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Indian-origin cancer patient awarded PhD in an early convocation held by Canadian University

Several people came to show their support and pride towards Dsouza. Her extended family from Toronto, India and the US were there so was her immediate family. Jadyn, her 15 year old daughter stood by her like a rock.

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Precilla Veigas DSouza,an Indian origin cancer patient receives her PhD, Source- Screenshot from youtube
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New Delhi, May 18, 2017- Allen Saunders once said, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” The quote, though an age old, keeps its significance till date. Life doesn’t actually happens as we plan it to be. It consists of several surprises and sometimes disappointments too.

The same happened with Precilla Veigas Dsouza, who was diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer when she was halfway through her PhD in medical science at the University of Toronto.

The doctor had told Dsouza that she could survive at best for a year if aided by chemotherapy. Dsouza accepted the challenge posed by life and fought this fatal disease to complete her PhD in the next six weeks. Dsouza had already completed 80% of her dissertation work when she was diagnosed with the disease.

The University held a special convocation for her on May 9, 2017, a month before their usual June celebrations, to mark her achievement, showing a rare gesture.

In an open letter published in Hindustan Times, Veigas said,”I fear I may not survive another four weeks to see my June convocation. “ The 45 year old woman who has been a gifted student had always nurtured the dream of doing a PhD which could not be fulfilled in the earlier years of her life due to the trying circumstances.

Born in Karnataka, she moved to Dubai in 1997 after getting married but her dream followed her everywhere. She wrote in the letter “Even though my husband was doing well in his career, I was not happy. I was haunted by a longing to fulfill my dream of doing a PhD.”

Her dreams began to take shape when they shifted to Canada in 2003. She was given the permission to work on a pilot programme and got a job volunteering in a reputed hospital in 2005after which she also got a volunteer role in a clinical research organisation.

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She was also offered a full time job but she turned it down to pursue further education in clinical research. Dsouza applied both at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as at Humber College in Toronto to get two post-graduate certificates in clinical research.

Her gruelling hard work soon paid off as she became coordinator of a groundbreaking clinical study, involving more than 74 hospitals, and that required collecting data on cardiac arrest and trauma patients, who were in the danger of bleeding to death. Her fascinating work soon convinced Dr Sandro Rizoli, who would later be her supervisor, to accept her as a PhD candidate in 2012 at the Faculty of Medicine in University of Toronto.

However, she was struck by tragedy in 2015 when she was diagnosed with cancer. Dsouza is fighting the disease very bravely and now when she has received her coveted degree, her joy knows no bounds.

Several people came to show their support and pride towards Dsouza. Her extended family from Toronto, India and the US were there so was her immediate family. Jadyn, her 15 year old daughter stood by her like a rock. In her one of her interviews, Veigas acknowledged the great strength she derives from her family. Veigas said, “I’ve always had very strong support.”

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Her work has helped treating trauma patients by matching them to the most effective blood products for transfusion at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto.
She also wrote, “I am also so happy to leave a legacy for my daughter, Jadyn, to find the strength to achieve her own life goals,”
Veigas hopes to become inspiration for others and encourages everyone to follow their dreams.

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram, Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

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An Indian Origin Woman Minister in the Government of British Columbia

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

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British Columbia, the Canadian province that is a leader in technology and has one of the fastest growing tech ecosystems in the world
British Columbian Flag.Wikimedia commons

From Canada, that boasts of a first Indian-origin Defence Minister in Harjit Singh Sajjan, here is the story of another Indian-origin woman migrant who has risen to become a minister in the government of the British Columbia — the Western-most province of the country known for its tech prowess globally.

Meet Jinny Jogindera Sims, who was born in Jalandhar in Punjab and migrated at age nine to England where she got a B.Ed degree at the University of Manchester.

Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens’ Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.

In a conversation with IANS, when asked about Canada’s inclusive nature and how emigrants like her can make it to the top in different fields including political power, pat came her reply: “If you ask me is there more we can do, my answer will be absolutely. We need to do more on aboriginals and the nations’ ethnic communities”.

“We need to do more. Inclusivism and racism is not a one-time issue. We need to do more for their education and other issues. We need to do it all the time”.

Asked about Indians and attracting the talent in the growing tech sector of British Columbia, Sims said Indians have made a name for themselves in the tech and other sectors and are in the forefront.

“I have been to India as an MP to various cities, including Bengaluru and Kolkata. Looking at the skills and talent and amazing companies, India is important in the tech sector. We are looking at new cooperation with Indian tech companies,” she emphasised.

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens' Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.
Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011. Pixabay

Asked about her ministry’s work, Sims said her department has gone more digital in delivering services to citizens and that has brought its own problems.

Cyber crime, fake news and other related problems faced by the countries across the world are also her main problems.

“Digital economy is growing. More and more people are getting sophisticated and trying to commit cyber crimes. We are engaged more with businesses that are worried that more people are trying to get information online through Internet bandits.

“We are telling businesses to build extra layers of security. It is like when we construct a home, we have doors and windows which we close for security. Likewise, businesses have to build layers of security like Next-Gen anti-virus solutions and firewalls,” the minister stressed.

She said her ministry is very agile on cyber security and has become smarter with time.

“They (cyber-criminals) have got technology and are, all the time, trying to get into our systems. Nearly 300,000 systems were affected which is mind-boggling. It also shows we have to be extra-cautious, building firewalls and constantly monitoring them,” Sims said.

Asked about the problem of data stealing and stalking over social media platforms, Sims said the government’s role in this is limited.

As a mother and a grandmother, she would only advise that schools and parents have to tell children on the newer risks arising from the use of Internet.

“Parents can limit the children from accessing Internet. We can teach and guide them on cyber security. Businesses also have a responsibility,” Sims added.

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The identity cards issued by her government for accessing citizens’ services have high-security features and cannot be breached for extracting personal details.

“Our ID cards, personal details are never shared with anyone. There is nothing that goes out from our portal,” she noted.

Asked if she was aware of the controversy surrounding the Aadhaar card in India, the minister said, “a little bit”. (IANS)