Javeria Shafiq

“Throughout my life, I have been attending a lot of events revolving around the concept of patient-centered care. After graduating with the BSc Biology degree from York University, Toronto, I knew I wanted to make an impact in populations suffering from chronic diseases. I started volunteering at the PEER program through the Thrive Centre at the University of Calgary. PEER later became part of Kids Cancer Care’s outreach programs. The opportunity to serve at PEER at the University of Calgary and Kids Cancer Care has humbled me profoundly. The mission and drive I experienced at PEER through other volunteers and participants have always been awe-inspiring and I knew I wanted to be a part of it the moment I heard about it in 2015. I love children and I wanted to give back to the community. So, I decided to volunteer with PEER in a place that is dedicated to the mind, body, and spiritual well-being of children.

“By working with Iris, a very special participant, I am rewarded in many ways. Iris has serious long-term effects from cancer treatment. She has severe cognitive and mobility issues. She is a long-time participant at PEER. Her warm smile and her vocals inspire me every Wednesday evening. The challenges she faces are far greater than I have experienced, and yet, the tenacity Iris has shown in the past couple of years, is incredible and not something that can be overlooked. It is something I truly admire about her. It is deeply heart-warming to see that Iris continues to benefit from the PEER program through the physical activity program and by interacting with other kids in a playful environment. During our weekly sessions, we do stretches, rolling, tummy time and sometimes trampoline exercises, which she absolutely loves. Every week, working with Iris has resulted in a changed perspective on life. PEER at Kids Cancer Care has taught me so much about appreciating the little things, being resilient and showing fortitude, always smiling regardless of the circumstances and living life as fully as possible. Iris and all the other participants at PEER are my everyday heroes!

“As a volunteer, I feel genuinely appreciated and supported by the talented PEER team and it allows me to build relationships and a network of a diverse and phenomenal group of people.

“PEER has been a remarkable experience. It is truly an honour and privilege to be part of this program. I feel truly blessed to volunteer in a place that not only focuses on children’s physical health, but also gives them opportunities to experience social interaction that healthy children enjoy. PEER undoubtedly gives uncompromised world-class customer service to the most special guests in a form of providing patient-focused care in a fun and safe environment!”

~ Javeria Shafiq