CCO recognizes Hamilton volunteer and physician with Human Touch Awards

(June 12, 2019 – HAMILTON)– A community volunteer who leads a major fundraiser for breast cancer research at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) and a transplant nephrologist from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) are among recipients of 2019 Human Touch Awards from Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network.

Human Touch Award recipients were announced this week by CCO, the Ontario government’s principal advisor on the cancer and renal systems, as well as on access to care for key health services. The awards are presented annually to acknowledge exemplary and compassionate patient care by people who work or volunteer in the cancer and kidney care systems across Ontario.

Nancy McMillan of Grimsby received the award in the Cancer Care Volunteer category while Dr. Seychelle Yohanna from St. Joseph Healthcare Hamilton won in the Kidney Care Staff Awards category.

McMillan is Chair of BRIGHT Run, an annual volunteer-operated event that has raised more than $3.5 million for breast cancer research at the JCC since its inception 11 years ago. Funds raised have supported 16 research projects at the JCC, paid for an ultrasound machine at the CIBC Breast Assessment Centre and will be supporting an Endowed Research Chair.

As a breast cancer survivor who was treated at the JCC, McMillan often acts as a resource for the hospital by explaining the patient experience to medical staff and students. She has facilitated focus groups, bringing together people with breast cancer for research projects.

McMillan was a founding member of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC) Patient and Family Advisory Council. As an advisor, she provided the patient perspective on proposed changes to treatment and care and on other matters of importance to people with cancer and their families.

Over the past few years, Dr. Yohanna has focused her efforts on improving the experience of living kidney donors at SJHH. She worked with a team to improve the living donor program’s website, which now features a link to an easy-to-complete questionnaire for interested donor candidates. The easier process improved the return-rate by 10 per cent in one year and reduced the number of days to screen donor candidates by 50 per cent.

Dr. Yohanna also worked with a multidisciplinary team (including diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine and the urology department) to develop a One-Day Donor Clinic. Through this program, four donors were able to complete their evaluations in one visit rather than the usual eight to 10 hospital visits.

“Human Touch Awards highlight some of the very best work happening by staff and volunteers across the province,” said Dr. Ralph Meyer, Vice President of Oncology and Palliative Care for Hamilton Health Sciences and Regional Vice President for Cancer Care Ontario.

“Nancy McMillan, Dr. Yohanna and their fellow nominees and recipients show the power of compassion by making meaningful differences for patients, survivors and their families.”

Nine Human Touch Awards were presented across Ontario. For more information on recipients, please visit