Nanny Angel Network – Providing free nanny care to young mothers with cancer
Audrey Guth and her nanny Angels
The founder of the Nanny Angel Network
Providing free nanny care to young mothers with cancer
Cancer is traumatic for everyone, but it can be especially hard on women with young kids. Many end up postponing appointments and compromising their treatment without reliable and affordable childcare. Therefore, in 2008, Audrey Guth, diagnosed with breast cancer, recognized a need for childcare for moms diagnosed with this disease. She decided to found the Nanny Angel Network with a generous grant from Rethink Breast Cancer. The nanny agency operates across Canada providing free relief nanny services to women who are battling cancer. Moms are heroes, but even heroes need help sometimes. Each mom receives free relief nanny services from the time of diagnosis until they are fully recovered. Unfortunately, some moms don’t heal. However, Nanny Angels keep supporting their children for one year following their death. The volunteers selected to be Nanny Angels are professionals who go through a unique vetting and training program to learn how to support kids grieving the loss of a healthy mom and a normal life. “Many mothers cancel their medical appointments if they aren’t able to arrange childcare, or if their child is sick,” says Audrey. By caring for and supporting the children, Guth hopes that it allows the mother the time to rest and to focus on getting well, while allowing her children to be kids, just a little longer.
“We created a vision where no mother would ever have to choose between her health and caring for her children,” says Audrey.
How would you describe yourself and your life in a quick snapshot?
I am a mother of four children, I a wife of a fantastic man, I am a grandmother of two and soon-to-be a grandmother of four, and I am also an entrepreneur.
Well, how I can describe my life? I would say that I am absolutely the luckiest woman in the world because I found a way to leave a legacy and make a change where I think no one else is focusing on this area. So, being able to make it said leaves and so that when I die my children can tell you know my mother made a difference in this world. So, I believe I am just lucky that everything that happens is because I am just a lucky person.
When were you diagnosed and what was your diagnosis?
I had cancer twice. First, it happened about twelve years ago, and about three years after that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. But I, fortunately, had the right medical treatment and I’ve been cancer-free for nine years. That’s why I am very, very lucky.
When you first got diagnosed who/what/where you turned to?
You know I didn’t know anybody personally that time, so I was terrified. But I was fortunate enough to have an amazing nurse navigator. She really supported me. I wouldn’t have ended up as emotionally healthy if I didn’t have her because she was also a breast cancer survivor. So, she did guide me through what was going to happen and helped to manage my anxiety.
I’ve recently read a story of a girl who was a cancer survivor. She tells her story that many people, unfortunately, aren’t aware what to say, how to react and support cancer patients. On the one hand, it is understandable, since cancer is a devastating diagnosis, so friends and relatives being shocked don’t know what to say. However, on the other hand, it is essential to support appropriately and find right words. Don’t you think so?
Exactly, people generally don’t know how to support. People are very uncomfortable. Therefore, now we are developing a subsidiary training for people to teach them how to help someone diagnosed with cancer. And I think people are fearful because they start thinking if it happened to someone else, it could happen to them. So, they don’t know what to do.
How did you come up with the idea to create the Nanny Angel Network?
My business as a nanny agency is a 30-year old agency that is now run by my daughter. When I was going through my treatment, I just realized how it was difficult for young moms waiting for their treatment with their children. Therefore, some mothers always cancelled their medical therapy if they weren’t able to arrange childcare. Then I thought that the women needed caregivers for their children. That’s how it started. And our nanny service allows the mothers the time to rest and to focus on getting well.
When I prepared for our conversation, I was watching your videos where you were interviewed. And looking at you, it seems to me that you are a very cheerful and peaceful woman. What is your recipe for being so positive?
Well, what is my recipe? Every day I get up, and I know my day will fill with young women struggling with cancer diagnosis and treatment. So, every morning I wake up and say thank God that I am healthy because we are nothing without health. I don’t care how much money you have, how many friends you have, or how much beautiful you are; it doesn’t matter. So, I focus on how healthy I am and how fortunate I am to have been given some house challenges, to have been able to overcome them and to have been able to create something perfect.
What “words of wisdom” or advice would you give people facing cancer or another life-threatening illness?
You know it is so personal and very hard to say. I think if you would rephrase the question instead what advice I would give people who have someone in their life was diagnosed with cancer. Then I would tell them this must be very difficult for you; therefore, I am here for you even things will get tough.
To find out more about the Nanny Angel Network, please click on the following link http://nannyangelnetwork.com/