MAKING A DIFFERENCE AWARDS
LOCAL Award: Denise Cook
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. This year we selected two winners, Denise Cook, and Josette McCauley.
The first LOCAL winner is Denise Cook. Here is what the nomination for Denise said:
"I have had a woman come in to help every Monday from 4pm to bedtime since my children were born. My triplets are now 19 months old. I did not know Denise Cook before my pregnancy. She is a friend of another mom whose triplets are two years older them mine. She helped her trio - and when she heard I was having triplets - she just called me up and said she was coming to help me too. Even when her own daughter had a baby, she never missed a Monday with us. She is a retired elementary school teacher and is AMAZING with my guys.
She has been a huge life saver for us, and it would be nice if I could recognize her in some way."
"She truly is an amazing woman. I shattered both my legs in an accident before the pregnancy, so I cannot walk very well. I am actually just waiting for the surgeon to plan my next surgery. Without the help of people like Denise I have no idea how I would handle the kids - especially now as they are too heavy for me to carry. She is the most reliable person we have helping and that means so much in my situation. Especially since she never even knew us before our babies were born. She is kindly helping out a complete stranger. We love her so much."
Local Award: Josette McCauley
The second winner of the Local Award is Josette McCauley.
"Josette has been a volunteer with POMBA- Halifax Region for almost 10 years, starting in 2004. We joke that Josette probably began volunteering for POMBA as part of our hospital visiting team before she left the hospital! Josette truly embodies a non-profit organization, and all that POMBA does; kindness, patience and an unwavering love for family. Josette does all of this with a smile, a giggle and a can do attitude. When I think of POMBA, I think of Josette. She has held the roles of Playgroup Coordinator, Sale Coordinator, Hospital Visitor, POMBA president, past president, Website coordinator, Newsletter Coordinator and has helped
out at dozens of POMBA events. She has coordinated Mom's retreat, hosted Mom's night and started family events such as our Easter Egg Hunt and Trunk or Treat. Oftentimes, Josette would hold many of these roles at once; when I met her she was the Vice President, Newsletter, Website and Sale Coordinator.
Josette works tirelessly on behalf of POMBA and contributes hundreds of hours each year. Her enthusiasm knows no limits. Her current roles include Sale Coordinator, Past President and also is our go-to editor for the website, graphic design and communications support. Josette is our historian, knowing how and why things came to be with POMBA and how they have evolved. She is our ambassador, welcoming every new member, visiting and helping members who need a helping hand and doing so with compassion, authenticity and love. She will be the first to snuggle babies to give parents a rest, chase after toddlers or put her own needs last to help out. I have no doubt there are more POMBA files on her home computer than personal files! Josette has positioned POMBA in a leadership role on every occasion possible. She has been responsible for POMBA stepping into the social media world, expanding our peer support into two online Facebook groups, trying out our first Twitter account and helping to build our current sale Facebook page that reaches over 20,000 people in the month leading up to our sale. She has grown our fundraising consignment sale to exceed new targets each year.
What makes Josette glow and stand out even more is she does this oftentimes in the role of a single parent (her husband works away from their home) and with children that have special needs, allergies, and sometimes need extra appointments or different strategies to get through the day. She will always put herself last, and it is hard to have her accept a compliment. She is responsible for the current design of our POMBA logo, and for helping to grow the POMBA brand to what it is today- recognized, respected and valued in Nova Scotian communities. Josette has fostered our relationship with the IWK Health Centre (Children's and Maternal health) and was part of the team that accepted a recent award for POMBA's contributions. There is no one more deserving of this accomplishment that I can think of, no one who does more for POMBA and no one who loves POMBA more in Nova Scotia than Josette!"
National Award: Lori Oldfield
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.
Lori Oldfield has given leadership, expertise, a huge amount of time, dedication and determination to the goal of developing a new website for Multiple Births Canada. Starting in the spring of 2012 and working with Stephen van Esch of MessageRocket (website developer and internet service provider), she guided the MBC Board and Executive Director to review the existing outdated website, determine goals and features for the new site, develop a list of requirements and priorities, and select the appropriate software tools to create and operate the new site.
