South Asian Professional Network for Health Awareness (SAPNA) Raises funds for South Asian Health Initiatives.
Toronto, October 2011 – The South Asian Professional Network for Health Awareness (SAPNA) recently held its first ever Dare to Dream Awards Night and Fundraiser Gala in partnership with the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF).
SAPNA means Dream and was the theme of our inaugural gala: Dare to Dream. “We dare to dream of a day when South Asian Canadians are aware, empowered, motivated and supported and are living, longer and healthier lives,” said Dr. Rav Kumar, President of SAPNA. “If we’re successful, the outcome is simple – we will improve the health and health awareness of South Asian Canadians”
The Dare to Dream Awards Night and Fundraiser Gala was an energizing evening that recognized innovative research and significant fundraising contributions aimed at improving the health of South Asian Canadians.
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, was the first guest to open the event by speaking to the 400 attendees in the audience about his support of SAPNA, the CDA and HSF and their goal of helping South Asian Canadians to improve their health.
Headlining the entertainment of the evening was world-renowned performance artist, Michael Israel. Michael dazzled guests with seemingly random splashes of paint that danced across canvasses in near constant motion. To the audience’s amazement, the canvasses clearly revealed iconic images of John Lennon, Wayne Gretzky, Albert Einstein, Gandhi and Amitabh Bachchan when complete. Executive chef Michael Ewing tantalized the palates of guests with a gourmet and health conscious menu of classic South Asian dishes.
SAPNA’s sold out event continues to receive an overwhelming response from attendees expressing their delight at the event’s success.
Grassroots Award – Cardiovascular: Shashir Lakhani
Mr. Lakhani started as a general volunteer for Heart and Stroke Foundation in 2005. Soon he became the face of the North York office, managing donors and volunteer teams. He was involved in training and mentoring staff to raise funds. As President of the chapter council, he provided the vision and roadmap for success. He led the ‘Walk for Heart” with local MP’s. He also managed the Community Presentation Program for York South which involved raising awareness of Cardiovascular disease within communities. In 2010, he received an award for Volunteer Excellence from the Heart & Stroke Foundation. He is a passionate spokesperson for Heart Disease in South Asians taking every opportunity to raise awareness of this issue.
Research award – Cardiovascular: Dr. Sonia Anand
Dr. Anand is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at McMaster University and a vascular medicine specialist. She recived an undergraduate degree in Life Sciences from Queen’s University in 1989, a Doctor of Medicine from McMaster in 1992, and became a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in internal medicine in 1996, and completed a Vascular Medicine Fellowship at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2000. She further received her Masters in Clinical Epidemiology in 1996 and Ph.D. in Health Research Methodology in 2002-both from Mc- Master. Dr. Anand was recently awarded a Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease, and also holds endowed chairs from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario/Michael G. DeGroote in Population Health Research, and the Eli Lily/ May Cohen Chair in Women’s Health Research at McMaster. Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of cardiovascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin including Aboriginal people and South Asians. Her work is widely published among academic and peer-evaluated journals, and she teaches clinical epidemiology courses in methodology and cardiovascular disease at McMaster University.