Nanny Angel Network is in need of volunteers in Durham and across the GTA to help take care of children whose mothers have cancer.
When Usha Sivanantharajah found out she had Stage 3 breast cancer last September, her first concern was how she was going to take care of her three young kids.
“I didn’t know what to do because there’s only so many times my mom can come and go and stuff and the kids have to go to school,” she said.
“There was already a big shock in our family, I didn’t want to bring more changes.”
Her chemotherapy treatments left her incredibly weak at times and her 8-year-old daughter started to take notice.
“She just started bursting into tears,” Sivanantharajah said. “She just really knew, my daughter, that this was effecting her emotionally”
Fortunately, Sonya Robins came into the picture.
Robins, a complete stranger to the family, would take care of the kids twice a week, even at times when Sivanantharajah was too sick to get out of bed.
“It’s a way to give back, but honestly you’re giving back, but getting so much more in return,” Robins said.
The organization is in need of volunteers like Robins to meet the growing demands from families in the region.
“They’re new immigrants or young families who don’t have any support, so the need for us to get in there and give them some rest is really really important,” founder Audrey Guth said.
Guth says volunteers are required to help the families four hours a week. What may seem like a small amount of time, she says, actually makes a huge difference.
“They’re able to answer the really difficult questions children may have when their mom has cancer, such as ‘did I cause it?’, ‘can I cure it?’, ‘who’s going to take care of me?'”
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As for Sivanantharajah’s family, the experience has created an everlasting bond with their volunteer, Robins.
“She’s so incredible and I’m so glad she’s part of our lives now,” she said.
Robins said “it meant a lot, just to be able to help. You want to make a difference in this world.”
Sivanantharajah is currently living cancer-free. She was so touched by her volunteer’s kindness, she plans to help another mother in need one day.