Vol. 4 No. 3                            "India is the cradle of the human race... " - Mark Twain

October 2009 "Canada is one of the oldest federations the planet still has up and running." - Roy MacGregor


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A Gala with a Heart


The North Indian Medical & Dental Association of Canada (NIMDAC) Foundation Fundraising Gala for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada was held at the Mississauga Convention Centre on September 27, 2009.  It was not simply an evening of entertainment extravaganza with distinguished guests in elegant gowns, saris and custom suits but an assembly of conscientious citizens with a sense of purpose who chose to cart their generous hearts along with them.  Nearly $100,000 was raised with the involvement of Canada India Foundation, State Bank of India, Scotiabank, RBC and other generous contributors from the corporate sector.         

A silent auction preceded the entertainment.  Award winning journalist and lead news anchor for OMNI News South Asian Edition, Angie Seth was the emcee for the evening. 

(L to R) Dr. Rayudu Koka David Sculthorpe, Dr Nirmal Gupta, Senator Con Di Nino and Dr. Asha Seth 

Dr. Asha Seth, the Founding President of NIMDAC Foundation introduced the keynote speaker, David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  While the purpose of the NIMDAC Foundation is to give back to charities that have a focus in the medical, dental and health fields, the Heart & Stroke Foundation is a leader in eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application and promoting healthy living.

Mr. Sculthorpe came on stage, pockets already full of raffle tickets and recounted the considerable time he had spent in the corporate sector where only financial gains mattered.  He spoke about the horse and buggy era of cardiology that existed not so long ago, pointed out the reality of millions of baby boomers on their way to retirement, mentioned the number one killer of men and women over fifty five years of age, observed the alarming rise of childhood obesity in the past two decades or so and wondered when the fast food eateries would begin to lower trans fat from their menus.  At the helm of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Mr. Sculthorpe has chanced upon a new scorecard to measure success:  taking stock of the number of lives saved.  

Nikki Shah’s soulful rendition of “O Canada” was followed by the Indian national anthem by Raina Sen.  Dr. Asha Seth applauded the audience for their grit as she knew how some had arrived in the country without many resources and subsequently made great contributions to society.  She emphasized that it is not how one gave but how much one put into giving, so that the heart could continue to live longer. 

The Rio Samba Divas popularly known as R.S. Divas lightened the mood in flaming red costumes.  They regaled audiences with the legendary Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friends among other catchy numbers. 

Dr. Arun Seth’s wit was evident as he introduced Senator Con Di Nino, who in turn, presented a glorious tribute to Dr. Asha Seth by pointing out that she exemplified what people needed to do to make the world better. 

Live auction followed.  Ivan D’Lima conducted with panache and exquisite carpets to breathtaking works of art disappeared from the stage in no time.  

Soon after, ballerinas of A2D2 mounted the stage and dazzled the audiences with their aerial dances.

Dr Milan Gupta, a staff cardiologist at the William Osler Health Centre in Brampton, Ontario, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario spoke next.  He mentioned how susceptible South Asians were to develop heart disease and how it is largely preventable.  Although genetics can hand us a loaded gun, our lifestyle and environment can prevent us from pulling the trigger.  Dr. Gupta concluded his talk with a warning that must be heeded by one and all, “no more walking the dog while you are driving.”

With too many things jostling for prominence on our agenda books, we often tend to neglect our most valuable possession: our health.  It is agreeable to be lucky but at some point we have to get smart.  So when we slack, the sterling efforts of the heroes of organizations like the NIMDAC Foundation and the Heart & Stroke Foundation converge hearts.  And the steep incline of our long journey looks like a walk in the park.


About Sam Mukherjee, you can read more at www.sammukherjee.com


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