Sanctum 36 Hour Challenge DINNER 2024

Join us on Saturday, June 1st, at TCU Place for a fun and inspiring evening supporting Sanctum Care Group’s fight against homelessness and chronic disease! Enjoy dinner and hear the stories of 10 community leaders who bravely lived homeless for 36 hours.

Your ticket helps fund vital programs for those in need in our community. Join us in making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

2024 Participants

Lawyer, Naidu Legal

Ashala Naidu

Ashala Naidu is the founder of Naidu Legal, a boutique law firm located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ashala’s main practice area is family law but she also has significant experience in real estate, residential tenancies hearings, wills and estate work, and immigration.

As a mixed-race lawyer of East Indian descent, Ashala takes great pride in having a diverse team. Her firm’s mantra is “people helping people”, and Ashala is an advocate for disadvantaged and marginalized people residing throughout Saskatoon.

Ashala has participated on a number of boards and community initiatives. She is currently the Chair of the Canadian Bar Association (Saskatchewan Branch) Family Law section, as well as a board member with DTNYXE.

Ashala and her husband Depesh Parmar are proud parents to two busy children, Ava (14) and Dev (6). Ashala enjoys running, spending time on the beach, reading, and spending time with family.


I have frequently found myself representing clients in court who face significant challenges with addictions, inadequate support, intergenerational challenges, homelessness/transient lifestyles, illness and disease, and lack of resources to attend court such as lack of telephones, transportation, appropriate court attire, and even things like identification and communication tools. Being a part of a homeless challenge will be both humbling and eye opening on what members of our community face.


Head of the Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

Erika Penz

Erika Penz is Head of the Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She is a teacher, clinician researcher and practicing adult Respirologist in Saskatoon.

She lives in Saskatoon with her husband, 2 daughters and 2 Labrador retrievers, Theo and Sully. 

“As a mom of 2 girls, I remember vividly the feelings of love, angst, vulnerability and exhaustion during my pregnancy and following delivery of my girls. These intense feelings remained present despite my stable job with maternity benefits, a caring partner and family, and access to excellent public health supports from a health system where I was not afraid of harm or mistrust.  This privilege should not be mine alone nor be an impossible reality for some.  I believe in the goodness of Sanctum Care Group and particularly, Sanctum 1.5 and I am taking on this 36-hour challenge as part of my own personal journey to Truth and Reconciliation and to support and raise awareness of their critical work.”


I believe in the goodness of Sanctum Care Group and particularly, Sanctum 1.5 and I am taking on this 36-hour challenge as part of my own personal journey to Truth and Reconciliation and to support and raise awareness of their critical work”.
Professional Title: Associate Professor and Head, Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Saskatchewan


Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Auto Fund (SGI)

JP Cullen

JP joined SGI in August 2018. Since then, he fulfilled several executive leadership roles before being appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Auto Fund in August of 2022.

JP studied at both the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Regina, ultimately achieving a Master of Arts degree. Before joining SGI, he spent most of his career with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health as well as being a lecturer at University of Regina.

JP, his partner Tori and daughter, Brynn, live in Regina with their cat Marvin and dog Poe.


Participating in the Sanctum Challenge will help me to develop a more meaningful understanding of the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness, and to contribute to creating a more compassionate and inclusive society.


Director of Emergency Management, Saskatoon Fire Department

Pamela Goulden-McLeod

Pamela Goulden-McLeod is the Director of Emergency Management with the Saskatoon Fire Department and City of Saskatoon.  

She has experience leading emergency response, business continuity, and trauma response teams in large impact events and has developed policies, practices, resources and training related to emergency management, trauma response and business continuity.  Pamela has led the Saskatoon Emergency Respone for Extreme Cold Weather in Saskatoon that brings over 40 community partners, government agencies and funding partners together to provide access to a safe location for all residents during extreme cold.

I believe in authentic and challenging partnerships and in honouring the expertise of others.  I am proud to be a member of the Saskatoon Fire Department and the work we are doing in community safety and well-being. 


The Sanctum Survivor Challenge is an opportunity to continue to learn about Saskatoon from a different point of view and to increase the awareness of the work of Sanctum and other community partners. It is humbling to have been asked.