Lori took the lead in developing and approving a new appearance and user interface for the site, supervised a team of volunteers to catalogue,
review and update content on the old site, and then coded and uploaded content into the new website. Working very long hours, she ensured a successful launch of the new website (main public pages) at the Volunteer Retreat and AGM in September 2012, and then continued to add many more pages of content through the end of 2012, 2013 and 2014 to date. She set up the Publications section with online purchases through Paypal, MBC Members section (password protected) with separate content, and the Chapter Executive section (password protected) with many additional documents and content, ongoing since August 2013.
At the same time, as MBC's Webmaster, Lori continues to update all the regular pages with news, media stories, blog posts, information about EI parental leave, National Multiple Births Awareness Day, the Support Networks, and much more. The MBC Board of Directors is delighted with the quality of the new website, its professional appearance, and its ease of use and accessibility to MBC members and to the public. We could not have achieved all of this without Lori's expertise, vision and careful direction, endless patience and dedication to completing the task.
Lori accomplished all of this in the past two years while serving on the MBC Board of Directors (since September 2010), which takes many hours of emails, document writing, meetings, and travel to two long-weekend meetings a year. At the same time she works full-time in the telecommunications industry, and cares for her 4 children, while her husband has traveled frequently for work.
We don't know how Lori does it all, while maintaining her sense of humour and positive attitude! She has certainly made a huge difference to our national organization, and greatly enhanced MBC's ability to share information about MBC and parenting multiples with our membership and with the general public.
International Award: Dr. Louis Keith and Donald Keith
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.
2014 winners of the International MADA award are Dr. Louis Keith and Donald Keith.
The Multiple Births Canada (MBC) Board and Executive Director are saddened by the recent passing of Dr. Louis Keith, who along with his twin brother Donald, shared a passion for making a difference internationally for multiple-birth individuals and their families.
Individually or together, both Donald and Louis have been instrumental in the development of resources and the support offered to multiples, families of multiples and national organizations supporting families all over the world.
Here are just a few of their accomplishments in the field of multiple births:
Louis and Donald were supporters of the Twin Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, attending the first events and encouraging the event organizers and multiples to attend over the years. The event provided an opportunity for multiple-birth individuals to network with each other, and provided an opportunity for twin research which Louis and Donald used for the work they did at their Center for the Study of Multiple Births.
The Keith brothers established the Center for the Study of Multiple Birth (a non-profit organization created in 1977 for research, education, and public service in twin studies - http://www.multiplebirth.com/). Over the years the center was responsible for publishing or supporting the publication of many articles and books relating to multiple births.
Louis was a great support to MBC’s (formerly POMBA Canada) founder, the late Sheryl McInnes. Back in 1982, he and his brother Donald, joined efforts to produce one of MBC’s first publications – Breastfeeding twins, triplets and quadruplets: 195 Practical Hints for Success. Louis urged MBC through our founder Sheryl to join the International Society for Twin Studies (ISTS).
Louis and Donald shared their expertise and sense of humour with MBC families in 1986, when they were keynote speakers at the MBC National Conference in London, Ontario.
Louis served on MBC’s Advisory Board for over 30 years as one of the more active members, always willing to edit and contribute to the development of MBC publications. He regularly provided feedback on MBC's National Multiple Birth Awareness Day themes.
In the 1990s, Louis and Donald Keith worked on networking with other international experts to establish the Council of Multiple Birth Organizations (COMBO), an arm of the International Society for Twin Studies (ISTS). Prior to that, ISTS was a scientific research organization focused on research using twins as their control group to study general health issues. Louis and other international experts (i.e. Dr. Elizabeth Bryan, Patricia Malmstrom ) joined forces to broaden the purpose of ISTS to include research on multiple pregnancy, birth and parenting.
