These young humanitarians have worked tirelessly to channel some of the same principles, values, and goals that Terry Fox held, be it a passion for helping those in need or demonstrating perseverance and determination in the face of adversity. The following persons are currently being supported through their first post-secondary degrees:
Katie is currently a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Alberta pursuing a degree in cell biology. She is highly involved with biomedical research on campus and is especially passionate about areas where research outcomes intersect with bioethical dilemmas, policy issues, and the greater framework of public health. Her interest in epidemiology is a net result of her academic and extra-curricular experiences. Katie has had the privilege of studying abroad and completing several internships in various countries. At home, Katie focuses her volunteering efforts on advocacy based and health organizations in her community. In her free time, Katie loves to fence. In 2018, Katie won the individual title at the Commonwealth Junior Fencing Championships. She was also a part of the Canadian team that captured the team title.
Highly involved in her community in Moncton, New Brunswick, Sarah has learned that hard work and dedication helps to create success. She is an active environmentalist in her community. She has been a guest speaker at climate strike rallies and has spoken at City Hall on environmental issues. During high school, Sarah founded Highlanders for Humanity – a volunteer group that helps at soup kitchens and raises funds for the Child and Youth Psychiatric Unit. Among other things, she volunteered at her high school’s breakfast program, was co-president of the student council, co-captain of her field hockey team and participated in other athletics. Even though she struggles with her mental health, she believes that education is one of the most important tools in life and how we use it, helps define the types of leaders we aspire to be she plans to start her Bachelor of General Sciences degree at Queen’s University in fall 2020 and continue her environmental activism.
Paige Ingram is passionate about making a positive impact in her community. While attending Prince of Wales Secondary in Vancouver, B.C., Paige founded the Be the Change Club to engage students on social issues. As Club President, she led 105 members over two years in coordinating fundraisers and educational campaigns on the global water crisis, global inequalities in education, and local food insecurity. As a Here4Peers Leader, she has increased mental health literacy for over 240 youth by facilitating interactive workshops in Vancouver elementary schools. As a member of the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Advisory Council of BC, Paige vocalizes youth-driven solutions to social issues specifically related to diversity & inclusion, reconciliation, and democracy. Paige received the Governor General Award as well as the Top Scholar and Top Female Athlete of her graduating class. Paige is pursuing a combined degree in Business & Computer Science (BUCS) at UBC with the goal of applying IT solutions to make a positive social impact.
“Being human, our knowledge and aptitudes are only worthwhile if they bring happiness or prove themselves beneficial in the life of another.” Shubhkarman moved to Canada in 2017 and in spite of several obstacles, he stepped out of his comfort zone and actively involved himself in school, leadership activities and the community. Being the Youth Nuclear Peace Summit Member, he strives to promote peace and ban of nuclear weapons. To help the vulnerable sectors of society, Shubhkarman spearheaded fundraising events for Winnipeg’s homeless, Cancer Research and ran English sessions for Syrian newcomers. Additionally, being the Co- President of Student Council, SHAD Fellow, YMCA Exchange Student and the founder of the school’s first debate club, he is committed for the betterment of his community. Being a weekly book-cart volunteer at the community hospital, he loves spreading cheer by socializing with senior patients. Shubhkarman will be pursuing a Bachelors of Engineering at the University of Alberta this coming fall.
While attending the Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School in Dauphin, Manitoba, Toni excelled in academics while devoting time to the Yellowhead Chiefs AAA Hockey program, Clippers rugby and soccer teams and as a member of the cross-country running club. She participated in the school choir, concert and jazz bands. Toni is an accomplished pianist and member of the Student Council and Diversity committees. In volunteering with the Community Transition Program, Toni motivated and encouraged students with disabilities in learning independent living skills. Volunteering through 4-H allowed her to understand needs of the vulnerable population within her community. Growing up with a parent who has battled cancer, Tonia has become a determined, compassionate, and goal-oriented individual. Because of her experiences, she has a desire to help others become well. Toni will pursue a career in medicine and plans to volunteer with Doctors without Borders to make a difference for others.
