Zumba Fitness ® Fundraiser In Memory of Sonia Varaschin

This post is by Marija Bojic:

My name is Marija Bojic and I am an immigrant woman from former Yogoslavia. I came to Canada desiring peaceful life, education, and a better life for my family.

As I was leaving the war- torn country, I thought that witnessing such tragedies as friends and family being brutally killed was going to come to an end. Losing several family members and several friends including my very close friend Zrinko left me with a lot of fear for my loved ones.

After coming to Canada, finishing the Nursing School and getting my dream job, I met Sonia who I regarded to be the loveliest person I met in a long time.

She worked hard, was always honest and understanding of others. She had strength to advocate for people who were not able to advocate for themselves. She was always on the side of vulnerable people (immigrants, people living in poverty, single mothers, people who did not speak English well or were not familiar with Canadian health care system).

We used to go out together, dancing, shopping….

I was planning Zumba ®Fitness party for September and Sonia was thrilled to RSVP to attend. “Finally, I can dance and not be dependent on finding a partner. I can dance on my own terms!” She was excited to come all the way from Orangeville to this event.

One afternoon in August of 2010, I was watching TV when I saw that she was pronounced to be missing. The way the scene was described did not give a lot of hope that she would ever be found alive. After a week, her body was discovered.

This incident was very disturbing to me and had brought back many of my memories from Sarajevo. I left my home without many memories (such as pictures) of my lost loved ones. I felt alone and helpless yet one more time.

But this time, I decided to create a memory for Sonia.

I spent many days thinking what to do and how to do it. One day,the  idea came to my mind that I could organize a memorial scholarship through Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

The event would be a mix of Zumba ® Fitness and dance , which would be dedicated to remembering Sonia. I also found that organizing this event helped me with grieving process.

There were (and still are) good days and bad days; days when I feel hopeful that violence will stop to exist; there are days when I feel vulnerable, afraid for my loved ones and insecure of the safety in this world.

The event took place on February 4th 2012, and it was a great success.

It was supported by her Sonia’s family, the public, nursing organizations and Zumba ® Instructors. This event was regarded to be an act of kindness and acknowledgement of Sonia’s life, as well as creating lasting legacy in her memory.

Registered Nurses Foundation supports Ontario nurses in pursuit of their academic work as well as knowledge advancement. The scholarship in Memory of Sonia will focus on supporting nurses who are through their academic work involved in projects related to healthy work environments. That is, focusing on a culture grounded in respect and equity in workplace. That is the work-life that Sonia enjoyed and advocated for.

The next Fundraiser is scheduled for February 23rd 2012, 6pm, at St Michael College School. We are looking forwards to executing yet another fundraiser for this great cause.
For more information, please visit
http://inmemoryofsonia.com/  or,
http://zumbaclassesintoronto.com/zumba-r-fitness-fundraiser-in-memory-of-sonia-varaschin

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