Caring from a Distance Presents Nation's First Long-Distance Caregiver Awards

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Caring from a Distance, the only non-profit organization dedicated to serving and uniting the long-distance care community, honored the first four awardees at a private ceremony on May 24, 2009 in Vienna, VA The award is a unique "personal" tribute to recognize the special role and contributions of long-distance caregivers and celebrate their important support helping loved ones during a crisis or over a prolonged period of time.

Caring from a Distance, the only non-profit organization dedicated to serving and uniting the long-distance care community, honored the first four awardees at a private ceremony on May 24, 2009 in Vienna, VA. To view video highlights visit http://www.youtube.com/user/caringfromadistance. The award is a unique "personal" tribute to recognize the special role and contributions of long-distance caregivers and celebrate their important support helping loved ones during a crisis or over a prolonged period of time.

The "private" award was designed in collaboration with two grateful families from the Washington, D.C-area and Holyoke, MA. The "public" recognition will appear on the new Awardees Wall on its website, http://www.cfad.org.

The inaugural awardees are Sue Boyd (Tulsa, OK), Mary Frances Ginsbach (Houston,TX) and Marti Williams (Richmond, VA). The three provided care and support to their sister and friend, Judy O'Hara (1940-2007), who was the wife and mother of Mike O'Hara (McLean, VA) and Michelle O'Hara Levin (Washington, D.C.).

Nikki Evans (Denver, CO) was honored for her "selfless commitment and invaluable assistance" to her mother, Eva Evans (1926-2007), and sister Lynda Levin by family members Andrew, Lynda, Rhonda, Caroline and Josh Levin (Holyoke, MA).

The gift, a 12"x16" glass picture frame combines original art with an etched message of recognition of the distance caregiver's selfless commitment and invaluable assistance.

"Caring from a Distance celebrates the important, often critical roles that long-distance caregivers fill for families in need," Nora Jean Levin, Executive Director of the organization, said in presenting the inaugural awards. "While not on the scene day to day, your visits, calls and correspondence brought valuable perspective, energy, strength and respite to an exhausted family." Levin noted that long-distance caregivers play an unique role. "They can help pinpoint problems and recommend ways to improve the situation and they may help loved ones and their families recognize the needs to move from one level of care to another," Levin said. "Like caregivers everywhere, you did this while juggling work, family and personal demands to be there when needed."

In presenting the awards, Levin said: "Glass, like love, is fragile but enduring. We hope you cherish this drawing and its etched message as a tribute to you."

Interviewed after the ceremony, Mike O'Hara, whose wife Judy lost a 20 year battle with cancer in 2007, described his collaboration with CFAD to create an award with universal appeal to families who wish to thank the long distance caregivers in their lives. Michelle O'Hara Levin, Judy's daughter, described the critical support the three award recipients played helping her mom, dad, and herself during bad times and good. "I hope they walk away knowing how much their contributions mattered."

"I did it because she was my best friend," said Mary Frances Ginsbach. "I cared for Judy out of the love of my heart," said Marti Williams of Richmond, VA. "I was never asked to do so," she continued. "I saw a need and wanted to meet that need, by caring not only for Judy, but also for Michael and Michelle as family members." Ben Boyd, accepting for his mother, spoke of the tradition of five generations of women in his family who provided care to each other.

Asked about the origin of the award, CFAD's executive director Levin described a photo of Judy O'Hara taken with her friend Marti during a chemo session. "When I saw that picture, I realized that ... we also had a mission to acknowledge the role that distance caregivers play in family lives."

About Caring from a Distance

Caring from a Distance (CFAD) was founded in 2002 to serve the seven million Americans who help manage the needs of seniors or other loved ones while living hundreds of miles away. The organization was created by men and women who personally struggled with the anguish, stress and frustration of long distance care.

Through its one-stop website, http://www.cfad.org, Caring from a Distance offers a bridge to the full spectrum of local eldercare resources, from housing through home services to respite options. CFAD accepts no funding or advertising from individual service providers. Support comes from volunteers, foundation grants, on-line donations and individual contributions. USA.gov, the U.S. government's official web portal, links direct to Caring from a Distance as a reliable information and service resource for long distance caregivers.

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