At a special gala Monday night at the inaugural Canadian Caregiving Summit, we celebrated the ongoing efforts of caregivers, care providers and care organizations – and announced the winners of six awards given to those who have truly gone above and beyond.

The awards reflect the spectrum of people and issues that touch the Canadian caregiving community. We congratulate this year’s awardees and thank them for their exceptional commitments to helping others.

Vickie Cammack Trailblazer Award

Goes to: One who has shown passion and dedication to improving caregiving in Canada, named in memory of the co-founder of the social enterprise Planned Lifetime Advocacy Networks.

Winner: Donna Thomson. A caregiver, author and activist, Donna cares for her son with severe disabilities and, later, her mother who lived with dementia. She is also an educator and curriculum designer at McMaster University.

Outstanding Achievement Award

Goes to: An organization that makes an outstanding effort to raise awareness of what it is like to be a caregiver in Canada.

Winner: Nadine Henningsen, Carers Canada. Nadine has spent three decades leading the Canadian Home Care Association, has joined coalitions and committees, and has advised government planning bodies. She earned a 2012 Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding contributions to home care across Canada.

Caregiver Advocacy Award

Goes to: A person or group committed to advocating for caregivers locally or nationally.

Winner: Katrina Prescott. A passionate advocate motivated by her experiences caring for her grandmother and later her mother with dementia, Katrina created an innovative educational series that, for over 1 million people, has been an effective caregiving and dementia advocacy tool. She is also the first co-chair of the Canadian Caregiver Advisory Network.

Young Caregiver Advocate Award

Goes to: A person or group showing exemplary leadership in supporting young caregivers, of whom there are over 1.25 million in Canada.

Winner: Oliver Fitzpatrick. Young carers coordinator at AMI-Quebec, Oliver takes his personal experience to promote awareness, research and policies targeting the needs of young carers, for whom he also provides direct support.

Care Provider Leadership Award

Goes to: Someone who has shown remarkable dedication in both the care they provide and conceiving ideas to help reform the sector.

Winner: Juanita Forde. A direct support professional and chief steward at a CUPE Local, Juanita co-chairs the union’s Human Rights and Racial Justice Committee in Ontario and serves as Equity and Inclusion representative on its Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee.

Research Excellence Award

Goes to: Leaders in research whose academic achievements have supported our national understanding of the impacts of care.

Winners: Drs. Jasneet Parmar, Sharon Anderson. Dr. Parmar is a professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta (UofA) and 30-year expert in senior’s care. Her research and clinical interests focus on family caregivers supporting frail or older adults. Dr. Anderson is family caregiver and research coordinator at UofA’s family medicine department and is president of the Alberta Association on Gerontology.