Honoured for volunteer work

by Bonnie Weppler

One of Nancy Oakes’ childhood memories is accompanying her mother on her annual neighbourhood door-to-door canvass for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Fast forward to April 2018, when a call came from the Governor General’s office notifying Oakes that she had been nominated to receive the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

The nomination for Oakes noted that: “Nancy’s commitment to giving back to The Ottawa Hospital is deeply personal, stemming from the loss of both parents to cancer many years ago.”

As a tribute to Oakes’ parents, their best friends founded the “It’s A New Day” golf tournament. Oakes “worked a hole” at the event and it became a family affair, with her husband and brother also volunteering.

Nancy Oakes recently received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from Jean Chretien. Photo by Alex Tetreault

Nancy Oakes recently received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from Jean Chretien. Photo by Alex Tetreault

The nomination acknowledged Oakes’ contributions: “Over the course of the golf tournament’s 23-year history, the tournament raised close to $1 million for cancer-related charities. Among them, the Ottawa Hospital was the grateful beneficiary of $125,000 raised from 2009-2012. These funds contributed to the building of the hospital’s Cancer Centre and funded the purchase of essential equipment for the new space, such as the Cyberknife and the da Vinci Surgical Robot.”

In 2013, Oakes became involved with The Ottawa Hospital’s President’s Breakfast and was co-chair of the event in 2016 and 2017. According to the nomination, in 2017, “126 volunteers were engaged, over 1,000 guests attended, and over $1.4 million dollars were raised in support of patient care and research.”

“You can choose where to give of your time,” states Oakes. “We all need to be taking responsibility… and give back… whether it’s dollars or hours or whatever way. People appreciate being asked; it’s a gift to ask people to be involved!”

Oakes, her husband, Ernie Sherman and son, Troy built a house in the Brantwood Park neighbourhood about 10 years ago. But she knew the neighbourhood well before moving in since at various times three of her siblings have lived or continue to live in this area.

“In the winter, I look out the window and watch the kids, skates hooked on hockey sticks, slung over their shoulders, heading down to the rinks. This neighbourhood really is a throwback to a time when you knew and cared about your neighbours.”

Apart from volunteering, Oakes skis plays golf and tennis and belongs to a book club. And then there’s boot camp!

“I absolutely love boot camp. It’s a great group of people, different generations, different experiences and the amount of support and guidance and positivity in this group is extraordinary.

When I tell friends about everything that goes on in this community, they are amazed.”

Listen to Nancy talking about her volunteer work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK_vAz6rH1U

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Filed in: Community Groups, Front Page

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