Garima Bhargava, an employee of Service Canada and volunteer coordinator of 2nd South Asian Gala to raise funds for Cancer Research by Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) says “the worst part about cancer is that when people hear the word ‘cancer’, worst case scenario is automatically presumed. People think that the person is gonna die..this is not true. There are cures now. People can get tested early and prevent it by having a healthy life style.”
Garima has been part of various charitable events before. Her reason to get involved in this particular event was “I know my family members who have suffered from cancer, so I wanted to give back to the community.” She noted being engaged in the process of engagement is “interesting and fun.”
The goal behind the Gala was to get youth (between the ages of 16 – 35) involved. “Our youth understands more of the causes and services available to the community than our adults..and we encourage the youth to talk about it with their family,” says Thushika RajendraKumar, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at Canadian Cancer Society.
Many South Asian members of the community are unaware that CCS provides free services to cancer patients. Patients can get access to transportation to go to their appointments; they can also have one-on-one counseling.
Thushika stated that the Gala is hosted to engage and to encourage the South Asian community of Brampton who are not quite so involved with CCS. (She noted that most attendees of the Gala are youth between the ages of 18 to 35.)
Garima agrees saying when it comes to cancer research, not enough South Asians are involved.
“Because cancer is not a disease that comes home too close for many people.”
Bank of Montreal (BMO) supported the event.
The Gala featured a number of entertaining performances including a performance by Band Baja Brass (BBB), Anusha Sivalingam, Jaskaran Singh, belly dance by Sandy, Niravana Performing Arts, Flawless Entertainment, Tamil Cultural & Academic Soceity of Durham, SGPD, University of Toronto’s Bhangra team, and a fashion show choreographed by Ankur Kapur.