By RON FANFAIR
A 2007 Caribana scholarship winner, who passed away hours after being airlifted from Cancun, Mexico, where she suffered a severe asthma attack and cardiac arrest, will be laid to rest today, Thursday.
Victoria George-Pazzano died nine days ago at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. She was on vacation with her husband, Dylan and five-year-old son, Isaac, when she fell seriously ill on April 22 at a resort outside Cancun.
Her family claims they faced delays in getting her back to Toronto earlier because of swine flu concerns. Dylan Pazzano said his wife was taken to Peterborough by ambulance after arriving home more than a week ago because the couple’s insurance company said there were no other open intensive care beds in the province.
George-Pazzano was one of the recipients of the Caribana/Yorkgate Mall Think Scholarship two years ago when Caribana celebrated its 40th anniversary. She was presented with the award at the mall shortly after the annual Kiddies Carnival parade.
“She was there with her husband and young son,” recalled scholarship chair, Colin Benjamin. “Victoria was one of our most impressive recipients and she presented herself very well. I was very impressed with the body of her work and the community service aspect of it.
“I remember just after we made the presentation, she was featured in a local community paper, reading for some young people at the library near Fairview Mall. I could not help but feeling that we made the right choice in awarding her a scholarship because she was representing her community so well. It’s such a tragedy that a young person of such immense talent has been taken away from us so soon. She had a lot to offer.”
A market researcher in Toronto, George-Pazzano graduated from Pickering High School and Seneca College. In November 2007, she captured several individual awards at the Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition (OCMC) in London. The event attracted nearly 300 marketing students from 16 provincial colleges.
The 29-year-old Toronto resident placed first in the job interview category and captured the William and Margarett Lydiatt award which recognizes a student from a participating college who has demonstrated exceptional spirit in the weeks leading up to the OCMC event. She was also presented with the Yahoo Canada Award of Excellence for her brilliant performance during the two-day competition.
George-Pazzano also contributed to the Seneca College Markham campus newsletter.