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When Inderjit Singh Jagraon, 57, co-founded the Sikh Motorcycle Club (SMC) of Ontario in 2013 as a way to bring others in the community together, little did he know how much of an impact it would make. Today, the national club, of which he is also a founding member, has more than 300 members and has been recognized for its fundraising efforts with a 2021 Diabetes Canada National Volunteer Award, in addition to other awards. “Our community work is guided by Sikh principles of universality, which guide us to recognize the human race as one,” he says. “We see the challenges faced by others as our own, and work towards alleviating them.”

A personal connection to diabetes

The real estate agent who lives in Toronto with his wife and three daughters is also president of the SMC’s Ontario chapter. He devotes about half of his time to SMC, which organizes events, rides and awareness-related activities for its members, and is open to everyone. One of his daughters has even become a member.

Although the focus of SMC’s fundraising efforts is children and their families, Inderjit is aware of the challenges diabetes—and type 2 diabetes, in particular—holds for people of South Asian descent, who are at higher risk for the condition. His mother-in-law was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than 15 years ago, and developed complications related to her heart and kidneys. Today, she receives daily insulin injections, and despite her health challenges, is managing her diabetes well. He says,

Ending diabetes starts with spreading awareness, as most people do not realize the far-reaching consequences of this disease.

United by a common purpose

This is also an important message for Diabetes Canada: helping to End Diabetes starts with people learning the facts about this serious health condition and then taking action. “Inderjit’s philanthropic nature and vision exemplify how an individual can rally people together for a common purpose; in this case, to support the 11.5 million Canadians affected by diabetes,” says Nicole Holder-Dulson, Diabetes Canada’s regional director for Ontario, who nominated SMC Canada for the award. “Over the past four years, he has lead 3 rides and inspired more than 300 riders across Canada to raise over $160,000 to support the work of Diabetes Canada. We are very thankful for SMC Canada’s contribution and look forward to partnering with them again in 2022.”

Inderjit is modest about his successes and sees them as part of a bigger picture. “We at SMC Canada hope that our award will motivate people to do more, to look beyond their personal engagements and dedicate a larger portion of their time and resources for the good of the community.” That is a message worth sharing.

Did you know?

2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Today, more Canadians have diabetes than ever before. Diabetes or prediabetes affects one in three Canadians. One in two young adults will develop diabetes in their remaining lifetime. We cannot wait another 100 years to fund vital research that can help End Diabetes. #LetsEndDiabetes Visit 100 Years of Insulin to learn more, including how you can support those living with or at risk for the disease.

Author: Denise Barnard

Category Tags: Community Spotlight, Impact Stories;

Region: National