Burnaby North grad earns prestigious award

A Burnaby North Secondary grad is among 20 students across the country being recognized for demonstrating “the highest ideals and qualities of citizenship and humanitarian service.”

Monica Hsu is one of this year’s recipients of the $28,000 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, an award set up a year after the Canadian hero’s death in 1981 to recognize young people who embody his legacy by not only believing in a better world but striving to contribute to it.

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Like many of her fellow award winners, Hsu has seen her share of adversity.

She was born in Taiwan but her family immigrated to Prince Edward Island and then B.C.

Along with negotiating the challenges of immigration as a youngster, she was the main caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer when Hsu was in Grade 10.

Her mother died the following year.

“These challenges deeply impacted Monica, yet they also invigorated her to invoke changes in the vulnerable support system which exists for cancer patients with language barriers,” states a press release about her award.

Hsu founded the Stand Up to Cancer Club at her school and has volunteered at Vancouver General Hospital.

Having been accepted into the science program at UBC, she plans to pursue a career in health care in hopes of building a more comprehensive supportive system for all cancer patients in the future.

Out of 657 applicants this year, Hsu was one of 20 scholars chosen for the award, which “is only granted to students who have demonstrated courage and determination through their excellence in academic, athletics and civic life,” according to the press release.

The Terry Fox Humanitarian Award is open to any Canadian student pursuing their first undergraduate degree. The application deadline is Feb. 1 of each year.

For more information, visit www.terryfoxawards.ca

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