with every other job that needed to be done. She is a trained visitor, assisting more than 50 patients in recent times.
In l988, and again in 1995, she was honoured by the Truro chapter for outstanding service.
At the April 2006 meeting, Betty was presented with gifts in appreciation for what she has done to hold the chapter together. It was in danger of folding due to low membership but Betty worked, all by herself, to keep things alive. She delivered clinic posters, found speakers for meetings, organized lunch and called everyone with meeting reminders.

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Cathy MacIntyre, Cape Breton Chapter (June 2006)

Cathy has been a member of Cape Breton Nova Scotia Chapter since 1986 and is currently vice-president. She became involved in working with ostomates through her employer, pharmacist Donald Ferguson, a founding member of CBNS Chapter.

With her deep sense of compassion, Cathy quickly familiarized herself with ostomy supplies and patients' needs and adapted to helping ostomates.

Cathy is now owner/operator of C&D Medical Supplies and is always ready to help those in need. In her ever-pleasant manner she willingly offers assistance to ostomates in need of supplies and knowledgeably assists with their selection. She visits homes of those who cannot otherwise get help, and delivers supplies to anyone, without cost. At any time, day or night, Cathy comes to the rescue. She is the first to offer help financially or otherwise to any ostomate that is referred to her.

As a member of the Cape Breton chapter, Cathy assists fund raising activities, and uses her store to advertise for our chapter. She is constantly on the lookout for new members and quite often is responsible for bringing many new ostomates to chapter meeting.

A non-ostomate, Cathy is responsible for booking our meeting places and speakers, and goes above and beyond in helping our chapter. She has attended three annual conferences.

Cathy is a very proud mother of Arlene, a student at Cape Breton University.

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Eva Bordage---Moncton Chapter (October 2006)

Eva has been a member of the Moncton Chapter for many years and in this time has been very active. She has been our secretary for close to 15 years and does her job efficiently and with much pride. She also is our treasurer and keeps our books just like they were her own. The newsletter is another one of her jobs that she takes very seriously and makes sure it is in the mail in plenty of time so everyone knows exactly what is going on.

When Eva had her surgery she was a young Mom of three and shortly after surgery returned to work to take care of her young family. These children have now grown and have families of their own and Eva has made time to tend her grandchildren. She will make sure there is always time for chapter affairs. She was the secretary of the 2006 conference held in Moncton and also helped in other areas when needed.

Thank you Eva for all your caring and sharing of your talents.

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Marie Winn - Brantford & District Chapter (May 2007)

"I joined the Brantford and District Ostomy Association just so I could get the newsletter" is a familiar saying in the group. Many of our group look forward to the monthly newsletters and keep their back issues for their personal information.

Marie Winn was the wife of an ostomate from 1965 till his death in 1969. Her oldest son was operated on in 1975 for an ileostomy. Her other two children received treatment later on. Their story was in the Ostomy Canada Spring edition of 2003. Marie is married to Bob Winn and resides in Brantford with Bob and their oldest son.

As well as sitting in front of her computer and collecting "stuff" for our chapter newsletter, Marie assists her husband in his business. In August of 2002, Marie became newsletter editor for our chapter. She also has done letterheads, letters of requests, flyers, cards and pictures.

She designed the chapter logo and designed and made a quilt for our chapter raffle. Marie is the head of Brantford S.A.S.O., has had yard sales and participates in all our fund raising projects.

In the fall of 2006, Marie became chapter Vice President as well as remaining as newsletter editor. Marie wears several hats and they all fit her exceptionally well. Marie is a true unsung modest and caring hero.

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Berthe Huntley, Calgary AB Chapter (September 2007)

Berthe has been a member of the Calgary chapter since 1990, serving as president for two terms (four years), vice president and minute secretary. She has coordinated and trained visitors for the last 15 years. She knows all current visitors personally, so can match patient profiles with relevant visitors. Berthe spends many hours diligently arranging visits and documenting statistics.

Berthe has kept archives of all chapter newsletters, constitution, bylaws & amendments, and chapter & executive minutes for 17 years. Most recently, she assisted in organizing the chapter's Christmas auctions, participated in the 2006 bowl-a-thon, and contributed to the 2007 conference fund-raising raffle.

A qualified nurse, Berthe had her first ostomy surgery in the late 1980s and thus is an excellent advocate for promoting awareness of the changes ostomy surgery makes to a person's attitude and outlook, the need for education and understanding, and the total care required for both ostomate and family.

