Board of Directors


Our Board of Directors for 2022/2023

Chair

Akila Tavarasa

Akila Tavarasa is the Chair of Life After Stroke where she has served on the Board of Directors since 2021. After joining the organization in February 2021, Akila acted as a liaison between the Board and external stakeholders. During her first term on the Board of Directors, Akila has led several of Life After Stroke’s projects to achieve key milestones including coordinating its first Annual General Meeting, establishing a Grants Council, and restructuring the organization’s Support Group program.

During the new term, Akila looks forward to leading the growth of Life After Stroke’s network and resources.
Future endeavours include acquiring grants to support LAS’ members through the mode of services and scholarships. Additionally, Akila holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Toronto and continues to apply her knowledge while serving in the Public Sector. In her free time, she enjoys discovering new food spots in the city.


Vice Chair

Anjali Gupta

Anjali Gupta is a Sr. Manager, Global Risk Management at Scotiabank. In her current role at Scotiabank, Anjali leads Canadian and International Strategic Provisions Projects for Retail Credit Risk Products. Anjali holds an MBA from Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
A professional engineer, Anjali is a passionate advocate of women’s causes and healthcare. She believes with the grit, perseverance, and a reliable support system; any challenges can be overcome.
Anjali is also Circles Lead for Lean In – Toronto, wherein she manages and supports circles for like-minded professional women in their leadership journey. In the past, Anjali was also a mentor at the Girls in tech Toronto.
Anjali lives in Toronto with her husband and two toddlers. When not working, Anjali can be seen enjoying the outdoors with her family. Her other interests include reading, tuning into Podcasts, and exploring fun baking recipes for her family.


Secretary

Kasthuri Packiyanathan

Kasthuri Packiyanathan is an undergraduate from the University of Toronto with a double major in English and Women & Gender Studies. Kasthuri also has completed her Bachelor of Professional Studies degree the University of Niagara and is Ontario Licenced Teacher. After teaching elementary for three years and suffering a stroke and other medical complications, Kasthuri has fought hard and has made a great come back. She recently completed her Medical Office Assistant diploma while being home recovering to keep her mind engaged as much as her body with her recovery. Kasthuri also recently self-published her first poetry book on Amazon entitled “Butterfly Wings” which is a poetic expression of her journey; it includes poetry describing love, pain and learning to believe again.

Kasthuri joined Life After Stroke in January of 2022 as administrative assistant and working towards becoming the Secretary in June. Kasthuri’s personal survivor story is what inspired her to join the organization and to her administration skills to use while sharing her story. She wants to inspire others and help Life After Stroke reach new height in the coming year.


Treasurer

Ala Ramahi

Ala Ramahi is an Associate Portfolio Manager for a Toronto-based investment firm where he helps wealthy families and non-profit organizations grow and protect their wealth. He joined the board of LAS in July of 2022 as the Treasurer. In his role, Ala is responsible for maintaining the finances of the organization as well as working with the Chair and Vice-Chair to develop budgeting plans and fundraising initiatives.

Outside of work and leisure, Ala is passionate about giving back to society through various charitable efforts. After learning about Saj’s story and the support that LAS provides young stroke survivors, Ala became inspired to join the organization using his expertise in finance and accounting.
In his spare time, Ala enjoys seeing friends and family, travel and an active lifestyle. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from the University of Waterloo and is a CFA Charter holder.


Public Relations

Rahul Desai

Rahul Desai is an undergraduate, Health Science student at the University of Waterloo. Rahul is an aspiring physician who has a passion for improving the lives of others. He advocates for better access to care and for reducing inequalities that exist in the healthcare system.

Furthermore, Rahul is involved in learning the different aspects of care through his co-ops and volunteering experience at University Health Network, Sunnybrook Health Science Center and Scarborough Health Network. Besides his passion for learning and helping others, Rahul loves connecting with nature by visiting trails, parks and open spaces throughout the city, province and country.

Rahul joined Life After Stroke in early August 2021, as a social media coordinator. Rahul was inspired by the dedication of the organization and its members, in providing unprecedented support to young brain injury survivors. Furthermore, through his work on social media, he has learned to reach a larger audience and bring awareness of the programs and support LAS provides. He is proud to be the youngest board member as Director of Public Relations and strives to expand LAS’s online footprint.


Past Directors

Amanda Carnahan – Treasurer

Amanda is an Executive Assistant with 20+ years of administrative, office manager and legal experience. She joined the young stroke  survivor community at the age of 38 after suffering an acute ischemic stroke.

Laavanya Dharmakulaseelan – Chair

Dr. Laavanya Dharmakulaseelan is a neurology resident physician at the University of Toronto. Laavanya is an aspiring stroke neurologist who has a passion for advocating for patients with neurological disease, both within and outside of a clinical setting.

Saj headshot

Sajeevan “Saj” Eswarakumar – Founder; Chair; Public Relations

Sajeevan Eswarakumar, more commonly known as Saj, is the founder and first survivor of Life After Stroke. Saj originally started Life After Stroke as a personal blog to share his road to recovery after surviving a stroke in 2012.  

Dr. Prasaanthan (Prasa) Gopee-Ramanan – Vice-Chair

Dr. Prasaanthan (Prasa) Gopee-Ramanan is a diagnostic radiologist who completed his medical education and residency training at McMaster University. Having known Saj for decades, Prasa was inspired by his ability to overcome a mountain of challenges in his life.

Athanasious (Tom) Nous – Public Relations

Athanasious Nous, also known as Tom, is a trained paramedic who has dealt with and advocated for those affected by stroke and acquired brain injuries (AIBI) in a professional capacity. It is through Tom’s work and relationship with Saj—who he has known since first moving to Canada—that the experiences and issues of young stroke survivors hit close to home.

James Pyo – Treasurer; Vice Chair

James is an urban planner with a Master of Environmental Studies (MES) from York University. He has always enjoyed riding his bike, playing guitar, and walking his beloved dog Digsy. He joined the stroke survivor community after a slo-pitch accident unexpectedly led to a brain bleed with stroke-like symptoms.

Jeevitha (Gina) Srighanthan – Secretary

Jeevitha (Gina) Srighanthan completed her Masters degree in Epidemiology at Queens University. The success of YBIS is close to her heart as she is Saj’s cousin and had the chance to see his amazing recovery journey.