Chair of Nephrology Peer Support Program receives 2017 Human Touch Award
Recovering from transplant surgery, many patients focus on the future. But when Craig Lindsay picked up the phone after his kidney-pancreas transplant, the past was at the top of his mind.
On the other end of the line was a fellow chronic kidney disease patient who needed support.
“He was very early in his diagnosis and was overwhelmed: dialysis options, whether to continue working, what his future would look like. He spoke about being afraid,” Craig recalls. “I said to him, ‘I can remember being as afraid as you are.’ I told him I still struggle, but we will both have more good days than bad days.”
Today Craig, an extraordinarily committed volunteer at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital (SRH), will be honoured at the 11th annual Human Touch Awards presented by Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network. The awards honour two volunteers and 10 health care professionals from across Ontario who provide the ‘human touch’ by offering support, guidance, and encouragement to patients and families they encounter.
“My family and I were supported immensely by a whole network of volunteers,” Craig explains. “So when I was healthy enough to start volunteering myself, it felt good. Staff at this hospital understand the therapeutic value of patients supporting patients. It is a privilege to give back after being on dialysis.”
A former Emergency Medical Services Practitioner, Craig initially received peritoneal dialysis at SRH, progressed through in-centre hemodialysis to home hemodialysis, and received a transplant in May, 2014. A generous and compassionate volunteer, Craig has been involved with the peer support program – which he now chairs – since shortly after his diagnosis. He is known for his positive attitude and willingness to share useful information with fellow patients.
“Craig is so committed to his fellow patients,” says Ethel Doyle, director, chronic disease management and nephrology at SRH. “He is not afraid to share his personal experience and help newly-diagnosed patients cope with this disease. As a health care provider, that’s a perspective that I can’t provide. Support from somebody who has gone through it is so priceless. And it takes a special person to support others while a patient himself.”
Beyond volunteering with the peer support program, Craig is actively involved with the SRH Community and Patient Advisory Council, the Regional Nephrology Patient and Family Advisory Council, and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
The Human Touch Awards were created to highlight the importance of providing emotional support to people with cancer and kidney disease, in addition to the medical treatment they already receive. The awards also showcase the incredible work taking place across the province each day by committed, dedicated and compassionate health care professionals and volunteers. Since its inception in 2007, more than 80 health care professionals and volunteers from Ontario’s cancer and kidney care communities have been recognized with a Human Touch Award.
“Health care professionals and volunteers play essential roles in Ontario’s cancer and kidney care systems,” says Michael Sherar, president and CEO of CCO. “It is important to recognize the individuals who go the extra mile to make a lasting impact in the lives of patients and their families. The celebration of their dedication and commitment helps promote efficient, safe, high-quality and compassionate care for all Ontarians.”
SRH, Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network acknowledge the generous support of the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Ontario branch and the RBC Foundation, sponsors of the 11th annual Human Touch Awards. The partnerships between Cancer Care Ontario, the Ontario Renal Network, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and other organizations, health professionals, front-line care providers and volunteers make up the chronic kidney disease program that are essential to providing and maintaining high-quality health care in the province.
For more information on the Human Touch Awards, including high-resolution images and a complete listing of 2017 award recipients, visit www.cancercare.on.ca/humantouch or www.renalnetwork.on.ca/humantouch.