Berthe was involved in organizing the 1997 National Conference and with 2007 conference registration. She contributes regularly to the chapter newsletter.

As a registered nurse, Berthe volunteered as a nurse at youth camp in the early 1990s. For more than ten years, she has been the 'welcomer' at Calgary Airport for young ostomates from throughout Canada. In the 1990's, Berthe stored, sorted, boxed and arranged transportation for excess supplies for FOWC.

Berthe never seeks the limelight and is a quiet diligent worker and supporter of the chapter. Her choice is to keep active, volunteer and help others often younger than herself.

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Irma Morningstar, Lethbridge Chapter (November 2007)

In 1995, Irma Morningstar had a six-week radiation treatment in Calgary, following colon cancer surgery. Just prior, she attended a local Lethbridge chapter meeting, and a gentleman at the meeting told her what to expect, as he had gone through the same process. This put her mind at ease and made her determined to get involved in the chapter to help others. Since that time she has filled virtually all chapter positions; e.g. – president, vice-president, secretary, financial secretary, hospital visitations, membership chair, and, to top it off, has reorganized the chapter library. Several times she has sent ostomy supplies to FOWC and done other tasks as well. If a job needed doing, or a board position needed to be filled, rather than wait for someone to come forward (which almost never happened), she stepped in and did the job herself. For years no new faces appeared at chapter meetings, and it was difficult if not impossible to get people involved. Several times we entered into serious dialogue as to whether we should try to keep the chapter afloat or not. However, Irma was not about to give up. We have gained four new members within the last year or so, who come out to all meetings and want to contribute. It is believed the chapter is functioning today, largely due to the hard work, patience and dedication of Irma. Without that, there seems to be no doubt that there would not be a chapter in Lethbridge, AB today. Irma Morningstar – A true “Unsung Hero”.

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Mike Leverick, Winnipeg Chapter (February 2008)

I had been in hospital for nearly a month as my doctor attempted to arrest the development of ulcerative colitis. The attempt was unsuccessful and ileostomy surgery was scheduled for December 12, 1991. I had requested a visitor from the local ostomy chapter. Four or five days prior to the surgery, on a cold December evening, Mike Leverick entered my room explaining he was that visitor. I very quickly discovered that Mike was of great comfort as he shared his experience as an ostomate, and was very understanding of my concerns. The next time he visited was the evening prior to my surgery. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for that visit. Mike has been a certified visitor for over 20 years and using my example, I know he has been of comfort to all he has visited.

Mike has been a member of the Winnipeg Ostomy Association for almost all of his 30 years as an ostomate. In addition to being a certified visitor, Mike was a Vice-President in the mid-1990's, newsletter editor for 10 years, and in 1995, created a website for the WOA, which is believed to have been the first website solely dedicated to ostomates in the world. He has assisted other chapters in developing their own website. For a while he acted as the webmaster for the GLO network of UOA, Inc.

Mike has attended UOA Inc. conferences in Las Vegas, Boston and Minneapolis, UOA Inc. regional conferences in Winnipeg, Green Bay and Minneapolis, the IOA Congress in Calgary and UOAC conference in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, which has enabled him to maintain a network of contacts from all over.

Mike keeps in contact with those he has visited. After being released from hospital, I was shut in for a lengthy period and Mike visited a number of times. At first we talked about the various aspects of life with an ostomy. Winnipeg had a great amount of snow that winter and my car was virtually buried in the back yard. On one visit, about three months after surgery I mentioned that I was feeling trapped. The next thing I knew, Mike was in my back yard, shovel in hand, digging out my car from the three to four feet of snow. Talk about going the extra mile.

A dedicated family man, he and his wife Pam have raised two children, now both in university. When I first met them, they were preschoolers. Mike was the house parent and had gathered three or four other neighbourhood children of the same age to form an informal day care. The kids were certainly having a great time.

After his children started school, he took courses to work with special needs children. Mike is now employed by the St. Vital School Division in Winnipeg as a special needs assistant.

Today Mike continues to maintain the WOA website, 13 years as webmaster in September 2008, and is a certified visitor, thus sharing his knowledge and compassion with other ostomates, not only locally but worldwide.

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Linda Gielen - Truro Chapter (February 2008)

The Truro Chapter has been blessed with many unsung heroes and not all have a stoma. Two of our members, supporting spouse Linda Gielen, wife of our treasurer and ostomate Martin Gielen, are certainly unsung heroes.

