Following years of sacrifice, including a six-month stint separated from her young children and husband, and months of worrying over test results, Dr. Ghaida Radhi, 42, has proven she’s one tough, and smart, cookie.
Radhi was recently awarded the Irwin Bean College of Family Physicians of Canada (CCFP) Examination Award for achieving the highest standing among practice-eligible candidates in the CFPC’s Certification Examination in Family Medicine. In layman’s terms, that means Radhi got the highest marks of anyone in Canada in her program, which sees International doctors practice under Canadian doctors, in her case Dr. Glenn Fedor of Williams Lake, in an effort to be certified and work in Canada.
“It still kind of feels like a dream,” said Radhi who, along with her husband, Basem, made the decision to move from their home country of Bahrain near Saudi Arabia in 2016 to Canada for more opportunities and a better future for their young children, Layan, 13, Abdullah, 9, and Mohamed, 6.
“It was a lot of sacrifice, a lot. I still remember the night I left them,” Radhi said, overcome with emotion at the memory. “It was hard.”
Radhi was chosen over several candidates for the program following a telephone interview with Dr. Fedor, who sponsored her.
“I immediately fell in love with Williams Lake over the phone,” she said.
Radhi left Bahrain at the beginning of 2016. Her children followed in July of that year, and then her husband.
Radhi spent almost a year in Canada without being able to work awaiting paperwork to practice medicine here and then, the worry over passing the necessary tests. Her husband, an accountant in Bahrain, also felt the strain of the move.
“There was a lot of pressure. He would ask me if you don’t pass what are we going to do? There’s no Plan B.”
Now that Radhi has not only passed her tests, but received the highest marks, she feels a weight has been lifted off her shoulders and the family is settling nicely into life in Williams Lake.
Basem has found a job bookkeeping for United Floors, while the boys attend Chilcotin Road Elementary School and Layan is at Columneezta. Last weekend, they spent an afternoon putting Christmas decorations outside their home in the lakecity, a community they have grown very fond of.
“We love it. It’s perfect. Perfect size, a lot of outdoor activities, everyone’s so nice and kind. Everyone wants to help, work is good. I can do a lot, because we are rural we do a lot for our patients so you just feel that you don’t lose your skills, that you actually develop new skills because you have to do that for people,” said Radhi, who has undergone additional training in oncology to be able to offer more services to patients.
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“Getting the diagnosis of cancer is not easy, and then if you have to do your chemo away from your family, that’s hard. So at least I feel if I can help them here, and they can stay home and get their chemo in Williams Lake, that’s just such a rewarding feeling.”
Radhi said she also feels very supported by her colleagues and Interior Health.
“Every single thing you want to do, they support you. They’re happy, because they know it will benefit the community.”
The family has no plans of ever leaving Williams Lake, she added.