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Two local students honoured with Terry Fox Humanitarian Award

Maryam Al-Sabawi (L) and Machaila Wesch-Dawson (R) will receive scholarships as part of the terry Fox Humanitarian Award. (Source: Terry Fox Humanitarian Award) Maryam Al-Sabawi (L) and Machaila Wesch-Dawson (R) will receive scholarships as part of the terry Fox Humanitarian Award. (Source: Terry Fox Humanitarian Award)

Two London students are on the 2024 list of 14 people from across Canada being bestowed the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.

The scholarship is awarded annually to, "Students who exemplify the humanitarian ideals of Terry Fox by volunteering and giving back to their communities."

As outlined on the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award website, the maximum value of the award is $28,000 dispersed over four years.

A stipend of $7,000 is issued directly to the institution each year in two installments of up to $3,500, one in September and one in January.

Installments are sent directly to the university or college to cover tuition fees. Any money left over is to be used for other educational expenses such as textbooks.


Maryam Al-Sabawi 

Maryam Al-Sabawi is 17 years old and is in her senior year at Saint André Bessette Catholic Secondary School. Leading with compassion, determination and integrity, Maryam is committed to combating Islamophobia through education and advocacy. As a visible Muslim, Maryam has experienced Islamophobia firsthand, with fears intensified after losing a close friend and family to a hate crime.

Maryam has emerged as a community leader, and is founder of the Youth Coalition combating Islamophobia (YCCI) where she tirelessly works to create a safer and more inclusive environment.

Through her humanitarian efforts, Maryam has inspired tangible change, displaying resilience and courage beyond her years. Through Islamic Relief Canada, Maryam has been able to make an impact abroad in trips to Bosnia, Turkey, and South Africa.

Maryam explains, “It was during my most vulnerable moments that I decided that fear would not cripple me, nor define me. I realized that I cannot control what happens to me, but I can control how I choose to respond.”

Maryam plans to study Governance, Leadership, and Ethics at Huron University College.   

(Source: Terry Fox Humanitarian Award)

Machaila Wesch-Dawson

As an advocate for change, Machaila’s journey is one of triumph over adversity. Confronting bullying and a lack of support at school during her formative years, she battled depression, sparking her passion for student mental health advocacy. Faced with these challenges, this aspiring Olympian demonstrated resilience, excelling in an array of sports including speed skating, cross country/track and field, and triathlon as well as participating in theatre and improvisation.

Her dedication to athletics is paralleled by her commitment to academic excellence and community service. Beyond the realm of sports, Machaila actively supports marginalized groups and champions mental health awareness. Her community involvement also extends to efforts supporting her love for animals and the environment.

With unwavering resolve and kindness, Machaila emerges as an inspiring role model and humanitarian. Her accomplishments in academia, athletics and volunteerism exemplify her exceptional character and dedication to making a difference.

Machaila shares, ”I am someone who loves and dedicates her life to sport, while also having a passion for helping those around me and those in my community. I find the most fulfillment where these two passions meet.” Through humanitarian efforts, she hopes to continue to promote good mental and physical health by encouraging more young girls to become and remain involved in sports.

Machaila graduated from École Secondaire Monseigneur Bruyère in London, Ontario. She will continue to pursue her athletic goals concurrently with a degree in biology at Université Laval. She hopes to work towards a PhD in marine biology after her undergraduate studies. 

(Source: Terry Fox Humanitarian Award) Top Stories

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