Linda and Martin were friends of another couple, Betty and Keith Jennings. Betty was diagnosed with cancer and ended up with an ostomy. Linda and Martin were there every step of the long journey back for Betty. The Jennings joined the Truro group and attended the meetings along with Martin and Linda, until August of 2006, when Keith died suddenly of a heart attack. Betty was alone after that, living in Masstown, several kilometers from Truro.

Linda and Martin ensured Betty got to her doctor's appointments and helped with anything else that needed to be done. When Betty sold her home in Masstown, they helped her settle in an apartment in Truro. Linda was with Betty every day, seeing to her every need.

Linda found Betty on the floor one morning, unable to get up. She called 911 and went with her to the hospital, where she had emergency surgery.

Her son was called home from Ontario and still Linda stayed by her side, leaving only to shower and change. Betty passed away in Linda's arms October 2, 2007. The message I received was "my angel died in my arms tonight".

I only hope that when my time comes that I have a friend, an unsung hero like Linda with me.

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Norma Gibson, Thunder Bay Chapter (May 2008)

Norma joined the chapter almost five years ago. At one regular meeting, the newsletter editor announced that she would have to resign for personal reasons. We knew the vacancy would be difficult to fill, but fortunately for our chapter, Norma volunteered when the president asked for an interested person to fill the vacancy. Naturally, she was warmly welcomed.

The Sleeping Giant newsletters are very informative, not only to the ostomate but also to others who are interested in good health issues. Spouses and friends show a keen interest in the publication as well. Norma will also research articles for members upon request. Her newsletters receive rave reviews by all who read it. There are several members who subscribe to a membership just to receive their copy of the newsletter. The layout of the newsletter is attractive, timely and with a nice mix of humour.

The publication is always ready for mailing well in advance of our meetings. Who could ask for more??

Norma is also involved with other local organizations. She is the secretary of the board of directors of the Memorial Society and the North West Funeral alternatives, as well as the administrative secretary of the Therapeutic Riding Association.

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Olive Jackson - Metro Halifax Chapter (May 2008)

Having had three ostomy operations, Olive Jackson is an inspiration to all whom she meets. A chapter member for about four years, she is the Ostomy Visitor chair for the chapter, and is in weekly contact with the ET nurses to find out who has had an operation, and then finds a trained visitor to visit with the patients.

She does several visits herself. She is an active participant in the visitor training program and is on Metro Halifax chapter executive committee. Olive prepares and presents the monthly visitor report for the meetings. She is constantly on the phone, sending cards, and/or visiting members to offer encouragement.

She bakes for the monthly meetings, volunteers to assemble the newsletter and pack supplies for FOWC.

She attends funerals for ostomates. She drives members to/from meetings.

Like most volunteers, Olive never seeks recognition for her efforts but continues to work for the betterment of the chapter and its members.

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Shirley Roxborough - Hamilton & District Chapter (June 2008)

Not very long ago, someone described Shirley as having "her fingers on the pulse of our chapter". How true that is. Shirley, our long-time Secretary and longer time colostomate, has seen Chapter Presidents come and go. But one thing has been consistent - she makes sure our Hamilton & District Ostomy Association runs smoothly.

Shirley is the one who keeps the Board members on track with a phone call and a gentle reminder about a job that needs doing - unless you call her first! Shirley is the 'engineer' who keeps the train on the rails. She'll volunteer to do just about anything.

She's the one who answers calls from the community and directs the caller to the appropriate chapter committee member; she checks the postal box regularly and deals with it; she makes sure each of the monthly meetings is advertised on the community channel and in the local newspapers; she corresponds with newsletter advertisers to get new ads or late payments; and she's in contact with people at City Hall and the Lottery Corporation regarding licensing and getting lottery funds for the chapter.

Shirley is not one to shirk responsibility. If she says she'll do something, consider it done! There's one talent she has that no one can match. She can talk anyone into giving a donation such as at Christmas time or any special event where door prizes are needed - like huge stuffed toys, or big turkeys, or gift certificates!. How she does it, no one knows. When questioned where she gets the donations, her reply is "... don't ask!". Then she says, "I know a lot of people!"

Shirley doesn't pussy-foot around problems. She tackles things head-on and if she doesn't agree with something, she'll let you know. And she's almost always right. Shirley is a "diamond in the rough" and our Hamilton Chapter couldn't do without her.