Impacted by social injustice in elementary school, Jolina became inspired to do humanitarian work in high school. She aims to make a positive impact through building kind and inclusive communities. At school, she is an executive of the Leaders of Hope Club where she organizes musical performances at senior care homes, kind letter-sending services, and social justice-focused seminars and drives. She is also the founder of the Earth Lovers Club, which is a weekly litter cleanup group, and the mentor of a young child. Moreover, she has led a fundraising team for girls’ education and empowerment in Northern Ghana. A Shad Fellow, she was the individual youth recipient for the Greenest City Leadership Award and Vancouver Quadra’s Hidden Hero Award. In fall 2020, Jolina will be attending the University of Toronto to pursue computer science and AI. Through technology, she strives to make a difference in the world.
Shiyue moved from China to Canada in 2017 and faced many language and culture barriers, however by actively involving herself in Saint John High School by becoming the student council’s committee head, provincial debate top speaker, volunteer at Cancer Foundation Society and Hospital, she quickly adjusted to this new home. Shiyue holds the mission of spreading more kindness to her community. She serves as the Vice President of Key club to organize dinners at homeless shelters and coat drives. Her most memorable experience was the trip she organized to Gansu – the poorest province in China – to teach children music and fundraise for families in need. As the founder of Tree Hugger, she promotes urgent actions against climate change by fundraisers and beach cleanups. Moreover, in working with Somalian refugees and participating in the Jewish Holocaust research project, Shiyue hopes to pursue a career in law to advocate for human rights and justice.
Ottawa’s Isabella MacKay has overcome many physical obstacles as a person with cerebral palsy. Isabella advocated for the rights of disabled people on the WE Day stage, raised money for food banks, became a certified lifeguard and planned fundraisers for Tysen’s Mission to a Million and the Ten Oaks Project. Since receiving the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize 2018, she has educated students about the contributions of Algonquin soldiers in WWI. Isabella was part of the Cappies Journalism program and in multiple school drama productions throughout her time at St. Francis Xavier High School. Recently, Isabella combined her passion for disability advocacy and drama through securing funding for a local theatre company to install fully accessible doors in their facility. Isabella is determined to become a physician to create a more diverse medical field, and to be the type of doctor her younger self would have been excited to see.
Kristen Vessa MacNeil
Growing up in a small town on Cape Breton Island, Vessa understands what it’s like to be overlooked. She has struggled greatly financially her whole life, but she never lets it hold her back or affect her kind presence. Throughout the years Vessa has stayed extremely active within her school, local community, and internationally. She has been the president of Breton Education Centre’s Interact club, a strong student ambassador, a youth tutor/mentor, a youth rugby coach, a summer camp counselor, as well as initiated and organized many fundraisers and developing a group called “BEC’s Little Helpers,” where she donated gift cards for food along with toys and gifts for local families in need. Vessa has done all this plus more and was still able to maintain her academic average and hold a job working many hours. Although unsure of her future career she would like to continue her activism and humanitarian work while pursuing her degree in Community Development at Acadia University.
Emma Neary is a first-year medical student at Queen’s University. In 2014, she was diagnosed with severe IBD and inflammatory arthritis. During long hospital stays, the suffering she witnessed in her fellow pediatric patients fueled her desire to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses.
Emma has volunteered with various organizations in Kingston and her home in St. John’s, NL. She has served as an Advanced Medical First Responder with the St. John Ambulance, executive member of the Memorial University of Newfoundland’s World Health Organization Society, leader of the Peace and Justice Coalition, and volunteer in a student-run soup kitchen. Currently, she volunteers and works with GI clinical and basic science research teams as both a patient advocate and student researcher.
As an aspiring gastroenterologist and clinician-scientist, Emma hopes to give back to the IBD community through innovation, research and advocacy for more patient-focused care.
Erin was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy as a toddler and relies on a power wheelchair for mobility. Growing up in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Erin became interested in social justice upon moving to Calgary at the age of 12. Upon witnessing rampant inaccessibility and ableism in everyday life, Erin became dedicated to advocating for a society more inclusive to disabled people. Using social media and her passion for writing, Erin has been a vocal advocate for Canadian organizations including Muscular Dystrophy, CureSMA, and Love for Lewiston since 2014. She attended Bishop Grandin High School, during which time she became interested in journalism as a platform for her activism. Erin then became involved with Cripple Magazine, an online publisher for disabled young adults, as a writer and editor. She is currently studying Political Science at the University of Calgary where she continues to raise awareness for disability justice.
