Nadia Chaudhri — a Concordia professor, neuroscientist, mother and wife — will be remembered as much for how she lived as for how she fearlessly shared her final days on Twitter and with media.
Chaudhri passed away on October 5, 2021, more than a year after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
After making her terminal diagnosis public in 2020, she amassed over 148,000 Twitter followers by sharing her most intimate moments. She also leveraged the social media platform to provide insights on her struggles — and triumphs — with the world.
“Help me shake my booty to raise funds for the Nadia Chaudhri Wingspan Award,” she tweeted at the outset of her record-breaking fundraiser.
The 43-year-old spent her last weeks at the McGill University Health Centre’s palliative-care ward rallying support for minority and historically marginalized students in neuroscience.
Chaudhri gathered unprecedented support for her student award by signing up for Shuffle 32, Concordia’s annual walkathon, pledging to walk in the palliative-care ward for as long as she could. “Your donations and love are giving me wings,” she tweeted.
Chaudhri’s cause raised $655,000 from a record number of donors.
“Nadia was a force of nature. She was an incredibly talented researcher with a passion for teaching and student success matched only by her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Concordia President Graham Carr.
“She enriched us. Our entire community grieves her death and offers deeply heartfelt condolences to her son, Reza, and husband, Moni — whom she lovingly called her Sun and Moon — her family, friends, colleagues and the thousands of supporters who embraced her cause.”
Chaudhri openly shared her story on Twitter and with media to advocate for better screening for ovarian cancer, as well as for increased funding for research and treatment.
A lasting legacy
As an advocate for emerging scholars from diverse backgrounds, Chaudhri launched the Nadia Chaudhri Wingspan Award at Concordia to provide vital funding to behavioural neuroscientists unable to fully participate in the field due to prejudice and other systemic barriers.
The annual scholarship will support neuroscientists from underrepresented backgrounds and will enable diverse scholars to achieve their fullest potential while helping to shape future neuroscience research.