Osteoporosis Canada’s Volunteer Awards Program recognizes the contribution and positive impact of volunteers.
Individuals who donate their time, do so in a variety of ways from delivering education and support, to sitting on the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Council and by providing administrative assistance.
The goal of the awards is to recognize and inspire our volunteers who make a difference in the lives of those affected by osteoporosis.
If you would like to nominate an individual for a 2022 Osteoporosis Canada Volunteer Award see below.
Recipients of the Backbone Award recognize volunteers who, through their actions, efforts and ideas, have made a significant impact in the area they are working in.
The recipient of the Eleanor Mills Inspiration Award is a volunteer who, like Eleanor, has embraced their own osteoporosis, and by doing so has inspired others with their determination, perseverance and optimism and has given of themselves to champion the cause.
On Mother’s Day, 1993, Eleanor Mills equipped with her walker-chair launched the “Boney Express” Osteoporosis Canada’s Relay Walk from Victoria, B.C. The goal of the Walk was to raise awareness of the disease and to help others learn to prevent fractures.
“Osteoporosis has pursued and disabled women and men relentlessly for centuries,” said Eleanor, then 79. “Now, when early diagnosis and preventive measures can be taken, it is our duty to get ‘out there’ and spread the news. We need to let people know about this disease before they have a fracture as I have.”
Eleanor realized she had a serious problem in the late 1970s, when she noticed that the hem of her calf-length dress was suddenly down around her ankles.
“That afternoon, I’d heard a very unusual crushing sound and felt a vibration as I awkwardly held onto some heavy grocery bags and tried to open the door to my home. The instant height loss was inexplicable. It was only later that I realized the sound I’d heard was the crushing of my spine. At the time there was no pain. That was to come later.”
A Sunday afternoon stroll with a new walker-chair about 15 years later was Eleanor’s inspiration for the idea of a cross-country effort to help others overcome the pain and loss of mobility from osteoporosis. “I got in touch with others I knew in the osteoporosis field and then I started training.”
Eleanor spent two summers joining walkers in 130 communities across Canada supported by local volunteers. “Those who helped me were simply splendid. They cannot be praised sufficiently eloquently for helping me – a woman they had never heard of, and never met before.”
During her time as a patron of Osteoporosis Canada, Eleanor at 88 years of age, regularly attended national board meetings and special OC events. She encouraged those with the disease, as well as their families and friends and OC volunteers and staff to “Never give up!”.
Eleanor Mills died at her home in Toronto on October 5, 2004. A tireless supporter of Osteoporosis Canada and an inspiration to thousands of people with osteoporosis, Eleanor was well known and treasured by the osteoporosis community around the world. She is greatly missed.