Remarkable Caregivers Treated to Day Out at 15th Annual Heart of Home Care Awards on National Carers Day


TORONTO, ON, April 2, 2019 – VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) honoured four caregiving heroes – Nazaneen Qauomi, Lindsey Yeskoo, Patrick Santillo and Carolyn Cowan – with Heart of Home Care Awards at the not-for-profit’s 15th annual event today in Toronto. The award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of a friend or family member who has gone above and beyond to provide a loved one who is disabled, elderly, or chronically ill with the support needed to live at home with more independence.


“We began this event to raise awareness of the challenges of family caregivers and to bring their growing needs to the fore. To that end, we’re delighted that EVERYONE—be it home care organizations, hospitals and government—is listening,” notes VHA President and CEO, Carol Annett. Though their stories are unique, compassion, patience and drive are recurring themes in all the nominations. “We know that caregivers are resilient. They deserve our respect, our understanding and our support. And one way we can extend this support to them is by giving them a memorable and engaging afternoon out.” The event—which included a special luncheon for the nominees and winners, a musical performance by CBC’s Top 10 Searchlight Finalist, Stacey Renee, and an inspiring keynote on resiliency by Meg Soper, is VHA’s small way to thank caregivers. “We need to keep telling these incredible stories to not only show our support for unpaid caregivers, but also to remind the powers that be that we can never take their role for granted,” says Annett.


Winner Profiles:


Nazaneen (Naz) Qauomi — Caring with Compassion Award.  Shortly after Naz and her family arrived in Canada from Afghanistan when she was just 22, her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  On top of becoming a full-time caregiver to her father and interpreter for his medical appointments, Naz manages to perform spoken-word poetry, hold down a part-time job as a pharmacist’s assistant and is pursuing a master’s degree in innovation. Watch video.

Lindsey Yeskoo — Caring and Sharing Award. When her daughter Emily was diagnosed with a rare neurodegenerative disease at age 10, Lindsey was told Emily might live weeks. That was 16 years ago. Since then Toronto’s only hospice for children was named in Emily’s honour: Emily’s House. Though Emily is unable to speak and has limited mobility, with Lindsey’s help, the pair continues to share their story and teach the world about compassionate care and defying expectations. Watch video.

Patrick Santillo — Creative Caregiving Award. When Patrick’s mom was diagnosed with dementia, he decided to close his construction business to care for her. But that didn’t stop Patrick from creating. Out of necessity, Patrick became a caregiving “MacGyver,” creating solutions to make his mom more comfortable and safe.  Those who know Patrick suggest his incredible, creative care has extended his mother’s life, kept her mobile and defied doctors’ expectations. Watch video.


Carolyn Cowan — Young Caregiver Award. After Carolyn’s grandmother, Olga, was diagnosed with dementia, she needed extra help. Carolyn gladly volunteered despite her own battle with a brain tumor.  Though Olga has since moved into a care facility, Carolyn visits religiously. She’s also working on finishing high school, acts as a SickKids Ambassador, and is hoping to pursue her dream of being a Child Life Specialist, even though she just completed consecutive years of chemotherapy. Watch video.


The Heart of Home Care Award event would not be possible without our generous sponsors:

PACE Consulting, Teak Printing, GoldCare, BDO IT Solutions Canada, Big Red Oak and Manulife.


About VHA Home HealthCare

VHA Home HealthCare—a not-for-profit, charity—has inspired Ontarians to create possibilities for more independence since 1925. VHA’s professional team of over 2,700 caring, compassionate people support clients and their families throughout Ontario and is proudly:


  • Accredited with Exemplary Standing by Accreditation Canada.
  • An RNAO Best Practice Spotlight Organization.
  • A United Way GTA Anchor Agency.


For further information contact:
Tracey Turriff

Senior Communications and Public Relations Manager
VHA Home HealthCare
Work: 416.280.8426

Cell: 416.565.8483

Email: tturriff@vha.ca

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