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Nanny Angel Michelle Donais

Meet Nanny Angel Michelle

Like the children she cares for, Michelle Donais has parents with cancer. She has witnessed firsthand just how painfully difficult it can be to deal with the illness and its treatments, along with day-to-day life, let alone caring for young children on top of it all.

Michelle has spent her life dedicating her free time to organizations benefiting children with cancer. She’s volunteered at summer camps for children with cancer, participated in fundraising events, and even plans to cycle Canada from coast to coast in order to raise awareness and funds for children with the disease. After learning about the Nanny Angel Network, Michelle submitted an application and was welcomed into the organization.

Michelle volunteers with a family that’s close to NAN’s heart. She looks after two young girls who recently lost their mother, Sherri. The parallels between their grief and Michelle’s own struggles as she cared for her own sick parents have brought her and the girls together.

“As Sherri’s cancer was progressing, I was also dealing with my own Mom’s cancer progression,” Michelle says. “I ended up moving back to my parent’s home for several months and wasn’t able to physically be with the girls because of the geography, so I arranged with their father to Skype with the girls as often as I could.”

“Their mother and my Mom shared many of the same symptoms and effects of the cancer and treatments, experiences in and out of the hospital, and their desire to be at home as their diseases advanced.” The similarities between their situations weren’t lost on the girls, either. They’d often ask Michelle questions about her own mother’s illness, which led to a dialogue about their feelings and concerns.

“They did ask me questions about my Mom and her illness, that I knew related to what Sherri was going through,” Michelle says. These questions included ‘Can your Mommy eat anything?’ (she had an NG tube, similar to their mother, and was able to eat very little), and ‘Where does she sleep?’ (in a hospital bed in the living room, also similar to their mother). “The training we were given from NAN helped me to answer them and also connect with them through our shared experiences,” Michelle says.

NAN used every resource possible to support Michelle and the family she cared for through the mother’s illness, treatment, and death. “The support from the NAN team has been tremendous. As Sherri’s disease progressed, the NAN team was incredible with providing us with various tools and resources to support the family,” Michelle says.

“Many years ago, I heard a quote that had a big impact on me: ‘No one can do anything about the quantity of life, but we all can do something about the quality.’ Being able to support Sherri during her illness, and provide her with much needed time for respite, while at the same time creating a fun environment for her kids, was meaningful and important to Sherri and her family. This has been a life changing experience for me, and I know that volunteering as a Nanny Angel has created a meaningful difference, not only for this family but also for myself. I’ve created a special bond with this family that I hope will last a lifetime.”

Volunteer Michelle with one of her NAN children, Hanora

Michelle with one of her NAN children, Hanora

Meet the Donors: Jeff & Diana Kerbel | Brampton Brick

“If you can do it, you’ve got to do it.” That’s the mentality that sets Diana and Jeff Kerbel apart and has made them two of the Nanny Angel Network’s most dedicated supporters. “We have been fortunate, and want to make sure that others can feel the same,” Diana says. Diana and her husband, Jeff, President and CEO of Brampton Brick, have given the Nanny Angel Network a new understanding of the word philanthropy through their generous contributions to the organization. In 2015, Brampton Brick donated $100,000 to NAN – the largest amount the organization has ever received from one donor.

Brampton Brick’s support is critical to NAN’s expansion across the GTA. “Jeff and Diana Kerbel are truly Guardian Angels of our organization. Their investment in the Nanny Angel Network is changing the way moms and their children endure the stress of a cancer diagnosis,” says NAN Founder, Audrey Guth.

If you ask Diana and Jeff about why they chose NAN, they’re quick to answer. “My mother had cancer and I saw what it cost for her care. I can’t imagine how young families do it. There are people there for palliative care and other services, but no one else is out there looking after the families,” says Jeff. The Kerbels emphasized the importance of organizations like NAN in their community and stressed their ongoing commitment to support the growth and success of the Nanny Angel Network.

After volunteering on the Angels & Heroes Event Committee for the inaugural gala, Diana joined NAN again in 2017 as a Co-Chair. “I had been to so many charity events over the years and part of so many committees, I wasn’t looking to do any more, but Audrey kept pursuing me. She would not let me go,” says Diana, laughing as she recalls Audrey reaching out. “It’s been a rewarding experience.”

When asked what they would want to share with people who are just learning about NAN, Jeff answered. “NAN is a great organization. I would love to see people make space for NAN in their giving.” Their interest in sharing NAN with their community has been monumental for NAN’s growth and development. At the inaugural Angels & Heroes Celebration, Diana and Jeff Kerbel were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the organization.

