OMSA Student of the Month of January 2014 - Amanda Kelsall

  • Posted on: 31 January 2014
  • By: OMSA Admin

Amanda Lee Kelsall (February 16th, 1991 – January 5th, 2014), from Horseshoe Valley, Ontario was a second year medical student (Class of 2016) at the University of Ottawa.

Amanda attended Eastview Secondary School in Barrie, Ontario where she graduated with honours, excelling in both academics and athletics, and was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal and Eastview Character Athlete of the Year. Amanda then enrolled at Queen's University in Kingston, completed a BSc in chemistry, and received early acceptance into medicine during her third year of undergraduate studies. Her brilliance, dedication, and hard work were clearly reflected at graduation with a perfect cumulative GPA of 4.3/4.3, as well as numerous scholarships, awards, and prizes for highest standing in several undergraduate courses.

Amanda was a young woman of substance with a heart of pure gold. Her enthusiasm, passion, dedication, poise, kindness, and faith brought so much joy and comfort to all those who knew her. To her friends, and classmates, she will always be the loving, bright woman with exceptional organizational skills, remarkable optimism, beautiful iPad notes, a warm smile, and an elegant sense of style. Even before stepping into her role as a medical student, it was clear that Amanda had already mastered the learned compassion and leadership expected of a seasoned medical professional. Amanda embodied the true essence of "wisdom beyond her years", and it became quickly apparent that the University of Ottawa would learn more from Amanda than it could ever strive to teach her. It was evident that Amanda was destined to achieve greatness in all she touched, and her career in medicine was no exception to this rule.

Amanda was an active member of the University of Ottawa medical student community. She was a leader of the Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS) – Ottawa Chapter and had an intrinsic passion for helping others. This was demonstrated through her involvement in the Refugee Health Initiative where she developed a long-term relationship with a refugee family while helping them integrate into the Canadian community. Furthermore, during the summer of 2013, Amanda went on a mission to Ghana, Africa where she spent 6 weeks working in medical and community settings.

In addition to her drive for excellence, Amanda had a true zest for life, was genuinely excited for each day, and brought so much enthusiasm and goofiness to every situation. She performed in the annual MedShow, held by U of O first-year medical students to raise funds for the class charity. She also loved to run, tirelessly training for and completing several half marathons in Ottawa.

On January 5th, Amanda passed away in a tragic car accident on her way back to Ottawa after the holiday break. There are no words to describe how much she will be missed. She brought so much brightness to the MD2016 class that can never be replaced. Her death is a true loss to her family, friends, faculty, future patients, and the national and international medical community. Amanda will always be remembered as an exceptional friend, a brilliant colleague, and an extraordinary physician in-training. As stated numerous times at her funeral and at her memorial at the U of O Faculty of Medicine: In a world of "go-getters", Amanda was a "go-giver". She has left behind a legacy of love and will remain a source of inspiration and strength to her 163 MD2016 friends.

In conjunction with the Kelsall family's wishes, and to honor her memory and pay tribute to Amanda, a fund was created in her name. The Amanda Kelsall Fund will be used to financially support Undergraduate MD students at the University of Ottawa. The Fund was deemed "perpetual" within the first two weeks after her funeral service, indicating the incredible impact she has already had on so many!