In the heart of Northern Ontario lies a story of resilience, passion, and unwavering support that has the power to inspire us all.
Meet Cara Miller, a proud Moose Cree First Nation member who found herself at a crossroads after high school. Uncertain of her path, she embarked on a journey that led her from a remote community to the forefront of healthcare. Cara’s story is a testament to the transformative impact of education and support from organizations like Indspire and LifeLabs.
LifeLabs is proud to join forces with Indspire, a national Indigenous charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Canada. By coming together, we initiated ‘Empowering Futures: LifeLabs Bursary for Indigenous Students’ to provide financial assistance to individuals attending post-secondary education or training institutions. Our goal is to break down barriers hindering educational pursuits within indigenous communities. Through the partnership, LifeLabs and Indspire support students like Cara, enabling them to access educational opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach.
Discovering a Passion for Healthcare
For Cara, after stints in various retail and sales jobs, she encountered a medical emergency. During her healthcare journey and frequent trips to the hospital, something ignited an interest within her—the world of diagnostic imaging. Her curiosity blossomed into a passion, and it wasn’t until age 24 that she decided to return to school, marking the start of her educational journey.
Cara’s path took a fortunate turn when she attended a college recruitment session. Little did she know that this seemingly mundane event would set the stage for her transformation. A recruitment officer’s support and encouragement ignited a spark, prompting her to apply for college right there at the event. She enrolled in a medical diagnostic program at Algonquin College; Cara is now in her third year of studies.
Once clouded by uncertainty, her aspirations became evident: to make a difference among indigenous populations in the healthcare field, particularly in Northern Ontario. She dreams of providing consistent care, forging connections, and building relationships in her community.
“I’ve seen the challenges that my community faces when it comes to healthcare – the constant rotation of professionals, the lack of continuity, and the struggle to establish meaningful connections,” says Cara. “I want to be the healthcare provider who stands by my community, offering consistent care and building lasting relationships. Being a familiar face that brings comfort and assurance is my hope.”
Cara’s story has its share of challenges. Moving from her close-knit community to the bustling city was a significant leap. Yet, she persevered, embracing the unknown with courage. Her proudest moment is taking that plunge, venturing into unfamiliar territory, and reaping the rewards of her efforts. She found immense satisfaction in witnessing her growth and transformation.
As she approaches the final stretch of her academic journey, Cara reflects on her future with a heart full of excitement. She plans to return to Moose Cree with skills, knowledge, and a deep-rooted commitment to providing consistent healthcare. Her journey symbolizes the positive ripple effect that education and support can create within communities.
For Cara, the LifeLabs Indspire scholarship has provided the financial support needed to navigate the challenges of clinical placements, travel, rent, and studies. Her band also rallied around her, alleviating some financial burdens. To LifeLabs, Cara extends her heartfelt gratitude. “Thank you so much! Your support has made such a huge difference in my journey. It’s encouraging to know that supporters are in our corner rooting for us.”
By empowering students like Cara, LifeLabs contributes to the growth and development of future healthcare leaders within indigenous communities. Our partnership with Indspire means the path to education becomes more accessible, fostering leaders who will change their lives and countless others within their communities.
2022 – 2023 LifeLabs Indspire Scholarship Winners:
Dawn Albert from Sweetgrass First Nation – Laboratory and X-Ray Technology Program
Shavonne Fiddler from Red Earth Cree Nation – Phlebotomy Program
Cara Miller from Moose Cree First Nation – Medical Radiation Program
Kathryn Weston-Link from Garden River First Nation – Paramedic Program