Shakho Sharipova had an epiphany when she was in the hospital recovering from surgery to remove cancer.
She felt very alone and would listen in to her roommate’s guests reading them stories.
This made her feel better and it was then she realized helping one person can ultimately help many people.
She told this story in her speech on March 19 at the East York Civic Centre as she received the Agnes Macphail Award for all her work helping people ever since that life-changing experience.
The Agnes Macphail Award rewards hard-working individuals who make a significant impact on the East York community.
“It is more than ever important to gather like we are doing today to celebrate good people doing good things,” master of ceremonies Bob Lister said.
Sharipova, an ophthalmologist specializing in treating glaucoma, was chosen for this award because of her work founding a volunteer-run organization to help provide children with autism access to education and healthcare, as well as for organizing toy drives for low-income families and running a hot meal project — all while being a mother of four, grandmother of two and a doctor.
“Dr. Shakhlo is the name of struggle, courage and love. She is the woman who made a positive impact in our lives,” said Hamida Begum, a volunteer who has been working with Sharipova since 2020.
Begum said she nominated Sharipova for the 2023 Agnes Macphail Award because she saw how hard she worked to provide people, especially children with autism, opportunities they would not have had otherwise.
Last year’s recipient, Kam Babulal, presented her with the award.
In her ac ceptance speech, Sharipova said, “I started raising awareness of true diversity and inclusion with respect to the multicultural backgrounds.”
She was awarded a $2,500 cheque payable to The Neighbourhood Organization, presented by Ahmed Hussein, executive director of The Neighbourhood Organization and Raymond White, a previous recipient of the award.
“The work she does, the support she provides to these families is amazing,” Hussein said, after presenting her the cheque.
Her certificate for the award and a proclamation were presented by local councillors Paula Fletcher and Brad Bradford.
Fletcher gave a short speech and read the proclamation followed by the previous recipients of the award gathering with Sharipova to take a picture.
“It’s an inspiring, wonderful event,” Lister said after the ceremony.