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Marlyne Wight - Saskatoon Chapter (September 2008)

You know, last May when we had our windup with pizza at Sardinia restaurant, I was really concerned that we could not find anyone to serve on the executive. It was after the meeting and before we left Sardinia's, that Marlyne Wight came up to me and asked if she could help in any way. I asked if she would like to organize our bingo night this year. She said sure, it would be fun.

So, during the summer, she worked at getting the hall booked and laying plans so that come the September meeting, we were on the ground running and getting everything ready. Incredible sponsors were found. Incredible prizes were donated. The silent auction was expanded to 14 items instead of just one. Attendance was up from 109 last year to 151 this year. She got her whole family involved. Not only that, but 24 friends and family came out and showed us how to party.

She recruited a team of volunteers and they met every week or so and really put on a great fund-raising supper and bingo night. Please join me in thanking Marlyne Wight for a job well done.

(Submitted by Peter Folk of the Saskatoon Chapter)

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 John and Nora D'Eon, South West Nova Scotia Chapter (June 2009)

John D'Eon has been an ostomate since 1990 and has been a member of the South West Nova Scotia Chapter for many years. John is married to Nora, the chapter refreshment chairperson, and one would go a long way to find such dedicated members. John and Nora never miss a meeting and always add enthusiasm and sparkle to the chapter members' time together.

John and Nora have been married for 46 years and have three children and two grandchildren. They have spent many happy years together and have been bound by a strong relationship that has brought them through many of life's storms. With a welcome for new members, smiles to share and open hearts to ostomates who have experienced the same surgery and life after that, John and Nora are just the right kind of people to be supportive in matters related to living with an ostomy.

Nora has been in charge of refreshments for years, always ensuring a hot cup of tea or coffee and a table laden with many goodies to end the meetings. Nora is also active in her church and her community. She spents time doing crossword puzzles and cross stitch when she has time for herself.

John is equally active in his church and community. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 50 years and loves to play cards with the boys when not out fighting fires. John also loves to hunt and fish and is an amateur blueberry grower (for the first time this year). The chapter is praying for a healthy crop so Nora can bake wonderful pies for the chapter's annual pie sale.

A carpenter for many years, John has produced many shelves and tables for raffling to increase the chapter's bank account. He also weaves baskets and on many occasions teaches this art in his community.

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Cindy Hartmann - Vancouver Chapter (June 2009)

Cindy Hartmann has been a long-time chapter member, one of those quiet folks who show up at the majority of meetings and when asked to do something, can be relied upon to follow through.

When our greeter became unable to continue his duties, Cindy stepped up and has been our stalwart phoner and keeper of the name tags. She holds down the fort at the door and gets the latecomers and newbies seated.

Deb Rooney, vice president and newsletter editor of the Vancouver chapter, says she never has to call Cindy, either. "She is always the first to call me well in advance to get the necessary information to pass on to the members. If she can't make a meeting, she lets you know. If she can't do something she lets you know. If she says she's going to do something, it gets done. I really appreciate this kind of reliability."

Phoning might not seem like that big a deal, but what Cindy does has made a huge difference in our attendance. Phoning involves many hours each time. It reminds folks of the next meeting date and lets them know who our speakers or topics will be. Even the most loyal members can forget a meeting date when there are only five per year but it's Cindy who gets the turnout for us.

"In my opinion, Cindy has been one of the main reasons why our attendance has remained consistent over the years," says Deb.

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Robert Crawford, Saskatoon Ostomy Association. (June 2009)

Robert Crawford has been a member of the Saskatoon Ostomy Association for a number of years. He regularly attends meetings - in fact, the only time he missed a meeting was when he was in the hospital!

Robert is a friendly man and takes a special interest in greeting everyone at the meetings as they come in. He has taken charge of the 50/50 draws for the last number of years and always convinces people to contribute even when they thought they wouldn't.

Robert always enlivens our annual Christmas social by donning his Santa suit and bringing joy to the boys and girls and adults that attend.

He and his wife, Bertha, have taken on the visiting committee chair for the last two years. They regularly talk to the ETs and to the visitors to make sure that every visit is a good one. They take a special interest in new patients and make sure that each is invited to a meeting and receives our bi-monthly newsletters.

Thank you Robert for making the Saskatoon Chapter a better chapter by being our "Unsung Hero".

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