“Even a small gesture can have a big impact,” says Parmeet Kahlon.
While earning a nursing degree from Toronto’s Ryerson University, Parmeet began to raise awareness of the need for donations of blood, plasma, platelets and organs. She organized a regular blood drive for her fellow nursing students, along with information sessions about donating organs and stem cells.
“I find this kind of volunteerism very fulfilling,” says Parmeet. “It’s great to feel that we can work together and make a real difference in the lives of others.”
Through her volunteerism and her studies, she learned how difficult it can be for patients in need of organs to find matching donors. The recognition inspired her to establish a Partners for Life collaboration with OneMatch Stem Cell Network (now Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry) to recruit potential stem cell donors. In addition, she founded the advocacy organization MOTIONS (Multi-Organ Transplant Insight, Outreach and Networking Society) at Ryerson University.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Parmeet is now enrolled in medical school at McMaster University. Despite a busy academic schedule, she still finds time to volunteer.
“I think most people are willing to help, but many don’t understand how they can do so,” she says. “Education and awareness-raising are key.”