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Opportunity Village founder creates foundation for caregivers

Longtime Southern Nevada disability advocate Linda Smith has created a nonprofit foundation to recognize and support caregivers.

Smith, former chief fundraiser for Opportunity Village, said she hopes The Christopher Smith Foundation also will raise awareness of the vital role that caregivers play in our health care system.

The foundation was inspired by and is named after Smith’s son, Chris, who was born with Down syndrome and died this year at age 48. Smith said she and her son, Jason, created the foundation after discovering during Chris’ hospitalizations how important caregivers are to vulnerable people.

“My big concern is there is just a caregiver crisis,” she said. “There are just not enough (people) who choose to look after another person as a profession.”

The foundation’s services will be aimed at professional caregivers as well as volunteers and family members. Programs will include respite for families, scholarships for future caregivers, onsite support for hospital staff and sitting services for patients.

The foundation also will honor a Caregiver of the Month. Nominees will be entered into a Caregiver of the Year award program. Award recipients will be honored at the foundation’s inaugural luncheon, scheduled for May 15, which would have been Chris’ birthday.

To nominate a caregiver, visit christophersmithfoundation.org/nominate-a-caregiver.

The awards program, and the foundation’s work, will reward those who “dedicate their lives to caring for others,” Smith says.

“Those are what I call the angels who walk amongst us every day.”

Contact John Przybys at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

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