Board of Directors

Returning Directors

Director of PR

Sajeevan Eswarakumar, more commonly known as Saj

“Leave everything a little bit better than you found it.”

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. What emerged from this experience was a deep passion for serving the  stroke community and helping other survivors like himself share their own stories.  

On top of building a community for Young Brain Injury Survivors (YBIS), Saj has established a  career working in the railroad industry since 2009. Currently, he is a Workblock Planning Officer for Metrolinx, while also serving as a patient partner with the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. Not afraid to rock a fresh pair of sneakers or “shred the gnar” with his  snowboard, Saj is also a self-proclaimed proud Canadian explorer who has filled his life full of  food, coffee and photography. 

Over the past year and a half, Saj has overseen the implementation of numerous LAS initiatives  (including the release of an ongoing Fundscrip fundraising campaign, the inaugural LAS Newsletter and LAS Survivor’s Support Group Meetings), supported the Director of Public Relations in building  a marketing team, supported numerous volunteers in establishing their roles and building a base  foundation, set up various systems of internal processing and management to ensure the  organization operates as per documented SOP processes, liaised with multiple organizations to  increase awareness of LAS and build relationships, contributed as planner and participant of the  LAS Fitness Challenge, and helped lay the foundation for applying for charitable status.


Vice Chairperson

James Pyo

“I’m still standing” – Scarface

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. Yet, he has chosen to continue pushing forward in his life by getting married and planning to start a family with his wife Jessica. He also serves on the TTC Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT). Over the past year, James has spearheaded LAS’ inaugural fitness challenge fundraiser


New Directors

Chairperson

Laavanya Dharmakulaseelan

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. She has been heavily involved in  research in stroke and sleep disorders. Laavanya is a proud dog mom to her morkie, Theo, loves  trying new food in the Greater Toronto Area, and has a small obsession with bubble tea. 

Laavanya joined LAS with the purpose of engaging with young brain injury survivors to learn more  about their personal obstacles and to find ways to support their recovery. She initially served as a  liaison between LAS and the Tamil Association of Residents and Medical Students (TARMS) and  most recently was the Editor-in-Chief for the LAS newsletter.


Secretary

Akila Tavarasa

Akila Tavarasa is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, where she completed her  Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology. She is passionate about supporting young  stroke survivors as she has witnessed firsthand the impact of a brain injury on one’s life. 

Akila joined Life After Stroke’s team in February 2021, where she has provided administrative  support throughout the organization. In this role, she acts as a liaison between the board of  directors, monitors communications through email and supports the management of records.  Akila has contributed to recent milestones for LAS by coordinating its first Annual General  Meeting. She continues to look forward to the growth and success of the community and is  excited to support the organization from a board level.


Treasurer

Amanda Carnahan

“Live for Each second, without hesitation” – Elton John

Amanda is an Executive Assistant with 20+ years of administrative, office manager and legal  experience. For her part time job, she acts as the Chair of the Parents Association for her  children’s dance school, managing and overseeing fundraisers. She joined the young stroke  survivor community at the age of 38 after suffering an acute ischemic stroke caused from an  unknown heart defect. This life altering event caused Amanda to take a look at her life and  readjust her priorities without fear. Amanda participated as a fundraising coordinator in the  inaugural Life After Stroke Fitness Challenge and was the highest fundraiser. 

In her spare time, she enjoys camping with her husband, two children and FOUR dogs, and  mastering yoga! And she is a die-hard Elton John fan.


Past Directors

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

Dr. Prasaanthan (Prasa) Gopee-Ramanan is a diagnostic radiologist who completed his medical education and residency training at McMaster University and is undertaking subspecialty training at the University of Toronto. Prasa is passionate about translating his skills from clinical settings to advocacy and social engagement. Having known LAS Chair Saj for decades, Prasa was inspired by his ability to overcome a mountain of challenges in his life. Through the work done by LAS, Prasa hopes to contribute in a meaningful way to improving support for YBIS.

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 chairman & founder Saj—who he has known since first moving to Canada—that the experiences and issues of young stroke survivors hit close to home. All of this has led Tom to managing PR for Life After Stroke, where he is looking forward to working with a humbling team of talent and bringing about positive change for those struggling with the aftermath of the crippling issues of stroke/AIBI.

Outside of his professional life, Tom is a martial arts enthusiast and dog lover who appreciates a freshly brewed cup of coffee to start his day and always seeks an exciting adventure in the backcountry.

Jeevitha (Gina) Srighanthan – Secretary

Jeevitha (Gina) Srighanthan completed her Masters degree in Epidemiology at Queens University. She is currently working as a Research Associate at the Toronto General Hospital and has 10 years of experience in clinical research. She has various publications related to mental health, osteoporosis, and health equity, including in JAMA. 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. She is looking forward to continuing to be part of this important initiative on a larger scale.