Terry Fox Humanitarian award goes to Saanich Peninsula scholar

Terry Fox Humanitarian award goes to Saanich Peninsula scholar

Tim Collins/News staff

Jordyn Heal is a very special young lady.

A recent graduate of Stelly’s Secondary School, Heal was recently awarded a scholarship through the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program, a scholarship that she admits was critical to her goal of becoming a doctor and working in third world countries to help others.

It’s a fitting award for Heal, whose personal perspective on life has always had, at it’s base, a desire to excel and to use her gifts to help others.

“My aunt is a doctor in southern California and when I was 16 I had the opportunity to shadow her for a month. I fell in love with medicine and decided it was a career I wanted to pursue,” said Heal.

“But this summer I travelled to India as part of the Global Perspectives program and that was a life-altering experience. I found myself amazed at the incredible need of the people there and the way it combined with a sense of appreciation. I realized I could continue to do this kind of work even after I become a doctor, working with groups like Doctors Without Borders.”

Heal’s dreams suffered a bit of a setback when, after returning to Canada, she was required to travel to Queen’s University for an interview for the school’s QuARMS program, the university’s accelerated route to medical school. Although Heal’s perfect grade point average had earned her consideration for the program, she was not successful at securing one of the 10 slots for the program.

“I think I didn’t do very well in that interview because I’d just come back from India and my perspectives had changed about life. My answers were more centered on what doctors should be doing to address problems in the world and I don’t think it was really what they were looking for,” explained Heal.

Disappointed at that setback, and contemplating how she was going to be able to fund her university studies, she returned home to discover she was under consideration for the Terry Fox scholarship.

“It was amazing, really. I went over to Vancouver and was interviewed by four previous Terry Fox scholars, and I found that, this time around, my new perspective on life actually helped me,” she said.

Examining the description of the Terry Fox Award’s mandate, it’s easy to see why. The award strives to recognize the “courage, humanitarianism, service and compassion which Terry Fox embodied.”

“This award has made things so much easier. I’d been worried about how I was going to pay the $20,000 a year I needed for school and now I can actually see doing it,” said Heal, adding that the $28,000 Terry Fox award will be added to the $12,000 scholarship she’s been offered by McGill University and an additional $15,000 scholarship she had been awarded by the Fairfax Finn Holdings scholarship to fund her next four years of schooling.

Of course, given Heal’s nature, she is not relying simply on scholarships. She still works two jobs, six days a week, to help fund her dreams.

“The best part of the Terry Fox Award is that I’m assigned a mentor from the Award alumni to help me through the next few years. That’s incredibly valuable all on its own,” said Heal.

Heal leaves for McGill University on August 22 to start on her undergraduate degree. She plans to enroll in the school’s arts and science program, with a double major in molecular biology and international development.