Scholarships celebrate youth volunteers

August 12, 2022

Recipients of this year’s Healthcare Professionals of Tomorrow scholarships are, clockwise from top left: Amy Quan, Hunter Johnson, Saffren Colbourne and Vinura Abeysekara.

Recipients of this year’s Healthcare Professionals of Tomorrow scholarships are, clockwise from top left: Amy Quan, Hunter Johnson, Saffren Colbourne and Vinura Abeysekara.

Friends of Chinook gives boost to future healthcare professionals

Story by Kelly Morris

LETHBRIDGE — Each year four exceptional volunteers are awarded Healthcare Professionals of Tomorrow scholarships by the Friends of Chinook Regional Hospital (CRH) along with Alberta Health Services Volunteer Resources.

Two scholarships of $2,000 and two of $1,500 are given to young people pursuing a career in healthcare, who live within the hospital’s service area, and who have volunteered with patients at CRH. This year’s $2,000 recipients are Vinura Abeysekara and Amy Quan, with $1,500 for Saffren Colbourne and Hunter Johnson.

Abeysekara has volunteered at CRH since 2019 while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge.

“I volunteer as a way to give back to the community,” says Abeysekara. “It’s also a good first step into healthcare, which I have always wanted to pursue a career in. Receiving this scholarship will help me a lot in my goal of pursuing a career as a family physician, and is a reminder that giving back to the community is always appreciated.”

Quan, a recent high school graduate, will attend the University of British Columbia with the goal of attending medical school to become a radiologist.

“Volunteering not only gives me the opportunity to spread kindness and make people’s day but it also gives me a chance to work in a healthcare setting,” says Quan. “I’d like to thank the volunteer coordinators at CRH — especially Filomena Laporte-Packer and Hilary Holt — for providing a diverse range of opportunities, and inspiring me to fully commit to pursuing a career in healthcare.”

Colbourne, an aspiring medical student, will use his scholarship to pursue a career in nursing because he admires the compassionate and thorough care that nurses provide. He’s been a volunteer in Wayfinding and Diagnostics & Imaging since 2019.

“I became a volunteer because I wanted to get more exposure to the realities of the hospital-setting and wanted to give back to my local community,” he says. “I’m extremely lucky to be able to make people’s hospital visit less daunting. Putting a smile on their faces makes volunteering all worth it.”

Johnson began volunteering at CRH while completing a Master of Science degree at the University of Lethbridge.

“Volunteering has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” says Johnson. “Volunteering has allowed me to surround myself with like-minded people who strive to make a positive impact on everything they do, giving me a sense of purpose, involvement and determination.

“Receiving this award will alleviate some of the financial stress associated with post-secondary schooling, allowing me to completely focus on my research, future schooling and other volunteer activities.”

The Friends of Chinook Regional Hospital is a volunteer organization that supports programs that improve the patient experience and enhance the hospital community through the efforts of dedicated staff and volunteers. The society recognizes and gives back to the volunteers who make their efforts possible.

“Each year, we get the opportunity to work with and support hard-working future healthcare professionals through these scholarships,” says Executive Director Daniel Erickson.

”This year’s recipients continue to go above and beyond in their volunteerism here at CRH, with a true passion for a future career in healthcare. I look forward to seeing what they achieve next.”