From sacrifice to success: Dr. Lakshman Gunaratnam named finalist for the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award for 2015

When Dr. Lakshman Gunaratnam and his family first arrived in Montreal, Quebec in 1985, they had very few personal belongings and did not speak any French, the official language of the province.

Despite the difficulties they faced, Dr. Gunaratnam’s parents knew they made the right decision. They fled civil unrest in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, in order to give their two children the opportunity to have life filled of happiness and success in Canada.

Since then, Dr. Gunaratnam has had much success in his career as a kidney transplant physician, research scientist, and assistant professor in Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Departments of Medicine, and Microbiology and Immunology. His lab focuses on acute kidney injury and renal transplantation, with the goal of finding a solution to prolong the lifespan of transplanted organs.

Dr. Gunaratnam’s most recent success, however, is being named a finalist for the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award for 2015.

He said he feels deeply honoured and humbled to be considered amongst hundreds of other Canadian immigrants who have achieved incredible things.

“I am proud to be an immigrant Canadian because Canada does not just allow people to escape from religious or political persecution, but also provides multiple opportunities for immigrants such as myself to achieve great things,” he explained. “When I arrived here, I soon realized that if I worked really hard I would be able to reach my goals.”

Dr. Gunaratnam said people should vote for him if they feel he embodies what it means to be a “new Canadian”, and if they believe his achievements contribute significantly to society.

Winning one of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards for 2015 would mean a tremendous amount to Dr. Gunaratnam, because it would be an acknowledgment of his achievements and motivate him to push harder.

“Winning this would also recognize the support and contributions that many people have made in my life to allow me to get where I am today,” he said. “My parents have sacrificed tremendously to bring me to this point, and they continue to do so to this day.”

Given in partnership by Canadian Immigrant Magazine and RBC Royal Bank, the Award is the first Canadian national award program to recognize immigrants’ achievements from all walks of life. Dr. Gunaratnam was chosen as one of 75 finalists from more than 650 nominees.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Gunaratnam, and to vote for him for the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award for 2015. Voting ends May 11, 2015.