Sanjha Vehra is an international women’s association. Sanjha Vehra, meaning “common courtyard,” has been in operation since 2002. It began with a group of women who started a “kitty party,” which they decided to continue each month…but with a specific purpose. The Sanjha Vehra will now exclusively support the Surrey Hospital & Outpatient Centre Foundation. A kitty party in India and Pakistan is a party usually organized by women. Kitty refers to the funds collected at the party, and every member contributes a certain sum of money each month.

At these kitty parties, Sanjha Vehra provides a safe and inviting place for South Asian women to meet together to exchange ideas and discuss issues relating to their participation in Canadian Society. They continue to meet monthly to discuss how to advance the purposes of the organization.

There are now Sanjha Vehra associations in Edmonton, Mississippi and Dallas. All four chapters meet on the same day. They also discuss the same topics to ensure the values and goals of the associations remain aligned. The Surrey chapter has grown from 10 members to more than 100, while the Edmonton, Mississippi and Dallas groups have about half that number.

In 2005, the Sanjha Vehra began its annual event in support of raising funds to help breast cancer research. Five of the founding members of the Sanjha Vehra Women’s Association were diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Every year since then, the Association continues fundraising as a tribute to these survivors. This fundraising event is always held in October.

Sanjha Vehra approached the Surrey Hospital & Outpatient Centre Foundation in 2013 with a donation totaling $25,000 which they contributed towards the purchase of the SPY Elite Camera for the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre’s Breast Health Clinic. The SPY Imaging Elite Camera provides comfort and relief to women undergoing breast reconstruction surgery after cancer treatment. It allows the surgeon to see inside the tissues to verify healthy blood  flow of the skin and surrounding tissues. SPY helps to diagnose breast implant possibility at the time of breast removal instead of waiting few weeks after the surgery. This reduces post-operative infections by more than 50 per cent and other complications by 90 per cent.

Fast facts about the Breast Health Clinic:

  • The clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre sees about 575 patients each month (6,900 annually);
  • 350 of these women will be new referrals from a family doctor because a lump or other breast abnormality has been found or because of an abnormal screening mammogram result;
  • In 2014, 23 per cent of patients were 40 years old or under;
  • Between June 2011 and June 2015, 51,000 patients have had appointments (including clinical exams, follow-ups, imaging and biopsies);
  • Close to 50 per cent of patients will receive a definitive diagnosis within one week. Another 27 per cent will receive a diagnosis within four weeks; and,
  • 311 patients were diagnosed with cancer in 2014.