Scientist who died of cancer raised $630,000 for marginalised students in last days

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Canadian neuroscientist Nadia Choudhury, who died of ovarian cancer earlier this month, spent her final week raising thousands of dollars for marginalized students.

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Choudhury died on October 5, less than a month after she announced on Twitter that she was dying and was making it her final mission to raise awareness about cancer. Her husband, Moni Orif, confirmed that the 43-year-old had died after his years-long battle with a terminal diagnosis.

But the award-winning, Pakistan-born neuroscientist did not go silent. She used her gritty story to issue an urgent warning to help underrepresented students.


She was Professor of Psychology at Concordia University in Montreal and in palliative care for “high-grade serous epithelial, platinum-resistant ovarian cancer” at the Royal Victoria Hospital. In simple words, she had said, she would never make it home.

But Chowdhary managed to successfully raise over $636,000 (about £460,900) in that time.

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In August, she announced from the hospital that she would start a walkathon by pledging to accelerate the length of the palliative care unit ward to raise funds for minority, female, LGBTQ and other graduate students seeking neuroscience research at Concordia. Will do

The money will go to the Nadia Choudhury Wingspan Award, which was instituted in her honor at Concordia University.

Choudhary became popular on social media following the announcement of her terminal illness, and used the support of her 150,000-strong followers on Twitter to continue to inspire. She used the platform to talk about her daily struggles with the disease and shared motivational videos where she was propelled to music from her hospital bed, in addition to fundraising appeals.

One Twitter user wrote, “I was deeply moved by your story, Nadia, and your kindness and spirit is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in such abundance before.” “As long as I live, I’ll carry you in my heart.”

In May, Choudhary wrote on Twitter how she was preparing herself to tell her 6-year-old son about his terminal diagnosis.

“Today is the day I tell my son I’m dying of cancer,” she said. “Let me now cry out in mourning, that I may comfort him.”

Despite her admiration in Canada and the US, she remained attached to her homeland, Pakistan. Establishing the Wingspan Award, Choudhary spoke about the discrimination she faced as a Pakistani woman in graduate school.

“When I gave talks or presentations, people often commented on my pronunciation rather than my science,” she said.

She also sent some donor copies of a short story she had written about her years growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, and photographs reminiscent of her childhood there.

On Twitter, she offered a painfully detailed account of what happened to her and urged women to “know your body” and “pay attention to fatigue and changes.”

She said in a post that her final journey was horrifying, but that she was also “full of brightness and love” as she spent precious time with her husband and son and “with a bunch of friends and supporters who pushed me into the clouds Is” “

On September 14, she said, “I will celebrate my new life and welcome everyone to my woods table.” “I am not afraid.”

Born in Karachi in 1978, she attended Karachi Grammar School and after moving to the US for further studies went to Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania for college.

While graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Foundations of Behavior, she became the first recipient of the Williamson Medal for Outstanding Academic and Extracurricular Achievement. She then earned her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Francisco.

She joined the Concordia University Faculty in 2010 after marrying Mr Orif in 2009. Choudhary is survived by her husband, son, mother and her sister.

Credit: / Ovarian Cancer

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