BRAMPTON: A $1-million donation to William Osler Health System (Osler) hospitals was announced at a fundraising dinner this month at Brampton’s Pearson Convention Centre. Led by Brampton-based entrepreneur Satish Thakkar and his wife Rimple, the Indo-Canadian Friends of Osler (ICFO) hosted the Butterfly Soiree gala on February 12 with the hope of opening hearts in the community in support of a good cause – to enhance patient care at Osler’s three hospitals.
Established by a group of local professionals and entrepreneurs from the Indo-Canadian community, the ICFO was launched in 2014 with a pledge to raise $1 million for Osler Foundation. With proceeds from the gala dinner Sunday and other donations still coming in, the ICFO has raised at least $500,000 this year for Osler’s redevelopment initiatives. That brings the total raised to $1 million in three years, easily meeting the group’s original goal.
Approximately 600 attended the Butterfly Soiree gala, which featured Bollywood music, a dazzling fusion of ballet and Indian traditional dance and a mesmerizing musical display. The program included a thought-provoking key note address from Dr. Sonia Anand, Professor of Medicine, McMaster University on heart disease in South Asians.
Several dignitaries were in attendance including the Minister of Seniors Affairs, Dipika Damerla; Ontario’s Leader of the Official Opposition, Patrick Brown; Peel Regional Police Chief, Jennifer Evans; the Consul General of India, Dinesh Bhatia; and numerous MP’s, MPP’s and City Councillors.
“I appreciate the great work done by the Indo Canadian Friends of Osler in raising $1 million for Osler’s hospitals,” said Dipika Damerla, Minister of Seniors Affairs and MPP, Mississauga East-Cooksville. “Initiatives such as these play an important part in improving services which are offered at these institutions. I am delighted to note that the Registration area of the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness is being named in honour of Sage Patanjali, the Father of Yoga.”
The gala event was also attended by Linda Jeffrey, Mayor of Brampton, who has worked in collaboration with Osler in recent years to organize fundraising events.
“It is only with the generous support from organizations like ICFO that our health institutions, like Brampton Civic or the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, can better serve our city’s residents,” said Jeffrey.
The funds raised will help replace life-saving equipment at Brampton Civic, as well as build and equip the new Peel Memorial and a new four-story patient care wing at Etobicoke General. The Ontario government is funding 90 per cent of construction, while the community is responsible for coming up with 10 per cent of construction costs and 100 per cent of equipment costs.
“We are honoured that the Indo-Canadian Friends of Osler have chosen Osler Foundation to be the benefactor of their dedication and generosity,” said Ken Mayhew, President and CEO, Osler Foundation. “Our ICFO supporters are helping to enhance health care to better meet the needs of its community here in Brampton and Etobicoke, as well as positively influence health care delivery abroad. Their leadership has already inspired others to step forward to do their part in raising public awareness and participation in a cause that touches everyone.”
The South Asian community in Brampton, Etobicoke and the surrounding area believes in volunteerism and philanthropy, and it is something to be proud of, according to ICFO Chair, Satish Thakkar.
“I am especially proud to have the support of the many ICFO team members who committed their time and network to help inspire new pledge donors,” said Thakkar. “I am very grateful for their collective support in helping us achieve our $1 million fundraising goal.
“We have in Canada an enviable health care system that is unique and effective in ensuring that no one is left behind, and to operate this health care infrastructure requires massive resources that the government alone cannot provide. I’m very pleased with the community response – the presence of such a huge gathering here is a testament that health care is close to everyone’s heart. Our population is living with more chronic diseases than ever before, and it is this awareness that has led us to support Osler’s innovative work in prevention and disease management.”
Rimple Thakkar added, “This new model of health care which emphasizes wellness rather than illness has a particularly profound impact in the Indo-Canadian community, and we need to continue to focus more on education, promoting alternate medicine, and assisting individuals with staying healthy.”
In consonance with the Osler Foundation’s approach of transforming healthcare’s focus from illness to wellness, the ICFO has selected the Central Registration Area at the new Peel Memorial to honour Sage Patanjali, known as the “father of modern yoga” as a tribute to this ancient Indian holistic approach toward human health. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, an ancient Indian scripture, mentions yoga and meditation as the most essential techniques to keep the body and mind healthy.
“The naming is most fitting as it reinforces Peel Memorial’s focus on healthier communities,” said Satish Thakkar. “Pertinently the United Nations while declaring June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, emphasized that yoga provides a holistic approach to health, and the ICFO is proud to have played a role in supporting this unique health care facility which will offer the residents of Brampton and surrounding communities access to a wide range of traditional and health care services.”
As well, the donation will be used to positively influence health care delivery abroad while learning innovative new ways to improve care and better meet the needs of its own community in Brampton and Etobicoke. Ten percent of the funds raised will be used to assist an eight-member team from Osler to travel to Punjab, India, where it has started work in partnership with three local hospitals – Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha and Apollo Hospitals.