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‘Nanny Angels’ help single mother with cancer care for 4-year-old son

Abeer Salim is fighting for her life. A single mother in the late stages of terminal cancer, she says her treatments and chemotherapy often leave her so drained that she cannot get out of bed, let alone do the one thing the brightens her day the most — play with her young son.

For months now, she has relied on friends to watch four-year-old Mohamed as she battles to reclaim her health. But like many who juggle the roles of young mother and cancer patient, she has found her energy can only take her so far.

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‘Nanny angel’ program takes childcare burden off moms battling cancer

 

Abeer Salim doesn’t need a guardian angel when she has a nanny angel looking after her.

The 42-year-old single mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 when her son Mohamed was 19 weeks old. After enduring a long waiting list, she underwent surgery at Sunnybrook Hospital, a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy over the next year.

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Nanny Angel Network founder developed idea from own breast cancer challenges

Idea for the organization began in treatment waiting room

Audrey Guth remembers sitting outside of a treatment waiting area and watching a mother with her two-year-old climb all over her. The kid was tugging at a scarf that was concealing the woman’s baldness underneath from chemotherapy treatments.

“I could just see the angst in her face and I thought to myself, ‘Me or my friends are going to get breast cancer, that’s just the statistics,’ and it happened to be me,” she said. “What can I do to make sense of this really random act of unkindness? She could never think of ever having a nanny, because most people look at it as a luxury, but I also knew nannies who really wanted to give back to the community.”

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Audrey Guth: 2017 Women of Worth Honouree

Audrey Guth: 2017 Women of Worth Honouree

In early 2017, the Nanny Angel Network was thrilled to announce that NAN founder Audrey Guth had been named a recipient of L’Oréal Paris’s inaugural Canadian Women of Worth program.

The signature philanthropic program embodies the L’Oréal Paris belief that ‘Every Woman Is Worth It’ by elevating and celebrating women who find beauty in giving back. The 10 Women of Worth Honourees were celebrated and awarded more than $100,000 in charitable grants at an Awards Gala on March 8, International Women’s Day, hosted by L’Oréal Paris spokesperson, award-winning actress and humanitarian, Blake Lively.

“We have been inspired and awestruck by the hundreds of Women of Worth nominations we received about extraordinary Canadian women who are selflessly volunteering their time and talents to make Canada a better place,” said Stephanie Binette, General Manager, L’Oréal Paris in Canada. “Our first Canadian Women of Worth are advocates for refugees and the homeless, and champions for women and youth in need, among many other important causes. We applaud this year’s Honourees.”

The Women of Worth program honours Canadian women who selflessly volunteer their time to serve and improve their communities. In its inaugural year in Canada, the program received more than 350 nominations which were judged by L’Oréal Paris, Points of Light, the world’s largest volunteer service organization, and esteemed volunteer leadership experts. Selection criteria was based on the impact of the cause on the social fabric of the community, the nominee’s ability to meet an unmet community need or concern, as well as the passion and innovation she has demonstrated to effect change.

2017 L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Honouree Audrey Guth with actress Blake Lively

NAN’s New Partnership

The Nanny Angel Network is so excited to announce their new partnership with Canadian fashion label Miik this Mother’s Day. Miik, a Canadian fashion label focused on making environmentally friendly clothing that suits all body types, has created a one-of-a-kind infinity scarf in its custom bamboo fabric just for the Nanny Angel Network! With 50% of profits going directly to NAN, this is truly a case of women helping and supporting other women. Miik is led by President Susan Cadman and co-founder Donna Smith, both Canadian moms who were touched when they learned about the Nanny Angel Network and the services that it provides to mothers with cancer in the GTA.

“Donna and I are both working moms and when we learned what the Nanny Angel Network does for Canadian women it really hit home for us,” says Cadman. “The NAN scarf is our way of supporting fellow Canadian moms who are going through the toughest of times.” Miik’s NAN scarf is an incredibly soft, tri-colour infinity scarf in fuchsia, charcoal, and soft pink, separated by a black stripe. Made using Miik’s custom-milled, luxury bamboo fabric it’s produced entirely in the GTA. “All of our manufacturing is done locally to reduce our carbon footprint and support local businesses. The NAN scarf is truly Canadian,” explains Cadman.

Designed by women, for women and with proceeds supporting women in need, the NAN scarf is a symbol of women coming together to care for each other when it’s needed most. “When a mother is diagnosed with cancer, often her first thought is about her children – who will care for them and how will she manage,” says Audrey Guth, Founder of the Nanny Angel Network. “NAN allows mothers to get the rest they need, while their children get the emotional support needed to thrive through this difficult time in their lives.” NAN’s Nanny Angels are childcare professionals who volunteer to provide support to a family throughout a mother’s cancer treatment, something that wouldn’t be possible without supporters like Miik.

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“We’re so grateful that Miik has designed a scarf to support the Nanny Angel Network – the proceeds will help us to provide care to more moms in the GTA,” says Guth. Whether as a beautiful mother’s day gift or simply a stylish addition to your own wardrobe, the NAN scarf is a great way to support the Nanny Angel Network. Every scarf sold helps to provide free, specialized in-home childcare to mothers with cancer in the GTA.

 


Text: Jensine Jones     Photos: Miik