Hajar was born in a small city in Morocco but immigrated to Canada and was raised in Sherbrooke, QC and Fredericton, NB – where she attended École Sainte-Anne. Hajar was in her MP’s and mayor’s youth council, and was the socio-cultural vice-president of her student council. More recently, Hajar has become involved with Global Vision, being part of their Junior Team Canada. Last year she was appointed as the Young Regional Consultant for Eastern Canada for Amnesty International. Faced with many financial difficulties and discrimination, she works very hard to achieve her goals. She will be studying commerce at Saint Mary s University, to pursue her dream of one day starting her own company.
At age seven, Rachel received her first three mental illness diagnoses. Fearing judgement, she kept them secret for more than a decade. Rachel sustained her fourth sports-related concussion while attending St. Mary’s Academy and was forever changed. She began speaking publicly about her brain differences in 2016, knowing that storytelling is a powerful tool. By the end of her second year of university, Rachel was giving regular large-scale presentations, maintaining an online platform for mental health education, and representing Bell’s Let’s Talk. Rachel published a book in 2017 and has participated in multiple fundraisers for youth mental health. She serves on her university’s Board of Regents and is a student wellness club leader. She plans to spend her teaching career working on mental health curriculum development and implementation.
After surviving cancer at 14, Colette has become an advocate for cancer research and patients. As the 2016/2017 Kids Cancer Care Spokeskid, Colette educated people about the need to support patients. During her involvement with Kids Cancer Care, she also participated in the Teen Leadership program, volunteering at events and raising funds to travel to the Dominican Republic to build a school. She has also played an active role volunteering and teaching dance, ushering at her church, and with clubs in school to create a better school community and aid the less fortunate. After researching in the summers and through a science fair, Colette aims to go into medical research to help the fight against diseases and broaden our scientific knowledge.
Meredith Bullock was born with Cerebral Palsy and was later diagnosed with epilepsy and ulcerative colitis. As she herself had been aided by numerous organizations in her hometown of Halifax, Meredith decided to begin volunteering for the IWK Children’s Hospital, acting as a member of its Youth Advisory Council and as a volunteer for its Foundation. She has also attempted to change the way her community views people with disabilities by being a junior leader in her local Brownie unit and a Prefect at her school. Meredith was one of 35 Atlantic Canadians selected to attend the ACT 4 Global Change conference hosted by Amnesty International and was invited to speak at the International Day of the Girl celebrations at Mount Saint Vincent University. In addition, Meredith is a para-rower who has competed both locally and out-of-province. She will be attending the University of King’s College to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in the Fall.
At a very young age, Sharee was involved in volunteering at her local church and became a part of the church choir, performing with them ever since. Helping others gives Sharee a sense of purpose, and she feels better knowing that she is able to make an impact in someone’s day, even if it’s just giving them a smile. As Sharee got older, she became involved with other organizations that became a huge part of her life, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Gathering Place, and St. Patrick’s Mercy Home. Some of Sharee’s goals and aspirations are to further her education and to become a nurse practitioner.
Béatrice was barely 3 years old when she was diagnosed with neurological deafness. With the help of her parents and speech therapists, she still managed to catch up with a significant language delay and go to school at the scheduled time. As a teenager, Béatrice experienced a lot of difficulties in accepting her difference, but finally overcame this obstacle by getting involved with the Oralist School of Quebec and the Quebec Deaf Sports Association. She also stands out with Laval University’s Rouge et Or badminton team, where she embodies a model of perseverance for her peers. Ultimately, through her future career as a speech-language pathologist, Béatrice wants to give back to the community what she has offered, giving young hearing-impaired children a chance to express themselves, access to higher education and to flourish in their passions.
For her whole life, the place Kalea called home was filled with numerous issues; ones eventually leading her to homelessness at 18. She developed mental disorders where she felt as if she had not only lost the things most important to her, but also the basic things that made her human. Despite this, Kalea is a Summa Cum Laude student; being at the top of her classes. Kalea also volunteers in her school community, peer tutoring other students, and assisting in ESL classrooms. Kalea has a passion for science and is exploring genetic engineering technologies for medicinal purposes.
Campbell is a stage-four Neuroblastoma cancer survivor. He has been involved with the Kids Cancer Care Foundation as their spokeskid, and now is enjoying volunteering with disabled skiing and junior golf. From his cancer treatment he is now profoundly deaf, is missing many adult teeth, and has an underdeveloped jaw. Over the last ten years, Campbell has gone through multiple oral surgeries, most recently having nine implants put in. He strives to one day become a doctor to help change the lives of people who have gone through similar difficulties. He plans to continue his studies by pursuing a combined degree in Business and Kinesiology at the University of Calgary.
Emily is the founder and president of the Miracle Movement, leader of her school’s Me to We and Best Buddies clubs, and vice-president of Project Pulse Vancouver. Emily spearheaded a community-wide campaign to build a library for a local school in need and was recognized at WE Day Vancouver 2017 for her humanitarian efforts. Her personal struggles have helped inspire her passion of promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities for vulnerable populations. As a Terry Fox Scholar, Emily will be pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University with aspirations to pursue a career in pediatric cardiology and health and social innovation.
Since coming to public school over two years ago, Hannah has witnessed the results of intergenerational trauma and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in youth around her. Hannah decided to take action and form a non-profit Youth Peer Counselling Education Group. The first of its kind in hjer community, this group aims to serve as a place where youth can decompress, find support and resources, and learn peer counseling and self-care skills. Hannah will be attending the Science One program at UBC, and aims to pursue a career in Neuroscience with the goal of eventually helping to research cures to brain diseases and to promote mental health.
Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ruth’s background as a refugee has instilled in her a strong work ethic and a clear vision for her future. Ruth is a third-year Bachelor of Health Sciences student majoring in Biomedical Sciences. She founded the Habesha Students’ Society (HSS), and acted as the co-president of the Health Sciences Students’ Association. Ruth regularly volunteers in her home country for local not-for-profits including the Children’s Heart Fund of Ethiopia, which in conjunction with her mother’s background in medicine and foster parenting, has inspired Ruth to pursue a career in Pediatric Cardiology. Ruth will be returning to Ethiopia this summer to help conduct research towards improving malaria diagnostics.
Trevor is actively involved with community work, specifically with Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) through the Shave for the Brave, raising over $80,000 over 12 years of involvement. Trevor also collects and distributes food and clothing to shelters in the area. His diagnosis with both juvenile idiopathic arthritis and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) has been difficult; requiring a bone biopsy to rule out cancer in his femur. In this way, Trevor feels most akin to Terry Fox. He is pursuing a degree in engineering at Memorial University.
Maggie is a decorated para-swimmer having represented Canada internationally. Being no stranger to adversity, Maggie has experienced many setbacks throughout her life from her own health challenges. Maggie advocates for accessibility and inclusion of those with disabilities through education and awareness. This includes educational and motivational speaking, as well as presentations throughout local schools and in the community. She has also participated in volunteer work at BC Children’s Hospital doing research, as well as mentoring children who are going through treatment and hospitalization; a feeling she personally knows all too well. Maggie aspires to one day enter into a career in the pediatric health care system, where she will be able to give back to others in times of need.
At eight years of age Julie was diagnosed with Philedephia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Despite suffering this setback, she received the honour of valedictorian, the Spirit of Determination Award, and the Language Arts Award from her high school. She became passionately involved with the Terry Fox Foundation and Pedal for Hope, fundraising at both her elementary and secondary schools. From his, her small town raised over $140,000 in just a five-year span. Julie is attending the University of Ottawa in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Julie’s dream is to work at Sick Kids Toronto, specializing in hematology and oncology, inspired by the amazing doctors and nurses she met there.
As a child Marvin was diagnosed with CRPS/RSD, a painful neuro-inflammatory disease. Determined to overcome the pain, he turned to running. He has since run several half-marathons and has started training to run a full marathon in 2019. Additionally, as someone who is transgender he has faced bullying and discrimination. These hardships inspire him more to try and improve the wellbeing of others. In high school, Marvin co-ran a Gay-Straight Alliance, helped organize fundraisers and workshops and volunteered every year at Pride Winnipeg. Marvin is also a dedicated volunteer with Canadian Blood Services as President of the Manitoba Blood Team, recruiting new blood donors at community events. Marvin will be studying Environmental Science, with a focus on Environmental Health.
Volunteering throughout her community, including being a leader at her local karate club and the president of her graduating class, is something Abigail values. When she lost her father at the beginning of her final year of school, her life was completely flipped. With the support from family and friends, she was able to regain strength and persevere through the toughest of days. Abbie was determined to maintain her dedication to academics, athletics, and civic life. Abigail hopes to fulfill her dreams of becoming a secondary mathematics and science teacher while studying at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Avigayil grew up in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, in an immigrant family of limited means. Having lost her father at the age of 10, she learned the value of life early on and made the relief of suffering her life’s goal. Avigayil volunteered at the local hospital and served on Dawson College’s First Aid Team, among other charitable commitments. As Local Officer for IFMSA’s Committee on Sexual & Reproductive Health, she recently organized events focusing on reducing HIV/AIDS stigma among health care providers and educating her classmates on contraceptive counseling. Avigayil currently studies Medicine at McGill University, and plans to pursue a career specializing in women’s health.
When faced with the effects of mental illness, Jerni turned to the mental health community to foster programs to help educate teachers and children on mental illness. Her community initiative sparked a passion towards volunteering with organizations such as IRCOM – where she tutors child refugees – and at St. Boniface Hospital. She was also chosen to attend several conferences such as the Forum for Young Canadians and the Manitoba Student Leader Conference, which has helped educate her on the power she has to help her community. Jerni hopes to continue her humanitarian initiatives and passion for helping others while studying at the University of Manitoba in the Fall.
Maggie developed a passion for humanitarian work at a young age from seeing her mother struggle with employment. Through volunteering at a wide range of organizations, such as Victim Services Toronto, TEDxYouth@Toronto, Philip Aziz Centre & Emily’s House, as well as the City Council of Toronto, Maggie has had the privilege to work with people from all walks of life: politicians, crisis counsellors, educators, and both adults and children with special needs and/or life-limiting illnesses. Maggie currently studies Social Work at York University and plans to continue her journey of providing support and care for those who may not be as privileged.
Celine is a committed volunteer at the Minoru Senior Centre and the key organizer of numerous fundraising events that helped refugees, the homeless, and various social groups. As the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the school newspaper, Celine takes advantage of such a platform to celebrate and empower people. As an Event Coordinator for Project Pulse Vancouver, Celine helps enlighten youth in the field of Health Sciences while supporting BC Children’s Hospital. When not volunteering, Celine can be found doing drama, painting, and playing tennis. She will be studying Life Sciences at Queen’s University, with the ultimate goal of becoming a doctor and joining Doctors Without Borders.
Avery is a phenomenal performing artist who has lent her voice to countless causes as her way of giving back. She has performed at the grand opening of the Hamilton Health Sciences Ron Joyce Children’s Health, YWCA Totally Awesome Young Women’s Breakfast, Manulife’s Alzheimer’s Walk for Memories, to name a few. Due to being deafblind, Avery has faced more obstacles than many, yet in spite of all the challenges she ploughs through life with no holds barred. Avery’s aspiration is to travel the world performing, inspiring, and motivating others to pursue their dreams. She will be pursuing a degree in Music-Voice.