Giving back to honour a beloved daughter’s memory

Yasaman Salehi
Yasaman Salehi

Yasaman Salehi was an occupational therapist whose kind and generous heart touched many lives. Whether it was helping a schoolmate with an assignment or supporting a client at the Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, she was always looking out for others.

Now a community of friends, family and colleagues is in mourning. On January 22, as Ms. Salehi was returning home from work, she was struck by a public transit bus in downtown Montreal. She later died in hospital, aged 27.

“My daughter was a giver,” says her mother, Laleh Tajrobehkar. “She was full of life. Her dream was to help others.”

To honour the memory of their daughter, who was widely known as Yassi, Ms. Salehi’s parents launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Food Banks Canada. They have already more than doubled their goal of $27,000, an amount that was chosen “to reflect the 27 years of happiness and joy that Yassi brought to this world.”

Ms. Salehi grew up in Montreal, obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at McGill University before completing a Master’s degree in occupational therapy at the University of Toronto. She returned to Montreal last year to live with her boyfriend, and joined the Technical Aids Service at Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay in November. “She was very excited by the job,” her mother says. “She said she had all the support she needed, and everyone was so helpful.”

Despite the short time she spent at CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, Ms. Salehi made an impression on her colleagues.

“She was hard-working, bright and full of potential. But what set her apart was her positive attitude,” says Catalina Estevez, Program Manager of the Technical Aids Service at Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay. “She was always smiling, always happy, and was a very positive person. We lost a genuinely kind and beautiful person, inside and out.”

Ms. Salehi’s parents are still seeking answers about the accident that cost their daughter’s life. In the meantime, they are taking solace from the outpouring of sympathy they have received, including a letter of condolence from our CIUSSS.

Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, and Francine Dupuis, Associate CEO, wrote to them that Ms. Salehi’s passing “touched all of us,” and she would be deeply missed.

“It is tragic to have lost Ms. Salehi at such a young age and on the threshold of such a promising career as an occupational therapist,” Dr. Rosenberg and Ms. Dupuis said in their letter. “Her commitment to the clients and staff of the Technical Aids Service was a reflection of her selfless spirit and her genuine desire to help others, especially those in society who require an extra measure of support.”

Ms. Tajrobehkar says that a fundraiser to feed those in need would have been heartily embraced by her daughter, whose own charity and volunteer work included visiting patients at the Montreal Neurological Institute and handing out Christmas baskets at Sun Youth. “She would be jumping up and down,” her mother says. “I know what her values were. She would have wanted it to happen.”

You can make a donation in Yasaman Salehi’s memory.