November | Dr. Tammy Gafoor
JETELOVE’S MONTREALER OF THE MONTH- NOVEMBER
Dr. Tammy Gafoor, Pediatric Emergency Doctor / Philanthropist & Breast Cancer Survivor.
JETELOVE chose to highlight a truly inspiring Montrealer; A Breast Cancer Survivor, Pediatric Emergency Doctor at the MUHC’s Pediatric Institution, Philanthropist and all around real life wonder woman, Dr Tammy Gafoor.
We had the pleasure of catching up with this driven & inspiring beauty on an October evening over a mocktail or two in downtown Montreal where she resides.
Her passion for medicine goes way back to when she was as young as 7 years old when she received a Fisher Price Dr set. Caring for and treating those in need seemed to have been her calling. At the age of 10, she read the book “Gifted Hands” by Dr. Ben Carson that inspired her to pursue a lifelong career in medicine. Dr. Carson came from inner city Detroit and was the first Doctor in history that was able to successfully separate twins who were conjoined at the head. The more she learnt about the field of medicine and each new life experience served to reinforce that this was the profession she wanted to pursue.
She earned numerous accolades in her academic career, receiving McGill University’s prestigious J.W McConnell Entrance Scholarship, having graduated from McGill amongst the top students in her class. She pursued her residency in Pediatrics followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She always knew that she wanted to practice Pediatric Medicine; being drawn to the incredible innocence, resilience and strength of children.
This native Montrealer is the Director of the Pediatric Advanced Life Support Resuscitation Program for the McGill University Health Center as well as the Assistant Director for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Disaster Planning Program. In April, she also launched a social media parent/patient educational support program on Instagram called WTF which stands for: “When To Freak” (@doctor.tammyg) where she provides various tips and advice for parents who are faced with different medical situations. If we were to list all of her accomplishments in this article, no doubt that we would run out of space!
Dr. Tammy spoke candidly about her journey thus far, being diagnosed with breast cancer amidst the pandemic on April 28th, 2022 and how it completely transformed her life. She said that she has always believed that time is the currency of life, and that wealth is the ability to spend that time with those whom we love most in this world. Cancer served as a powerful reminder for Dr. Tammy to cherish each and every moment with her loved ones, to be present in her present and to use the gift of time to impact the world for the better. She got emotional reliving the moment she found the lump, the moment she went in for imaging, obliged to be alone due to Covid restrictions. She said that when she saw the images on the screen, she immediately knew that it didn’t look good. Her adored husband Dr. Olumide Adeleye whom she refers to as her angel on earth, and her family and close friends were by her side every single step of the way. She recalls getting that dreaded call from her family doctor, and walking us through her treatment journey which included 6 chemotherapy sessions, surgery, 20 sessions of radiation & immunotherapy. Life changing to say the least.
JETELOVE asked: “What was the hardest part for you during that period? She replied: “Not being able to go to work, to do the job I love and care for my patients. I cried on February 13th when I came back to work, I was so happy to be healthy and back doing what I love.”
We asked Dr. Gafoor: “What message do you have for all of the incredibly brave women currently fighting the fight of their lives to beat Breast Cancer?”. She replied: “That we were built for this, it won’t be easy but women were built to endure hard things, keep going, one foot in front of the other, and remember that every day is a gift. Not everyone will be cured of cancer, but everyone can be healed of it, one moment at a time.”
JETELOVE asked: “How can we raise awareness to ensure that women get screened regularly for Breast Cancer?” Dr Tammy said: “There shouldn’t only be one month a year devoted to Breast Cancer awareness. It should be a government funded campaign which goes on all year. The government has a responsibility to educate and spread awareness, after all, 1 in 8 women will receive a Breast Cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.”
Her personal journey inspired her to found More Than A Cure, a non-profit organization with its mission to support underprivileged, underrepresented and marginalized women who are living with breast cancer. Direct financial aid is offered as well as education, advocacy, wellness workshops and a tight support group so they feel empowered and know that they are not alone. Dr Tammy, along with 16 other incredible and driven board members spreadhead this foundation. This past September, they raised an impressive 53,000$ in their very first fundraising event, all of which will be allotted to deserving women. Many of whom were obliged to quit their jobs as a result of their diagnosis in order to receive treatment. More Than a Cure believes strongly that no woman who is fighting for their life should ever have to ask themselves the question: “ Can I afford to survive”.
We asked: “What do you find the most challenging on the day to day?” She replied: “Balancing it all & making sure to prioritize my health, and time enjoying my family and friends. It can be a lot sometimes, but it is all so worth it.”
“What is the favorite part of your job and why?” we asked. “My patients, the children, they inspire me on the day to day, their resilience and strength is truly admirable.”
JETELOVE asked: “Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?” “Alive & healthy, I’d love to start a family and to grow the More Than a Cure Community to a national level, to continue to educate people and the community while working in a profession that truly is my calling and my passion. To wake up every morning and believe in the beauty and power of my dreams” she said.
Thank you Dr. Tammy for being a driving force for advocacy, education and giving back all while looking absolutely flawless! #ontelove
A portion of all November JETELOVE sales will proudly be donated to the More Than a Cure Foundation.
You can reach Dr. Tammy on Instagram @doctor.tammyg @ tammy__gafoor @morethanacure