2012 Recipients

LOCAL Award: Michelle Van Dijk

The LOCAL Making A Difference Award is presented to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of local significance in multiple births issues within Canada.


The 2012 MADA award in the Local category was presented to Michelle Van Dijk of the Kitchener-Waterloo Parents of Multiple Births Assocation.


Michelle is a positive and engaging member of the K-W Pomba Executive.  As current Treasurer for the club, she keeps the Board on track with their spending, but also goes out of her way to find ways to save the chapter money, and makes sure the sale disbursements, including hundreds of cheques, are completed successfully and promptly.  Counting the money isn’t all Michelle does though, she spends countless hours volunteering at social events, helping those members in need, and has spent many hours with new and expectant parents, connecting with them and counselling them as needed.  Her personality and drive are considered to be huge assets to the club. 

She is respectful and dedicated, energetic and humble.  Her logical and calming nature have helped the Board through many challenges.  Michelle has dedicated so many hours of her time representing K-W POMBA and helping their members while still holding down a full time job, raising four beautiful children and supporting and championing for her physically disabled husband.

Her peers had no trouble nominating Michelle, describing her as “someone who understands what you are going through and helps you”, as “amazing, remarkable and irreplaceable”, and as “an asset to our club in so many more ways”.  They felt Michelle deserved to be recognized for her tireless efforts and her selfless giving.  Multiple Births Canada agrees and congratulates Michelle for Making A Difference!

Michelle: "I feel very honored to have been nominated and chosen for this award.  I have been indebted to my local chapter KW POMBA since finding out I was expecting Baby 3 and 4 to our family at 9 weeks pregnant in 2005.  We knew the chances of multiples would be higher with having to go the fertility treatment route due to my husband's paralysis.  From the moment I found out, I immediately contacted the club for assistance and support.  I was so overwhelmed and touched with support and generosity that I decided when my daughters were 8 months old, I would start training to become a Peer Health Worker, and join the Executive Board.  I have never looked back.  These last 6 plus years have been amazing.  It makes my heart feel warm to give back to those who needed what I needed back at the beginning.  I have made so many friendships throughout this club and I will be forever grateful for that."

Local Honourable Mention: Nina Garcia and Kerry Sutton

This year we had an entire chapter who reinvented themselves.  In a time when volunteers are sometimes scarce and lives so often busy, two driven and enthusiastic women stepped forward to bring together a chapter locally and to represent themselves nationally.  The Twins Plus Association of Brampton and in particular Nina Garcia and Kerry Sutton should be commended for their enthusiasm, their courage and their commitment to their chapter and members and to the multiple birth community. 


Some accomplishments this year include a fantastic and well received clothing sale, pulling together as an entire chapter to help a multiples

family who lost everything in a house fire, and organizing National Multiple Birth Awareness Day Celebration at Canada’s Wonderland attended by numerous MBC Chapters including Guelph, Temiskaming,  Sarnia and others. 

This chapter and in particular Kerry and Nina embody what being a part of the multiple births community is all about, and Multiple Births Canada honours them and wishes them continued success!  Nina & Kerry were both very excited and wanted to express their thoughts.


Nina said, "I would like to thank MBC and MADA for the honourable mention - it means so much to the TPAB Executive Committee to be recognized for the hard work we have put in this past year.  This honour is not mine and Kerry's alone - but also to be shared with Heather, Devon, Tamara and Johanne.  We work as a TEAM and none of our accomplishments could have been possible without the entire team!  THANKS Ladies – you rock!  TPAB is now thriving and growing and it makes me so happy that so many more multiples families in our community are reaping the rewards as a result of that... looking forward to many more years helping TPAB and MBC!”

Kerry wanted to say, “I am so humbled and honoured to be recognized for the hard work Nina and I have done over the last year.  Our chapter has become something I personally am very passionate about.  Nina and I could not have gotten through the year without our dedicated executive committee and volunteers, and also the guidance we have received from MBC board members.  We are looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring now that Twins Plus Assoc. of Brampton is back on its feet! Thanks again to MADA for our honourable mention!”

National Award: Lynda Haddon

The MADA NATIONAL award is presented to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for outstanding accomplishments of national significance in multiple births issues in Canada.


The 2012 National Making A Difference Award was presented to Lynda Haddon, for her exceptional and generous volunteer work that she does on behalf of multiple births families across Canada.


Lynda has many accomplishments within the multiple birth community which she has been a part of for over 25 years locally, nationally and internationally.  Some of her accomplishments include:

  • Chair of Breastfeeding Support Network including creating fact sheets, a Breastfeeding Support Kit that chapters can give their members, and compiling The Milky Way, Lynda’s monthly newsletter to members which in August 2012 released it’s 87th issue.

  • Chair and Founder of the Loss Support Network, authoring over 15 fact sheets, providing bereavement support to multiple birth families worldwide and of course author of the monthly newsletter Forever Angels which in August 2012 reached issue #157!

  • Lynda has been a representative for MBC regarding many bereavement and breastfeeding issues facing multiple births families, and she is regarded nationally and internationally as an expert in both of these fields.

  • Member and Chair of the Ottawa Coalition for the Prevention of Low Birth Weight

  • Advisor to MBC Board members for over two decades, providing support and information whenever it’s needed

  • Chair of her local chapter of Ottawa Twins Parents Association (now known as the Multiple Birth Families Association of Ottawa-Gatineau) and of POMBA Canada (now known as Multiple Births Canada)


Lynda exemplifies the dedication, caring heart and professional approach that Multiple Births Canada strives for and supports multiple birth families across the nation.  We are forever thankful that she continues to give so selflessly to our community and we recognize her many achievements.

