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Allianz Canada announces Canadian Caregiver of the Year Award Recipients, 2001

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    Allianz Canada announces Canadian Caregiver of the Year Award Recipients, 2001

    Allianz Canada announces Canadian Caregiver of the Year Award Recipients, 2001 -- Marguerite Evans receives Caregiver of the Year Award

    TORONTO, Nov 02, 2001 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- Across the country, remarkably selfless individuals have dedicated their lives to helping others. Since 1998, Allianz Canada, one of Canada's leading insurance companies and part of the worldwide Allianz Group, has honoured many of these exceptional, non-professional caregivers through the Caregiver of the Year awards.

    "These individuals share the most admirable of human qualities," says Christian Cassebaum, President and C.E.O., Allianz Canada, "patience, humility and caring. The Allianz Canada Caregiver of the Year Awards are intended to honour all caregivers and offer recognition and thanks for their immeasurable contribution to our society."

    More than 180 entries describing self-sacrifice, kindness and devotion were received this year from across the country. Below are the stories of the five remarkable individuals chosen as this year's Caregiver of the Year and Regional Award recipients.

    Caregiver of the Year Recipient, 2001

    Marguerite Evans, Don Mills, Ontario

    At 76, Marguerite Evans has stood strong in the face of a debilitating genetic disease that has affected her husband and five of her seven children. Her husband Steven developed Huntington Disease (HD) when Marguerite was a young mother leaving her solely responsible for the children and for Stephen's care. As the disease progressed, Steven became disabled quite quickly and was difficult to care for due to the nature of the disease, which affects individuals emotionally, cognitively and physically. Stephen lived with the disease for another 17 years with Marguerite by his side, feeding, bathing and shaving him throughout the last years of his life even as he became confined to a hospital bed. When he died in 1994, two of Marguerite's children, (now 43 and 41 respectively) began showing symptoms of HD. Since then, both of these children have been unable to work and rely on Marguerite for support. Within the last few years, three of Marguerite's other children have also developed symptoms of HD and are struggling to survive independently, relying on her extensively. Yet even with her personal circumstances, Marguerite still manages to keep a positive attitude and also continues to volunteer on a regular basis, always willing to help someone else.

    In nominating Marguerite for the $10,000 award, Nancy Webb, Director of the Toronto Huntington Disease Resource Centre said, "Her courage and indomitable spirit are awe-inspiring. When you listen to her or watch the way she tackles incredible personal hardships, you can't help but be inspired to try a little harder or complain a little less."

    Regional Award Recipients, 2001:
    2001 Atlantic Provinces Award Recipient, Ethel Pilgrim, St. Anthony,
    Ethel Pilgrim has been taking care of her son Boyde for the past 27 years. In 1974, Boyde was in a terrible car accident, leaving him in a coma for almost two years, paralyzed from the waist down and suffering nerve damage to his upper body. An accidental fire a few years ago also left him with third degree burns on his head, arms, neck and chest. For years, Ethel cared for Boyde with help from her husband, but he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1994, subsequently passing away in 1997.

    At 69, Ethel has been caring for Boyde entirely on her own, lifting him in and out of bed, feeding him, seeing to his personal hygiene, etc. Ethel's granddaughter Bonnie wrote in nominating her, "She's an extremely special being in oh so many ways. She has a big, strong heart, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to help her disabled son. She still carries with her a great sense of humour and a smile on her pretty face."

    2001 Quebec Award Recipient, Lawrence B. Clifford, Pointe Claire, Quebec

    At age 87, Lawrence continues to care for his 83-year-old wife who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease about ten years ago. As the disease progressed, Lawrence's wife asked him to promise her that he would allow her to remain at home, no matter what happened. Lawrence gave her his word. Now in the advanced stages of the disease, Lawrence's wife requires constant care. She is bed ridden, cannot speak intelligibly and is fed, changed, turned and bathed by Lawrence according to a demanding 24 hour schedule. In addition to caring for his wife, Lawrence performs all the household chores - his day begins at 7am and ends at 11pm.

    Lawrence's daughter Mary-Elizabeth nominated her father for the award and said, "Dad does it all - and does it with remarkable devotion, tenderness, understanding and love. All who see him are amazed at his stamina and endurance...Dad just says (Mum) deserves a chance to be where she's happy and where she wants to be... and that he will do it for as long as he can."