First Annual Angel Prom

Join us for the first annual Angel Prom; an evening brought to you by the Nanny Angel Network (NAN), Avid Apparel, and Collectif NUDE at the newly renovated Broadview Hotel.

Angel Prom is your chance to support mothers in need, all while experiencing a night to remember. Guests will be treated to an evening of cocktails, live musical performances, and exciting raffle prizes you won’t want to miss! All proceeds from the Angel Prom go directly to NAN.

Musical lineup to be announced soon | 19+

September 17, 2017 | 8:00 PM | 106 Broadview Ave, Toronto ON

RSVP on FacebookPurchase tickets

Nanny Angel Network, Avid Apparel, and Collectif NUDE would like to thank all of our amazing sponsors for their help in making the Angel Prom such a wonderful event!

Air Transat | Ascari Enoteca | Balloon Trix | BSIDE Beauty |  Celebrity Limousine
Eastbound Brewing Company | Elevate | Garden’s Path Floral Design | Honda Canada Inc.
Hudson’s Bay Company | KIND Snacks | Kwiksitter | MLSE | Nine West
Poppys Collection | Red Bull | Sapporo


Top 5 Ways to Stay Safe in the Sun

In the warm summer months, it’s hard to resist the urge to spend time in the sun soaking up the warmth – especially with how long our winters are in Canada! However, before you slip on the flip-flops and head to the beach, there’s some important steps to take to reduce your risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer). Nanny Angel Network shares our top 5 tips to stay sun safe and protect your skin!

  1. Stay in the shade when possible, whether this means under a beach umbrella or a tree – the best shade protects from above and from the sides, such as a gazebo!
  2. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants, skirts, or maxi dresses made from tightly-woven fabrics, such as polyester. You can also find specially made UV-protective clothing that block both UVA and UVB rays. The most important thing is to limit how much skin is being exposed to the sunlight!
  3. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your neck, head, and face. The brim should go around the entire hat to ensure that you are completely protected!
  4. Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to all exposed skin. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended by doctors. Make sure you check the bottle for directions on when to reapply! The skin of your lips is also susceptible to burns – lip balm with a minimum SPF of 30 should be applied to protect your lips.
  5. Wear good quality sunglasses with 99% or 100% UVA and UVB absorption. The best sunglasses have frames that fit close to the face and are wraparound, protecting the eyes from exposure to sunlight from the sides. These are especially important to help reduce the risk of ocular melanoma!

The sun’s rays are strongest between 11am and 4pm, making it even more important to follow these tips during those hours. You should also make sure you are drinking lots of cool liquids if you’re spending a lot of time in the sun and heat – even if you don’t yet feel thirsty!

While most people spend far more time outside during the summer, it is important to remember these tips in the winter, and even when it isn’t sunny. Sunlight reflects off of clouds, potentially causing damage to skin even on cloudy days. Snow has a similar effect in the winter – you’ve probably seen someone come back from a ski trip with goggle tan (a bonus tip for skiers: check your googles for their UV protection rating before hitting the slopes!). Keep wearing sunscreen and sunglasses all year round, have fun, and stay safe!

Read more on the Cancer Care Ontario website

A Mom’s Story: Beth

“One of the cutest things is that she kind of sees the Nanny Angel as a friend who is coming over to visit her. I’ve just kept it like that, I don’t call her a babysitter.  It’s like her special friend who is an adult. So, I think that makes her feel kind of special. It’ll be a sad day on our last Nanny Angel visit.”

Raising a 4-year-old is challenging no matter which way you cut it. Add on a cancer diagnosis and you’re on a whole different playing field. This is the reality that Beth and her husband Todd were forced to confront in 2015.

Beth was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015 and underwent a mastectomy soon after. Surgery was followed by chemotherapy, chemotherapy by radiation, and radiation by more medication. “The biggest challenge was probably looking after my daughter, for sure,” Beth said.

During the first few months of treatment, Beth and Todd struggled to juggle an overwhelming number of doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy sessions, and medical decisions while still trying to maintain some normalcy for their daughter, Charlotte. Beth had to constantly arrange for family, friends, or paid help to look after Charlotte. “I could never let a day go by where there was nobody involved,” she said. One chemotherapy treatment was particularly bad because its side effects were so unpredictable. “It was a bit unsettling not knowing how bad I was going to feel with the next treatment or how much help I was going to need.”

