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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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Thanksgiving Day Across the World

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated across the world and for each country, it has its own tale and tradition around food and days.

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Thanksgiving Day celebrations
Happy Thanksgiving Day, Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

America
The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date.
But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.

Canada
Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.

But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

Liberia
In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.

Netherlands
Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.

But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.

Food:
The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.

Black Friday:
Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.

Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.

Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.