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2024 Health Care Professional Award – Kelly Bullivant

  April 15, 2024


Calgary, Alta.


Youth Education Awards committee member

After working in the nursing field for 13 years, Kelly Bullivant decided to take the next step and train to become a nurse practitioner. She’d been accustomed to working with adults, specifically in the area of neurosurgery, though an opening on the pediatric side intrigued her. With further pediatric training, Kelly took on her current role and hasn’t looked back. That was more than 20 years ago.

“It’s been a great career,” Kelly says. “What I love about pediatrics is that kids are so resilient. They take things as they come. It’s inspiring.”

Kelly has helped patients and families through some of the most difficult times of their lives, something she feels privileged to do.

“I try to have my families not jump too far ahead with their thoughts and get through one day at a time,” she says. “With each day, their strength grows, and by the time we have a diagnosis, they are ready for the path that lies ahead.”

Kelly presented at a health care professional workshop in 2011, which is when she was introduced to staff at Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Fast forward to 2013, when BTFC reached out to see if Kelly might want to get involved in the organization’s Youth Education Awards.

The awards aim to help young brain tumour survivors achieve their dreams through post-secondary education. Survivors of a pediatric brain tumour, who are currently between the ages of 16 and 30 and who were diagnosed before age 25, are eligible to apply. Since the inception of the awards in 2013, BTFC has been able to provide $322,578.20 in total funding—up to $5,000 for each recipient—to 69 individuals, thanks to the generosity of 20 donors.

And, people like Kelly, of course.

Every year, Kelly, along with a dedicated selection committee, review applications from young brain tumour survivors across Canada. Her fondest memories of volunteering, she says, include reading the stories of struggle and resilience.

“It is always hard to narrow down the finalist, and every story is impactful,” she says. “I love seeing the stories from the successful candidates and hearing about the impact this award has had on them.”

It’s Kelly’s steadfast commitment to giving back and her contributions to the brain tumour community that have earned her the 2024 Health Care Professional Award. This award was created in 2020 to recognize an individual in the health care field who has shown exemplary and compassionate care to the brain tumour community.

“Without her contributions and expertise, the Youth Education Awards committee would have a much more difficult time making informed decisions about the selected recipients,” says Ben Seewald, fellow committee member and BTFC staff member who nominated Kelly for the award.

“As much as the award is an honour, it also is an honour to be part of the process,” Kelly says, of her involvement with the selection committee. “To be recognized for that is really special.”

The theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week is Every Moment Matters, which resonates with Kelly.

“The small moments can be the most meaningful,” she says. “It may be a look, a hug, sharing of information, explaining the plan, giving words of encouragement, or just listening to their concerns. All moments matter.”