When the Nanny Angel Network stepped in, taking care of Charlotte suddenly became one less thing Beth had to worry about. Having a Nanny Angel meant there was someone who Beth could consistently rely on to care for Charlotte – no questions asked or favours owed. Having a few extra hours each week meant that Beth could take the chance to sleep or read a book. As she moved farther along her recovery journey and regained strength, she joined an exercise class that helped her get back into shape and return to a more normal rhythm of life. One evening, Beth and Todd got to go out for dinner while the Nanny Angel was over – a rare opportunity they hadn’t had in a very long time.

While Beth has since recovered and graduated from the Nanny Angel Network’s services, her and Charlotte cherish the memories of their Nanny Angel – and the help she provided to their whole family.

Charlotte and her Nanny Angel, Jen

8th Annual Chantal Millet Memorial Golf Tournament

The 8th annual Chantal Millet Memorial Golf Tournament was held Saturday, June 3rd at Pelham Hills Golf Club in Welland, Ontario. The Millet family began hosting the event in 2009 in honour of Chantal, following her four-year battle with breast cancer. Husband Ian and daughters Lauren and Andrea decided the best way to celebrate Chantal’s life would be an annual golf tournament where family and friends could gather and celebrate their memories of her.

In 2016, the Millet family decided to donate all funds raised through the tournament to the Nanny Angel Network, and we are thrilled that they chose to donate to NAN again this year! This year’s event raised an incredible $5,794! A huge thank you to the Millet Family for their generosity and support. NAN staff members Emily and Jensine were in attendance to speak to participants about NAN and to help out with the “sink the dinghy” game. The day was made all the more exciting by the fact that, for the first time in the 8 years of the tournament’s history, a golfer actually managed to get a ball into the dinghy. It was a wonderful day, and we are already looking forward to next year’s tournament!

“Chantal Millet was a fun loving, avid golfer whose idea of a good time on the golf course was taking way more shots than necessary, and always said “if you follow all the rules, you will miss all the fun”. The tournament has become a means for friends and family from all over Ontario and Quebec to gather together, remember their amazing friend and family member, all while raising money for charity. We are thrilled to partner with NAN as our exclusive charity for this year and the future.” – Lauren Millet

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

2016 Nanny Angel of the Year Award

Every year, we recognize the outstanding commitment, dedication and enthusiasm of one of our Nanny Angel volunteers.

Meet our 2016 Nanny Angel of the Year, Verna Ross.

Verna has been a dedicated Nanny Angel since April 2014. In her time with NAN, she has logged over 350 hours and provided support to 10 families. Verna has touched many lives. Below is just one example of the difference she makes for the families she supports.

“A very big thank you to Verna for her absolute devotion and dedication. She is truly an angel. She has shown so much love, care and kindness to me and my son.  My son eagerly looks forward to their outings together and I can tell when he gets home from each outing that he’s had so much fun.” – Felicia, NAN Mom

When asked why she chooses to volunteer her time with the Nanny Angel Network, Verna expressed how much she appreciates having the opportunity to share her expertise in childcare. Verna was beyond gracious when we presented her with the award, saying, “it is a privilege to be a Nanny Angel and an honour to have mothers entrust their children to me during their struggle with cancer. Your organization has enabled me to reach out to mothers who both need and appreciate help. My volunteering experience with NAN has been very rewarding and special.”

Congratulations to Verna on being awarded our 2016 Nanny Angel of the Year!

Our work at the Nanny Angel Network would not be possible without amazing volunteers like Verna. We appreciate all our Nanny Angels for volunteering their time, opening up their heart and providing support to NAN families when they need it most.

7th Annual Chantal Millet Memorial Golf Tournament

NAN Receives Generous Gift of $4,300

Saturday, July 23rd marked the 7th annual Chantal Millet Memorial Golf Tournament, hosted at Sparrow Lakes Golf Club in Welland Ontario. The Millet family began hosting the event in honour of Chantal, who succumbed to breast cancer after a four year battle. Husband Ian and daughters Lauren and Andrea decided the best way to honour Chantal would be an annual golf tournament where family and friends can gather and celebrate their memories of her.

This year’s event raised a total of $4,300 and all proceeds were donated to NAN! A big thank you to the Millet Family for their generosity and support. We look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership and working together more in the future. The day was full of fun and sun on the course followed by dinner and prizes. Our very own Emily was in attendance and all participants were sporting pink – which you know we love!

“Chantal Millet was a fun loving, avid golfer whose idea of a good time on the golf course was taking way more shots than necessary, and always said “if you follow all the rules, you will miss all the fun”. After just completing the 7th annual Chantal Millet Memorial Golf Tournament, the day has become a means for friends and family from all over Ontario and Quebec to gather together, remember their amazing friend and family member, all while raising money for charity. We are thrilled to partner with NAN as our exclusive charity for this year and the future.” – Lauren Millet