Sunday, December 4, 2022

Karanvir Gill: Rising up to give back

BY Gurleen Kaur Bajwa, 19 Sep, 2019

    The president of Lifestream Sick Kids has made tremendous contributions to the spread of awareness surrounding childhood diseases.  

    Beyond the common cold, chickenpox, measles and perhaps food allergies, there isn’t much that the general public is aware of when it comes to childhood illnesses. Which is surprising, considering every year, there are approximately 12 million deaths of children before the age of five, tragically, many of which were preventable. In other words, awareness surrounding childhood diseases is not only severely lacking, but has also never been more significant. Karanvir Gill, the co-founder, and president of Lifestream Sick Kids Awareness Society (LSKAS) understands this problem. In fact, he and his dedicated team, made almost entirely of university and high school students, have spent the last few years, striving to close this very gap in knowledge. 

    Gill, who recently appeared in Surrey’s top 25 under 25 list, graduated from Tamanawis Secondary School before moving on to pursue a bachelor of science at the University of British Columbia. He is currently majoring in Biology and heading into his fourth and final year in September. Besides being a full-time academically distinguished student, he is also invested in multiple extracurricular university activities; just last year, he headed a large organization committee for Science Week, a massive event held by the Science Undergraduate Society at UBC. However, Gill’s most impressive achievement is the LSKAS. The Society was established by Gill and a few others, in order to service what they saw as a severely lacking area of awareness and research. 

    Lifestream is a non-profit organization that operates from Surrey and focuses on not only raising awareness of childhood illnesses but also gathering support for actions that could drastically improve the lives of the children in question. To this end, they have worked alongside many institutions, including Canadian Blood Services and BC Children’s Hospital. Some of the initiatives they have partaken in include, but not limited to, recruitment of blood donors, fund-raising, and the organization of educational events throughout the community to provide information on healthcare and treatment advances.

    Gill also delved a bit into the inspiration behind the nonprofit, recalling how his time spent working at the BC Children’s Hospital, where professors would often visit to lecture about childhood diseases, inspired him to take Lifestream from a barely materialized idea to the nationally recognized non-profit it is today. And yes, Lifestream has been nationally awarded for the services it had provided to communities. Gill humbly credits the advances of Lifestream to his team, whom he praised as a very hardworking and dedicated group of people. Surprisingly, almost all of them fall on the smaller end of the age spectrum. And that is no accident.

    The reason behind Gill’s focus on the recruitment of younger volunteers is tied into his effort to combat the negative connotations surrounding teenagers, especially in Surrey. In fact, he handpicked his executive team, made up of young inspiring role models. Furthermore, Gill even makes a point of appearing in person to supervise many of the events held by the organization, so that he is more easily accessible to the younger volunteers. “I would specially like to thank Amarveer Sandhu, Mahtab Gill, and the boys of the graduating class of 2019 from Panorama Ridge, Tamanawis, and LA Matheson. They have been a big part of Lifestream's efforts,” adds Gill.

    Through offering encouragement and a starting platform, Lifestream aims to go a long way in setting up the incoming batch of leaders for even bigger opportunities later down the line.

    By drawing awareness to childhood diseases while also managing to quietly fight a formed narrative surrounding young adults, Lifestream manages to stand out as an organization that is aware of the needs of the community around it and is willing to mold itself accordingly. Looking towards the future, Gill sees Lifestream continuing to grow. When asked about his personal career aspirations, he says that while he is keeping his options open, he is certain about pursuing a path that will allow him to continue to help people. To learn more about Lifestream and their work, check out their Instagram page @lifstreambc

    Photos: AMaster media, Karanvir Gill

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