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Remembering Zahra through the Zahra Abdille and Children Scholarship Award

Zahra Abdille tribute St. Paul's L'Amoreaux Centre GAIN NPAO

Posted on Dec 2, 2015

Zahra Abdille, the first Nurse Practitioner with our newly established Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network (GAIN) Community Team, quickly became highly regarded for her clinical skills and kind, gentle nature.  As one of the first members of our GAIN team, she helped launch it, developed strong working relationships and friendships, and made the first home visits to frail seniors. Zahra’s warmth, friendliness, knowledge and professionalism made her valued by her clients and the staff at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux.

Sunday November 29, 2015 marked the 1st anniversary of the heartbreaking deaths of Zahra and her two sons, Faris and Zain.

In memory of our esteemed colleague, St Paul’s L’Amoreaux Centre (SPLC) and the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) joined to honour Zahra Abdille and her children by creating a scholarship for those who follow in her footsteps to become a Nurse Practitioner.

The Zahra Abdille and Children Scholarship was launched at the Remembrance “Casariya” (Somali for Afternoon Tea) hosted by SPLC in January 2015.  Funded by donations and contribution by the NPAO, the Scholarship will be awarded annually and provide much needed financial assistance to those who echo Zahra’s desire to help others by working as a Nurse Practitioner.

On Friday, September 25th 2015, the inaugural Zahra Abdille and Children Scholarship was awarded at the NPAO Conference Banquet and Awards Dinner.  Amanda Falotico, SPLC’s Director of Care Services, and Shirin Vellani, GAIN Nurse Practitioner Lead, were privileged to be in attendance to share photos, music and memories celebrating Zahra’s life. Zahra’s extended family was also invited to participate and acknowledge her contributions as a compassionate health care provider. In attendance were her cousin Halima and daughter, and close friend Rahma, along with many of Zahra’s Nurse Practitioner colleagues.

The Scholarship award was co-presented with Theresa Agnew, Executive Director of the NPAO.  Ms. Laurie Highfield, who is enrolled in the Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Western Ontario, became the first recipient.  We are very pleased for Laurie and extend congratulations for her compassionate achievements and on receiving the Scholarship.

To help a student achieve their goals and contribute to the health of others in the spirit of Zahra Abdille, please consider a donation to the 2016 Zahra Abdille and Children Scholarship

Congratulations to 2015 Scholarship Recipient Laurie Highfield  

Ms. Laurie Highfield graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.  Since graduating, Laurie has worked in various areas of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in London Ontario, caring for children from infancy to adulthood with multiple illnesses and injuries. She also volunteers with ChildCanSociety of Saint Vincent de Paul, and Camp Oochigeas which provides the opportunity for children with cancer to attend camp.

Over the past few years Laurie felt the desire to have a larger role in the care of children and their families. She wanted to have the opportunity to take care of the family as a whole and follow them during the course of their life journey, promoting health, offering support and providing education throughout. To fulfill this goal she returned to the University of Western Ontario in September 2014 to attend the combined Masters of Nursing and COUPN Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program. 

If you would like to help a student like Laurie advance their education with the help of this scholarship, please consider a donation to the 2016 Zahra Abdille and Children Scholarship

Laura Highfield, 2015 Zahra Abdille and Children Scholarship Award

"I am honored to be the inaugural winner of the Zahra Abdille and Children Scholarship and I strive to keep her memory alive as I become a practicing nurse practitioner."