Macken­zie vet­eri­nar­ian looks to give back

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - Bar­bara GEERNAERT Cit­i­zen staff bgeer­naert@pgc­i­t­i­zen.ca

Giv­ing back and help­ing oth­ers. This is what made Man­raj Sidhu from Macken­zie pur­sue a ca­reer in ve­teri­nary medicine.

“What­ever ca­reer path I pur­sue, I hope to con­trib­ute back to the pro­fes­sion in some way,” said Sidhu, who be­gan his first year of classes at the West­ern Col­lege of Ve­teri­nary Medicine in Au­gust.

He, along with 78 class­mates, re­ceived an of­fi­cial wel­come to the WCVM on Sept. 22 dur­ing a white coat cer­e­mony in Saska­toon, Sask.

“I’ve al­ways imag­ined my­self as a vet­eri­nar­ian that treats an­i­mals while learn­ing more about an­i­mal health to help ex­pand the knowl­edge of the ve­teri­nary field.”

Sidhu’s in­ter­est in vol­un­teer­ing be­gan when he was a teenage pa­tient at the B.C. Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal.

“My so­cial worker at the hospi­tal thought I was a “ma­ture” pa­tient and asked me to speak with another par­tic­u­larly re­served pa­tient in the on­col­ogy ward,” Sidhu said.

“I ended up be­ing an un­of­fi­cial vol­un­teer for the hospi­tal for over seven years.”

As a re­sult, Sidhu be­came a spokesper­son for the Sun­shine Kids Foun­da­tion where he spoke reg­u­larly with teens and their fam­i­lies while spon­sor­ing trips for chil­dren with cancer.

In 2011, Sidhu was named the Bri­tish Columbia Dif­fer­ence Maker of the Year, which led him to travel with Rick Hansen in sup­port of his foun­da­tion.

“I learn a lot from the ex­pe­ri­ences of oth­ers. Even though there are many hard times en­coun­tered while work­ing with these or­ga­ni­za­tions, it’s in­cred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing to im­prove the lives of oth­ers,” Sidhu said.

Sidhu was in the mid­dle of his third year of an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree at the Uni­ver­sity of Bri­tish Columbia when he de­cided to pur­sue ve­teri­nary medicine.

In­flu­enced by a fam­ily friend, Dr. Ravi Singh, a small an­i­mal vet­eri­nar­ian, Sidhu was able to ob­serve while re­ceiv­ing con­tin­ued sup­port and ad­vice from Singh.

Although un­sure of his plans for the fu­ture, one thing is cer­tain: Sidhu wants to make a dif­fer­ence by con­tribut­ing back to the pro­fes­sion in some way, ei­ther through lab-re­lated re­search or dis­ease mon­i­tor­ing at a lo­cal clinic.

“Hope­fully, in five years, I will be treat­ing an­i­mals and mon­i­tor­ing in­fec­tious dis­eases at the same time,” Sindu said.

Sidhu de­vel­oped a keen in­ter­est in in­fec­tious dis­eases and ac­quired sig­nif­i­cant re­search ex­pe­ri­ence through an un­der­grad co-op at the BC Cen­tre for Ex­cel­lence in HIV/Aids.

“I hope my life and vol­un­teer ex­pe­ri­ences will en­able me to bet­ter deal with the stresses of vet school and life as a vet­eri­nar­ian. I hope I can em­pathize well with my clients and I hope that all my re­search ex­pe­ri­ence will stick with me.”

HAND­OUT PHOTO

Macken­zie vet­eri­nar­ian Man­raj Sidhu is a fo­cused on vol­un­teer­ing.

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