Humanitarian and Community Service Award
Jacqueline Tisher CCE Professional Leadership Certificate’16 has dedicated her life to extraordinarily compassionate care of some of society’s most vulnerable individuals – children with complex medical needs. She is the founder of Hope’s Home, a medical daycare and respite for children with complex medical needs and their families.
Jacqueline’s journey really began with the birth of her daughter Acacia. When she was just 18 weeks, an ultra sound revealed that Acacia had spina bifida myelomeningocele and hydrocephalus and Jacqueline’s life changed forever. Acacia spent the first year of her life in the hospital enduring 13 neurosurgical procedures. (She died in 2011 at the age of 18.)
At the time of Acacia's birth, Jacqueline, who was studying to become a registered nurse, was inspired by her daughter and changed her focus to study pediatric and neonatal intensive care. For 13 years, Jacqueline worked in the field and saw many children facing life-threatening diagnosis never leave the hospital. She also discovered that community support was lacking for those who were discharged.
One of those children living in the hospital was little Hope Dawn Marie, an infant who was placed in foster care because her mother was unable to meet her complex medical needs. Like Acacia, she had been born with spina bifida. Jacqueline willingly became her foster mother. Sadly though, Hope passed away at 10 months of age, having spent nearly all of her life in the hospital. Once again, Jacqueline recognized the gaps in community support but she was about to change that.
Hope’s Home began in 2005, when Jacqueline took a leave of absence to care for a friend’s child who had complex medical needs. She planned to do that for a year and then return to work. What she didn’t know at the time was that she had established the first medical daycare in Canada.
Under Jacqueline’s leadership, after 12 years, Hope’s Home has grown from a small home-based business to a multimillion dollar not-for-profit charitable organization that has provided community care to more than 1,000 children with the highest medical needs in the province.
The care at Hope’s Home focuses on enriching each child’s life – seeing them as capable learners and contributors to society, no matter what their diagnosis. With the help and dedication from an amazing complement of staff at Hope’s Home, it’s ultimately a place for special children to just be kids.