Lynda offered up the following words to describe her award:"The only experience better than raising my own twins and their older sister has been the extraordinary joy in helping so many others for so many years. I am grateful for the recognition of this devotion."    

International Award: Kimberley Weatherall

The MADA INTERNATIONAL award is presented to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for exceptional accomplishments of international significance in multiple births issues and that has a Canadian element or impact on the Canadian multiple-birth community.


This years’ recipient of the International MADA Award is Kimberley Weatherall.

2012 mark’s Kimberley’s 25th year as a volunteer in the Multiple Birth Community!

Along with the work that Kimberley continues to do with MBC as our Acting Executive Director, there are numerous International responsibilities that she has tackled in the last couple of years.

Kim accepted leadership of the International Council of Multiple Birth Organizations (ICOMBO) in 2007 and over the last five years “transformed it into a cohesive focused global community”.  

As Chair of ICOMBO, Kim was directly responsible for or played a role for the following:

  • Chairing/organizing ICOMBO sessions at the International Congress on Twin Studies in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea and this year in Florence, Italy.

  • Developing & gaining acceptance for a new organizational structure for ICOMBO

  • Pursuing & launching a new identity and logo for the organization

  • Pursuing & launching a new website for ICOMBO (with the help of some key MBC members of course!)

  • Creating & monitoring a new Facebook group that now has worldwide members

  • Producing ICOMBO newsletters for the last five years

  • Pursuing & launching International Multiple Births Awareness Week (first celebrated in 2010 worldwide)

  • Encouraging a complete review of the Declaration of Rights and Statement of Twins and Higher Order Multiples, completed in 2010 (again with key MBC members!)

The work that Kim has accomplished with ICOMBO in the last 5 years will continue to benefit many countries and multiple birth families worldwide in years to come.  This impressive international legacy is even more outstanding  because during this entire time, Kim continued to actively volunteer in a leadership level both nationally and locally as well.  Kimberley Weatherall has truly achieved exceptional accomplishments of international significance and Multiple Births Canada recognizes her many achievements!

"I am very honored to have been chosen as this year’s winner of the International Making a Difference Award, and would like to express my sincerest appreciation to those who have nominated me. Representing Multiple Births Canada with the International Council of Multiple Birth Organizations (ICOMBO) and the International Society for Twin Studies (ISTS) has been a very rewarding experience. I am very pleased to have been a part of a move to have more interaction and sharing amongst national organizations world-wide and to help build ICOMBO into a stronger organization.  To be recognized for my passion for volunteering in the area of multiple births, and presented to me while surrounded by my peers and friends, truly makes this award all that more special to me.  Thank you!"

Media Award: Sonia Mendes

The MADA MEDIA award is presented to an individual and/or newspaper, magazine, radio or television outlet that printed or aired a story in the previous year which created awareness of multiple-birth issues, individual chapters, or spotlighted MBC and/or chapter initiatives.


The 2012 Media award was presented to Sonia Mendes of the Ottawa Citizen.

In 2012 Sonia was approached by the Multiple Birth Families Association of Ottawa-Gatineau to do an article about the Chapter.  Sonia Mendes, a freelance writer with the Ottawa Citizen interviewed numerous families in the Ottawa-Gatineau area and wrote an excellent article about multiples and their families. 

The timing of this article was perfect as it appeared in the Citizen on the day of MBFA Ottawa’s spring sale.  This article was also picked up by the Calgary Herald and promoted both the Edmonton Twin & Triplet Club

and the Twins, Triplets and More Association of Calgary.  The article provided a positive view of life with multiples, and spotlighted a number of chapter initiatives, and it also supported the resources and services offered by both MBFA Ottawa-Gatineau and Multiple Births Canada! 

Sonia was thrilled to receive the award and had the following to say:  "I feel truly honoured to be the recipient of the '2012 Multiple Births Canada Making a Difference Media Award.' Researching and writing the Ottawa Citizen article, "Multiple Expectations" was equal parts enjoyable and educational for me. As a parent of two young 'singleton' children myself, I was awestruck to learn of both the challenges and rewards that come along with parenting multiples. I would also like to give a 'double salute' to The Multiple Births Families Association of Ottawa/Gatineau and Multiple Births Canada for their vital roles in supporting countless families in the national capital region and across the country."

Corporate Award: FreshCo.

The MADA CORPORATE award is presented to an individual, business, corporation or organization who at the national level, in their professional capacity, created an awareness of the challenges faced by Canada's multiple birth children and their families, and/or have made a significant impact on the multiple-birth community and/or Multiple Births Canada.


The 2012 Winner of the Corporate Award is FreshCo., a division of Sobeys Inc.


FreshCo, a division of Sobeys Inc, was approached by the Multiple Birth Families Association of Ottawa-Gatineau prior to National Multiple Births Awareness Day 2012 asking them to mention NMBAD in their weekly flyer for the new location in Findley Creek Village, Ottawa and possibly even have some specials on baby items.  FreshCo’s new location in Findley Creek Village is in an area where many multiple-birth families are located.  FreshCo immediately went above and beyond this request by running a special

banner not only locally, but nationally as well and offering many specials on various baby items across the nation.  Multiple Births Canada thanks FreshCo for spreading awareness of challenges faced by multiple birth families and of the importance of National Multiple Births Awareness Day!  


FreshCo responded to the announcement of their award with the following comments: “FreshCo was pleased to be able to highlight awareness of the National Multiple Births Awareness day through our flyer and store promotion. We were thrilled with the positive response from the many families that shop at FreshCo for their baby needs. FreshCo is very proud to be chosen as the recipient of Multiple Births Canada’s 2012 Making a Difference Corporate Award and we look forward to continuing to serve the families in our community.” – Rob Adams, General Manager, FreshCo