    2001 Western Provinces Award Recipient, Dennis McHugh, Ferintosh, Alberta

    Dennis McHugh's wife Deanna was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1969, four years after she and Dennis were married. Over the years, the disease has progressed and Deanna must now use a wheelchair to get around, guided by the strength left in her right arm. Dennis is Deanna's caregiver. He bathes her, dresses her, makes her breakfast, exercises her arms and legs and assists her in using the washroom, along with performing the household duties. Before Dennis retired in 1999 at age 61, he managed to provide this level of care while working full time, 40 hours per week as a custodian. He would prepare her supper before he left and phoned her throughout his shift to see how she was doing. In March 2000, Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer. Dennis began driving Deanna to Calgary regularly for various appointments, tests, chemotherapy and daily radiation treatments while also having to learn new techniques for lifting Deanna.

    Dennis's nominator Dawn Rappel said, "Throughout this challenging and demanding lifestyle, Dennis remains a strong-willed, compassionate and caring man...He makes sacrifices to ensure that Deanna receives the best possible care, and demonstrates courage, strength and unconditional love."

    2001 British Columbia and Territories Award Recipient, Sheila Ellen Lee,

    Victoria, British Columbia

    Sheila Ellen Lee has taken on the roll of caregiver for over 32 years to her foster sister Enna Hoseck, who has Down syndrome. When her mother deserted her family of seven children, Sheila helped care for her siblings, and at age 18 began to take care of Enna, even though Sheila herself has developmental disabilities. Along with attending to Enna's physical needs and providing her with emotional support, Sheila volunteers at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children's Health and has done this four days a week for over 32 years. Despite the limits placed upon her by her caregiving, Sheila began working to graduate from high school through the Open Learning Agency. She succeeded in earning her BC Adult Graduation Diploma in March of this year.

    Her nominator, Cynthia K. Mitchell, has said "From 1969 to the present, Sheila has remained the loyal and devoted caregiver of Enna...and has served as a volunteer caregiver to hundreds of children. Her life is exemplary."

    The 2001 Panel


    This year's judges were: Faye Porter, Vice President, Quality, Research and Volunteer Development, VON; Andria Spindel, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario March of Dimes; Charlotte Empey, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Living; Karen Henderson, Founder, Caregiver Network and; Elizabeth Fulford, Past President, Ontario Community Support Association; Judy DesRoches, Vice President of Marketing, Allianz Canada.

    Allianz Canada, Protecting what Matters


    Allianz Canada is well aware of changing social dynamics: Canada's senior population has grown at an unprecedented rate and the enormous baby boom generation is heading towards retirement age. This growing population of older Canadians with greater life expectancy - plus changes in the health care system and social services - has increased the pressure on caregivers in this country.

    Caregivers are often not aware of the support services available to them. As part of Allianz Canada's ongoing program to recognize and support Canada's caregivers, the Allianz Canada Online Caregiving Information Directory, launched in May 2000, allows Canadian caregivers to quickly and easily access a directory of organizations that will provide services they need to cope, including homecare and home assistance, transportation, assistive devices, palliative care, counselling and support along with a listing of other directories and resources. The directory can be accessed at
    Nominations 2002


    Canadians are asked to nominate non-professional caregivers they consider as exceptional. Nominations are to include a testimonial of 500 words or less, describing the circumstances both of the caregiver and the care recipient. The names of the nominator, the caregiver, the care recipient, one other person familiar with the caregiving situation and contact information must also be included.

    Nominations will be accepted from May 2002 to August 2002. An independent committee will judge the nominations in September. Recipients of the Awards will be announced in November 2002.

    Nomination criteria and requirements for entitlement can be obtained from Allianz Canada, Awards Program, 10 York Mills Road, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M2P 2G5 or the Allianz Canada Website at
    The Allianz Group operates in over 70 countries, and manages assets in excess of 700 billion euros (Cdn $988 billion), with written premiums of about 68.5 billion euros (Cdn $97 billion). Allianz employs over 119,000 people worldwide. The Canadian operation ranks in the top 10 of the Canadian property and casualty market, with over $709 million in written premiums and total assets of over $1.5 billion. All figures as of 12/00.

    What a wonderful idea!

    I think that we should do this at this site... People should nominate a caregiver of the year and let us give a prize.