Two young Calgary women have been selected for the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.
The pair are among 17 Canadians selected for the 2022 award, which provides scholarships to young humanitarians “who have demonstrated courage and determination through academics, athletics, and civic life,” the media release read.
Calgarians Maddison Tory and Ye-Jean Park received the awards.
“These young humanitarians have worked tirelessly to channel the same values and goals that Terry Fox held, be it a passion for helping those in need or demonstrating perseverance in the face of adversity,” said John Kearsey, Chairperson of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.
“The award will support these exceptional young leaders through their first post-secondary degrees. We are thrilled to help contribute to their further growth and look forward to watching as their careers flourish.”
Ye-Jean Park is a third-year student at the University of Calgary taking health sciences and music. She will continue on to pursue her medical degree. Her long term goal is to become a clinician with contributions to public health.
According to the release, Park comes from an immigrant family whom she watched work diligently to build a family restaurant.
Park co-founded her university’s first youth-led food education club called the Home Food Community Kitchen. That group works to spread awareness on affordable, nutritious and ethnically-diverse meals for vulnerable families and students.
She also helps lead Can-Shine Tutoring, a non-profit that brings free or subsidized tutoring to underprivileged youth.
Park also mentors high school and university students, plays the cello (for seniors who love the music) and is a public speaking coach.
“Overall, I am incredibly driven to serve as a torchbearer carrying Terry Fox’s gift of hope onwards towards a disease-free future for all,” she said.
At 13, Tory underwent heart surgery. Since then, she’s had to endure numerous ER visits and hospitalizations.
That’s what’s inspired her to help make a difference for Calgary’s sick and injured kids.
She’s the founder of HUGS, which focuses on the mental health and quality of life for kids during their hospital stays. Tory has also authored the charity book, Your Secret Superpower: Ignite your SPARK, which inspires other young people to take action.
Tory is a Special Olympics Coach, a Ronald McDonald House volunteer and a board member on both the Alberta Children’s Hospital Child and Youth Advisory Council and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Youth Philanthropy Council.
She hopes to continue her health sciences career by enrolling at the University of Calgary next year. Tory has her sights set on being a medical researcher, physician (cardiologist) and perhaps a hospital administrator.
“Like Terry Fox, my health journey not only taught me about my inner strength, resilience and perseverance, but it caused a paradigm shift in my thinking and actions,” Tory said.
“Self-centeredness and selfishness became replaced with compassion and empathy.”
The Terry Fox Humanitarian Award is now in its 40th year. It was established in 1982 with a $5 million endowment at that time. It was topped up with another $10 million in 2006.
Students can receive individual scholarships of up to $28,000.