At Scarborough Health Network (SHN), you’re not a number, you’re a neighbour – a neighbour of people like Dr. Ying Lu, who has volunteered at organizations across the world and right here in Scarborough – the place she calls home – for 20 years.

Celebrating her outstanding commitment and dedication to service for the people of Scarborough and beyond, Dr. Lu received a Ontario Volunteer Service Award on October 29.

“I believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to make this world a better place,” said Dr. Lu, whose excellence and expertise attracts patients from as far away as China. “It’s my pleasure and I enjoy my work.”

Locally, Dr. Lu volunteers at Carefirst Seniors & Community Services Association, a respected community partner of SHN, where she provides eye care for seniors and is an honorary advisor for the Board of Directors. Dr. Lu has also been teaching ophthalmology to medical students at the University of Toronto (U of T) since 2007.

For the last four years, Dr. Lu worked to help secure a $500,000 private donation to fund two top-of-the-line ophthalmic surgical microscopes for the Eye Centre at SHN’s Birchmount hospital, as well as renovating the Eye Center, which is the regional centre of excellence for eye care.

Nationally, Dr. Lu sits on the Board of the Action Canadian Chinese Together Foundation, which supports Chinese-Canadian leaders committed to creating a more equitable society in Canada. In addition, Dr. Lu volunteers for Asian Business Network, with a focus on leadership development, cultural events, and major fundraising activities for various hospitals, charities, and the Canadian Cancer Society.

 Internationally, Dr. Lu is a medical volunteer with the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, where she has fundraised, supported the Orbis telethon, and taken a transformative mission to China, teaching local ophthalmologists and operating on patients to restore their vision in a poor and remote community. One patient in particular, an elderly woman Dr. Lu met on the mission trip, helped her deeply appreciate the true value of her profession as an eye surgeon and as a volunteer.

“It was a relatively simple cataract procedure but the local doctors didn’t have access to necessary equipment, and training,” explained Dr. Lu. “When I first met the grandmother, she was crawling on the floor to feel her surroundings. Helping her get her eyesight back was extremely touching, I knew I had changed someone’s life for the better.”