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Dr. Soania Mathur

Dr. Soania Mathur

Dr. Soania Mathur

Dr. Soania Mathur

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International Women's Day: You Gain What You Give

Dr. Soania Mathur is our International Women’s Day Inspiration

March 8 is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Choose To Challenge. With so many inspiring women leaders in our circle, it is difficult to celebrate just one, but Board Member Dr. Soania Mathur has faced a challenge head on in a way like no other.

Over twenty years ago, while pregnant with her first daughter, Dr. Mathur was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She didn’t choose this challenge, but what she did choose was to transform a very scary and unpredictable diagnosis into a lifelong dedication to advocacy and giving back.

“The experience was of course a source of fear and frustration early on,” reflects Dr. Mathur. “But it turned into a blessing in a way. We learned not to take anything for granted. It gave me the opportunity to teach my three daughters' empathy and compassion for others.”  

Having a mom with Parkinson’s disease has made a lasting impact on her children. Dr. Mathur says many important lessons have helped shape the way her daughter’s view the world. “They’ve learned that life won’t be perfect but you have to face the challenges that it brings. They are more resilient than most youth because they’ve seen and lived the challenges we’ve faced. They’ve learned to not shy away from struggle.”

Dr. Mathur and her husband, Dr. Arun Mathur, a urologist at Lakeridge Health, have always made it a point to instill philanthropy and giving back into their lives. “Arun and I both learned from our parents early on that giving back is very important. We’ve taught our girls the same and we’re so proud to see them embracing community service. There’s never been a time our daughter’s haven’t had Parkinson’s disease in their lives, and it’s inspired them to be advocates as well.”

Two of Dr. Mathur’s daughters are in university with an interest in medicine and the youngest is in high school. All three co-authored a book with their mom titled “Shaky Hands: a Kid’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease” where all proceeds from the sales are donated to support Parkinson's research and other efforts that serve the community.

Dr. Mathur herself is a powerhouse volunteer with a long list of accolades and projects under her belt. An Ajax resident, Dr. Mathur volunteers locally as a Lakeridge Health Foundation Board member and Chair of the Development Committee. She’s also an acclaimed speaker in Canada and the United States where she speaks to the challenges of adjusting physically and emotionally to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. She’s received significant recognition and a number of awards for her work including the World Parkinson’s Coalition Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Parkinson Community – which she accepted in Japan in 2019.

“I will always be involved in advocacy and volunteerism. It gives me focus to keep moving forward, a sense of purpose and is a passion for me. I’ve gotten a lot out of the work I’ve done and I hope others have too. You get what you give, it’s so fulfilling.” Dr. Mathur’s pursuits, including her ‘Unshakeable MD’ platform see no end. She recently co-founded a global Parkinson’s disease advocacy group with involvement from 50 organizations across 45 countries. The new venture will focus on issues such as care and medication equity.

When asked what advice she would give to young women, Dr. Mathur shares that “there are no limitations. Whatever you foresee your life to be – it can be! You just have the put in the time and effort and look for support from others around you. It often takes a team approach to achieve your goals but there are no bounds to what you can accomplish when you dedicate yourself to something.”

This International Women’s Day, Lakeridge Health Foundation and Dr. Mathur encourage everyone to #ChoosetoChallenge. To make a donation in support of Women's Health, click here.