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St. Michael’s volunteer efforts honoured at Callwood awards

Two volunteer programs founded by members of the St. Michael’s community were among 18 recipients of the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism.

Toronto, May 7, 2010

The Urban Angels of St. Michael’s Mission to the Philippines The Urban Angels of St. Michael’s Mission to the Philippines

The Urban Angels of St. Michael’s Mission to the Philippines has helped more than 11,000 patients since 2005, including 3875 patients in nine days during the most recent mission in February. The team of 52 medical and non-medical volunteers completed 87 minor surgeries, performed 63 cataract surgeries, and distributed 9000 pairs of glasses. The initiative was spearheaded by St. Michael’s operating room nurse Zenny Gepilano, after she witnessed the need for care in the Philippines.

“The award was unexpected,” said Gepilano. “Our team of volunteers works really hard to bring the mission together every year, giving their "gift of time" to help people in the Philippines. We’re so happy to receive this award.”

St. Michael’s medical student Sagar Dugani co-founded IMAGINE, a student-run health initiative for inner-city populations. In addition to outreach activities and health promotion workshops, IMAGINE will soon be opening a community clinic that addresses the needs of the underserved and homeless population of downtown Toronto.

Dugani has also been honoured with the 2010 Student Leadership Award by the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS).

Sagar Dugani Sagar Dugani
The Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism was renamed in 2007 in honour of Callwood, a journalist, author, and strong supporter of St. Michael’s. Callwood partnered with St. Michael’s to form Casey House, an HIV/AIDS hospice named for her son. The collaborative relationship between St. Michael’s and Casey House continues to this day.

The recipients were honoured by the province at a ceremony during National Volunteer Week.

"These individuals and volunteer groups have played a major role on serious issues, improving the lives of Ontarians, Canadians and people around the world,” commented Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “They are truly exceptional role models."