Donald and Louis Keith held the positions of Co-Presidents of the International Society for Twin Studies (ISTS) in the late 1990's and early 2000's.
In 2000, Dr. Louis Keith served on a working group to establish the SOGC’s (Society of Obstricians and Gynaecologists of Canada) Consensus Statement on the Management of Multiple Pregnancy. This work sparked the interest of Dr. Jon Barrett to form a multiple pregnancy clinic in Toronto.
Dr. Louis Keith was always encouraging and supporting younger doctors in obstetrics to take an interest in multiple pregnancy and birth, including the world famous Dr. Isaac Blickstein (Israel), Dr. Barbara Luke (USA) as well as Canadian experts Dr. Jon Barrett and Dr. Geoffrey Machin.
In 2005, he invited Donna Launslager, MBC’s Health & Education Committee Chair, and mother of quadruplets to write a chapter in his book Multiple Pregnancy: Epidemiology, Gestation and Perinatal Outcome that he and Dr. Isaac Blickstein published – 976 pages of articles by medical experts worldwide on many aspects of multiple pregnancy and birth.
In 2006, Donald and Louis Keith gave a keynote address at the MBC National Conference in Chatham, Ontario. At this conference, MBC awarded Louis and Donald with the Adult “Dionne” Making a Difference Award.
In 2010, at the International Congress on Twin Studies in Seoul, South Korea, Louis and Donald found time to attend the International Council of Multiple Birth Organization (ICOMBO) Business Meeting. They were vocal in their support and applauded the final version of the MBC-led update of the Declaration of Rights and Statement of Needs of Twins and Higher Order Multiples.
The most recent work to impact MBC and multiple-birth parents in Canada and around the world by both Donald and Louis has been their work in the area of Post-Partum Hemorrhage with a survey that they developed to study this topic further. MBC (along with other ICOMBO Members) contributed to the development of the survey and then shared it with our members to ask for their participation. The hope is that the information that they collected will shape the future of care that families with multiples in Canada (and around the world) will receive as a result. The results were presented at the 2012 Congress in Italy and used to help update a text book on Post-Partum Homorrhage that Louis had helped author and used in his lecturing to medical students.
Donald Keith has been a Board Member of ICOMBO since 2012, providing advice and encouragement in the work completed by the many national organizations supporting families of multiples around the world including MBC, and will renew for another term during the ISTS Congress and ICOMBO Business meetings in Budapest in November 2014.
Donald and Louis have been key contributors and champions in the international multiple-birth community which always had a positive impact on MBC, its volunteers and the multiple-birth families of Canada. For that reason we nominate them both to receive this award.
When Donald Keith was informed that he and his brother Louis won the International MADA award, he sent the following message in response:
"Many people believe there is no such thing as coincidence. They believe that everything we do and say is according to a grand plan. My brother and I spent hours discussing what the plan was for us. We always thought it was in the future, that it would be big, and it would make a difference, and that most likely, both of us would be involved.
We held these discussions at the same time we were working on projects for the Center for Study of Multiple Birth, writing scientific articles, or publishing twin related books. We were so close to the forest we could not see the trees.
It all began in 1977 on a long distance phone call right after Louis deliver a set of premature, severely underweight twins, who, unfortunately destined not to survive. Louis was very emotional, upset, and remarked that these kids would never have the chance we had to grow up like we had. We decided then and there to find out why and what could be done to prevent this from happening. We were on our way to making a difference. The Northwestern University Multihospital Study which took several years and had over 13,000 women participants answered the question and changed the practice of medicine for expectant mothers. Physicians could now take measures to lessen the risk of prematurity and low birth weight.
Over the years there were many other projects, papers, and book that made a difference. The last, and not notable is his book on PPH or post-partum hemorrhage, a medical condition that almost claimed our own mother immediately after we were born. The book has been translated into several languages and is available on line, free for all physicians. It is impossible to estimate the number of women who are still alive because of this book.