Fatima is a third-year Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Calgary, passionate about serving vulnerable populations. Fatima has an interest in the intersection between helping others and science. She works as a student researcher studying immunology, and previously conducted research in biomedical engineering. Fatima is also the lead research analyst for BRIGHT International, focusing on mental health care access. Her research interests stem from her advocacy in mental health and disabilities. These themes are also seen in her volunteer work with Kids Help Phone, Autism Speaks, Special Olympics, and her spoken word poetry. She founded the Art of Recovery Club at her school, leads an Amnesty International chapter, and co-founded an international organization, Zero Waste. Zero Waste picks up excess cuisine from restaurants and bakeries, re-directing it to over 100,000 food-insecure individuals in four cities to date. She loves painting, traveling (to Spain and Quebec, so far!) and working as a basketball referee.
Phoebe is a graduating high school student from Glebe Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, Ontario. Phoebe is an academically driven student who embraces leadership, kindness, and compassion. At school, Phoebe was the Student Council’s co-president, and helped organize school events and clubs. She was also greatly involved with the music department. In her community, Phoebe co-founded a not-for-profit which provides clothing to youth, co-founded Giving Gertie, a not-for-profit focused on facilitating acts of compassion for the homeless community, and plays soccer and ringette. At age 15, Phoebe overcame adversity as she was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition requiring open heart surgery. Phoebe shared her story with her school helping to encourage students to raise money for their local children’s hospital. Phoebe is excited to study Integrated Science at Dalhousie University and plans to major in Environment, Sustainability, and Society to combine her love for science with her desire to give back.
Wing is a longtime volunteer at St.John’s The Compassionate Mission in the city of Toronto and attended Riverdale Collegiate Institute, where he improved the physical and mental well-being of students. At Centennial College’s he initiated the inaugural Firefit Team while earning his firefighting certification, graduating at the top of his class and awarded the top volunteer award through raising money for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, and Muscular Dystrophy. Being exposed to trauma and struggling with mental health barriers, inspired him to create change. He co-founded a non-profit company called Smileage which partners with Stella’s Place, a mental health charity, to support youth with unmet needs. In fall 2020 he will attend the University of Guelph aspiring to work in the Fire Department and the Canadian Armed Forces, positioning him to integrate the importance of mental health in the career of first responders.
Innately curious and passionate to improve the wellbeing of others, Mackenzie Walters— who goes by Taylor—intends to explore the intersection between brain and computer sciences to design ethical technologies. To this aim, Taylor has initiated the AI Ethics Committee, brought STEM opportunities to youth in her community, and has spoken widely on diversity in the science and technology sectors. Through overcoming challenging childhood circumstances and their emotional repercussions, Taylor has fostered resilience in perceiving what befalls her in life as opportunity for learning and growth. It is this perspective she has leveraged throughout her innovative pursuits and one she upholds to inspire a future in which both humans and machines equally maximize their capacity. Taylor will be attending Quest University in fall 2020, where she will engage with the complex nature of the co-evolution of society and technology—in the process of earning her Bachelor’s in Human-Computer Interaction.
Eric Weidmann, originally from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta currently attends the University of Alberta as a Finance major. When Eric was seven years old, his adoptive sister was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. Three years later Eric himself was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. The brain tumor was causing 15+ seizures a day and required major surgery. Inspired by his early experiences he has committed much of his life to humanitarian efforts that better the lives of other families. A speaker, mentor, ambassador and avid volunteer, he has assisted in raising over a million dollars for Kids With Cancer Society. Eric volunteers with other charities including Make-A-Wish Foundation, Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta, and Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. Eric works at Families First Society as a Children’s Programmer focusing on family domestic violence and at-risk youth. He is also the recipient of a Vimy Pilgrimage Award, and a University of Alberta Chancellor’s Citation.