Since she was a young girl, Rishika Aggarwal has been taught the importance of giving back. Her parents have set the example, encouraging Rishika and her two sisters to help others around them and support their community. That commitment extends to local health care and Queensway Carleton Hospital as well.
Born and raised in Barrhaven, Rishika’s connections to Queensway Carleton Hospital are many. Early on in high school, she decided she might want to be a doctor, so she shadowed Dr. Andrew Falconer for a day in Emergency. “It was a great way to understand the hospital’s operations from a physician’s point of view and better appreciate their role in providing world-class care to patients every day,” she recalls. “I enjoyed my time with Dr. Falconer, who was warm and welcoming.”
Her second encounter with Queensway Carleton Hospital was in Grade 12 – and not nearly as fun. Rishika had an emergency appendectomy after waking up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. “As soon as I arrived at Queensway Carleton Hospital, I knew I was in good hands. The staff treated my mother and I with the highest levels of professionalism and care and made sure to address every concern. It made all the difference during a very stressful time for the both of us. They were compassionate.”
The procedure was done laparoscopically, with less pain and faster recovery time.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is that Queensway Carleton Hospital has the equipment, resources and people to provide world-class care. You never know when you or a loved one will need it. I was perfectly healthy the day before and never anticipated that I might need an emergency operation. Going into the OR that day was terrifying, but I was comforted by the doctors and nurses who assured me that I was in good hands.”
So Rishika decided to give back by spending her summer volunteering at the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation. She says it was a great experience and another opportunity to see the direct impact that fundraising has on each and every patient. “As a patient, I was unaware of the support from hundreds of community members that made the quality of my care at Queensway Carleton Hospital possible. Volunteering at the Foundation opened my eyes to the ripple effect of their generosity on countless lives.”
Rishika realizes that you never know when you will need help. All her touchpoints with Queensway Carleton Hospital have helped her to realize the importance of supporting health care close to home. She says that people are always surprised to learn that the provincial government does not fund the purchase of vital hospital equipment. That is why the Surgical Services campaign is so necessary. “When you are being rolled into the OR, the equipment and monitors in the room should be the least of your concerns. It should be a given that your doctor has the best tools available to do their job. Of course, this is expensive to achieve and it’s why we all need to give what we can to make it possible.”
Now, with a degree from the Ivey School of Business at Western University, Rishika is working in the financial services sector in Toronto. And, as expected, she is already volunteering with a local hospital close to her new home. She says that while the transition between school and adult life can be scary, it is also empowering. “There’s no roadmap anymore, but now life can be exactly what I choose to make it. My experiences at Queensway Carleton Hospital have shown me the importance of giving back and shaped my value system into what it is today. Now, as an adult, I want to contribute to the community in which I live and work. It’s the right thing to do.”