Jasinder Gill

2009 Scholarship Recipient

When Jasinder Gill was suddenly too weak to walk to class or play sports in his senior year, he didn’t tell anyone. He kept it to himself, until one evening, when the telephone rang. 

Jasinder (Jason) vividly remembers the night he learned he had leukemia.

June 20th 2008: Jason was quietly studying for a physics exam. The telephone rang and his mother answered, but “with her limited English, she couldn’t understand,” says Jason, “so she passed the receiver to me.”

Jason picked up and a doctor from the lab, where he’d recently had blood work done, warned Jason he was about to give him difficult news. “He told me I had leukemia,” recalls Jason. “My hemoglobin count was extremely low, 47, and he told me I should get to the hospital immediately.”

But Jason didn’t do that. Not exactly.

The third son of hardworking immigrants from India, Jason was used to being strong and independent. Always inquisitive and resourceful, it was natural for him to research leukemia online before leaving for the hospital. A first-generation Canadian, Jason knew there would be no parental buffers between himself and the doctors at the hospital. “I felt it was crucial I understand leukemia, so I could understand what the oncologists were saying.”

Jason put his naturally inquisitive mind and research skills to work during his biological sciences studies at the University of Calgary. With the help of a scholarship from Kids Cancer Care, he completed an undergraduate degree. He also completed a Master’s of Science degree through the university.

“Knowing that someone is looking at you and saying, ‘We’re going to invest in you because we believe you can do something with your life,’ that is meaningful,” says Jason.

Jason’s lifelong dream was to work in dentistry. He received his dental education in Vancouver and is now back in Calgary working at a local dental office, which he says he is “absolutely loving.”