The 3rd Annual Zoomer List (2012): Canada’s Top 45 over 45. Here, the editors of Zoomer magazine bring you those who, in the last year, have made a difference in their chosen fields and passions while improving our lives and that of our country.

1. Sherry Abbott, 53

Cancer Care Advocate. In 1992, she was a 32-year-old cosmetic executive who was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. She fought the disease and won but during her time as a cancer patient, she witnessed a gap in care for women living with the disease. Thanks in large part to Abbott’s dedication to filling that gap, this fall marks the 20th anniversary of the charitable program, Look Good Feel Better, where women with cancer participate in seminars for makeup and hair application so they can look and feel more like themselves during and after treatment. Established in Canada by the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation, where Abbott currently is executive director, the group also launched the website facingcancer.ca, creating an online community for women to connect, as part of their 2010 program
Facing Cancer Together. “Not only is it my passion, it’s both an honour and a privilege to be part of an organization so dedicated to supporting women at one of the most challenging times of their life because no woman should ever have to face cancer alone.”

2. Paul Alofs, 56

CEO of the Princess  Margaret Hospital Foundation. During his nine years at PMHF – Alofs has brought 25 years of corporate experience – he helped raise $550 million. He’s now spearheading a new campaign to raise $1 billion for research into personalized cancer treatments. His book, Passion Capital, shares his observations on how institutions can harness workers’ energy and intensity. “Passion Capital is a brand new asset class and a new way to think about success. Passion Capital is the energy plus intensity plus sustainability that people of all ages generate when they learn how to ‘put their passion to work.’ ”

3. Charlie Angus, 49

MP, Timmins-James Bay, ONT. Blogging for Huffington Post in November 2011, the NDP MP shocked Canadians with his account of living conditions in Attawapiskat, a remote First Nation reserve in Ontario’s far north. The Timmins, Ont.-born writer documented a visit he had made to the forgotten poverty-stricken community where people lived in shacks,with no plumbing or electricity. His story went viral, and the government was forced to take action. “In a country as rich and as just as Canada, this is simply unacceptable.”

4. Barbara Arrowsmith Young, 61

Founder Arrowsmith Program, author. As a child, she suffered from multiple cognitive defects that caused her to read and write words backwards and left her unable to tell time. The Woman Who Changed Her Brain and Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation tells the story of her incredible journey as she developed cognitive exercises to correct her neurological deficits and then created exercises for cognitive defects. She founded the Arrowsmith School in Toronto, and her program is now used in 40 schools across North America and expanding into Australia. “We can shape our brains through harnessing neuroplasticity, which opens a world of possibilities for people challenged by learning disabilities.”

5. Kehar Singh Aujla, 79

IndispensAble Volunteer. A day after retiring in 2005 (at age 72), he began volunteering in earnest, putting in 40-plus hours weekly, serving nine community organizations – among them are his Sikh temple, the Burnaby Village Museum, Burnaby General Hospital, the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and Volunteer Grandparents. His effort has brought accolades, including the Kushiro Cup as Burnaby’s Citizen of the Year for 2011 and a listing as one of Canadian Immigrant magazine’s Top 25 Immigrants for 2012. He cheekily told the latter: “When I was working, I was a slave to the organization. As a volunteer, they are my servant. They can’t kick me out!”

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