Now that Louis is gone, it is easy to see what our mission was, why we were twins, and what we did. Hopefully we were able to make a difference in many people’s lives."
Media Award: Cathy Smith-Latouf
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 2014 Media Award winner is Cathy Smith-Latouf.
In 2012 Cathy Smith-Latouf came to the MBC Board with the idea of creating a 30 second Public Service Announcement promoting MBC. Cathy wrote the original copy, had it professionally voiced and produced in the Bell Media studios of her employer, AM800 CKLW in Windsor. The ad, valued at over $100,000 played in March of 2013 on 15 Bell Media radio stations in 7 cities across Canada, including a few cities where MBC did not have a chapter. In the fall of 2013 Cathy went to work for MBC again. This time, due to the merger between Bell Media and Astral Media, she knew the coverage would be even greater. In the spring of 2014 a new 30-second PSA played over 4500 times in 33 cities on 73 radio stations. This amazing donation is valued at almost $275,000 in air
time alone to MBC. It has increased our website traffic, E-news signups and chapter memberships across the country. Here is the ad copy that ran this year:
If you have twins, triplets, or more – here’s a name you should remember - Multiple Births Canada. This national registered charity is dedicated to families like yours! Multiple Births Canada provides helpful information and local support. They have resources addressing the unique challenges faced by families, professionals and educators who are expecting or care for twins, triplets, or more. For more information, to become a Member, find a Chapter near you or to learn how to start a Chapter in your community-visit multiple-births-canada-DOT.org Get the answers and support you need, any time, day or night, with Multiple Births Canada.
In addition to all of this, Cathy spent many hours to organize the summer attractions list for MBC as well as her discount work with her local chapter. She is a dedicated volunteer who is always looking for a good deal. Cathy, her husband Jay and their twins Emily and Cody live in Belle River Ontario and enjoy camping, boating and fishing in the summer and love spending time together as a family. MBC is proud to present Cathy Smith with the MADA Media award for her initiative in bringing the PSA project in order to dramatically increase MBC’s media coverage and public awareness.
Corporate Award: Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
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 Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation operates three Museums in the National Capital Region (NCR) —the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Science and Technology Museum. All three museums cater to different age groups and interests. Over the past few years, the Multiple Births Families Association of Ottawa-Gatineau (MBFA) has been fortunate to develop a partnership with the museums that provides MBC and MBFA members with discounts on weekday admission and in their gift stores. The Science and Technology Museum assigned two museum staff (who are identical twins themselves) to participate in our National Multiple Births Awareness Day event in May 2013. The staff conducted some fun science
experiments such as launching rockets and making ice cream. These activities were a huge draw for our members and enjoyed by all spectators.
New in the last year, the CSTM has graciously provided valuable programming space for the MBFA to host quarterly playgroups free of charge and out of various museum locations. Over the years, the CSTM has also set up a group discounted membership which permits MBFA families and all MBC Members to enjoy free admission to the three museums as well as access to other science museums across Canada.
MBC and MBFA are both fortunate to have such a high-profile crown corporation with a nation-wide impact opening up their doors to multiple birth families across the nation. In particular, we would like to recognize the efforts, commitment and professionalism of Fraser McDonald (Manager, Membership Program) and Ciara Cronin (Officer, Special Projects), both staff members at the CSTM.
This is what the President and the CEO of the Museums Corporation had to say after CSTM was informed that they have been selected as winners of the Corporate Award:
“The Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation is honoured to accept the ‘Making a Difference’ Award from Multiple Births Canada. The three museums are committed to providing the most affordable, educational and captivating experiences to local families and visitors to the National Capital Region. We look forward to a continued partnership with the MBC to promote these experiences to families with twins, triplets or quadruplets in Ottawa-Gatineau and across Canada.”
- Alex Benay, President and CEO, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation.
The President of the MBFA, Olga Kutikov, was proud to present the MADA Corporate Award and Certificate to Fraser McDonald and Ciara Cronin from the CSTM after the 2014 MBC Conference.