Oncology Pharmacist & Content Creator

Venessa Liang

Venessa is a proud Chinese Canadian, Oncology Pharmacist, who passionately explores the world of food through her platform @foodiepharmbabe. Known as a passionate Saskatoon local foodie, she embraces authenticity and shares the diverse richness of food cultures. Venessa loves to travel the world in search of culinary experiences, fostering open conversations and celebrating the unique differences in food cultures globally, encouraging approachability for all backgrounds and identities


Any positive impact I can make for my local community is reason enough to take on the challenge. This challenge is a privilege and not a choice for so many.



Executive Director, Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation

Raissa Bugyi

Raissa is the Executive Director of the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation, serving urban and rural parishes by stewarding gifts to specific missions, but also sees the opportunity to educate donors on the needs of the broader community.

Raissa is also on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, has served on Big Sisters of Saskatoon, and was part of the Canadian Figure Skating Association. She is a mother to 4 children and hopes to encourage them through her service.

“In my professional role, I am a strong advocate against human trafficking and homelessness, as well as for the shelter at St. Mary’s. Being part of a 12-step support group, I understand the importance of support. I believe we are all called to share our gifts and ask God to help us with our weaknesses.”


I hope to gain insight into people’s challenges in our city and work with others to find solutions that will last a lifetime.


President and Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Health

Corey Miller

Emmanuel Health operates 13 publicly funded Catholic healthcare facilities serving patients, residents and families in 10 communities throughout Saskatchewan. These facilities include acute care hospitals and health centers, long term care and rehab facilities, an addictions center, seniors housing, community day programs for seniors and a palliative care hospice. Prior to this role, Corey was the Vice President, Provincial Programs at Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), overseeing the delivery of safe, high quality health care across a board clinical portfolio including Medical Imaging, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Critical Care, Cardio Sciences, Neuro Sciences, Maternal & Children’s Services, EMS, and Kidney Health for the entire province of Saskatchewan.

Miller is no stranger to health care, fundraising, and community building in Saskatchewan over the past 33 years. Corey was a board member for the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital from 2019-2020 and a board member with the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan until 2022. Corey is proud to make Saskatoon home with his wife Tanya and their two daughters.


I am participating in the Sanctum challenge because I am supportive of the amazing work that the entire Sanctum team and Board of Directors do in supporting those most vulnerable in our community. Any opportunity for me to support, advocate, and bring attention to Sanctum’s great work I am pleased to participate. I am honoured and humbled to walk along aside our community members.


Minister of Advanced Education and MLA for Saskatoon Northwest

Gordon Wyant

Gordon Wyant was elected MLA for Saskatoon Northwest in an October 2010 by-election. He was then re-elected in the 2011, 2016 and 2020 provincial elections.

Gordon currently serves as Minister of Advanced Education. He was previously Deputy Premier, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister of Education, and Minister responsible for SaskBuilds and Priority Saskatchewan.

Raised in Saskatoon, Gordon was the first Canadian-born member of his family. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in 1985, and graduated from the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan in 1986. Shortly after convocation, Gordon began practicing law with the firm of McKercher LLP, where he practiced as a partner until his appointment as Attorney General. In 1987, Gordon received an award for highest standing in the 1987 Bar Admission course. He received his King’s Counsel designation in 2009.

Since 2000, Gordon has been an active public servant. He was elected as trustee for the Saskatoon Public School Board in 2000 and served as chair for two years. He was elected city councillor for Ward 5 in 2003 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2009.

Gordon and his wife Christine Hrudka have four children. In addition to his family, Gordon enjoys writing, skiing and motorcycling. He is also the proud recipient of the Sterling Writing Award, awarded in 1999.


When I walk alongside people in our community, I can better understand their circumstances. It’s only 36 hours, but this time is all part of understanding the issues that people face.


Vice President Projects Potash, BHP

Simon Thomas

Simon is the Vice President Projects Potash, at BHP. He has more than 30 years’ experience in capital project delivery across the oil & gas, mining & minerals processing, materials handling, agriculture, and manufacturing industries.

Simon is currently responsible for the successful delivery of the BHP Potash asset, which is a multi-billion-dollar investment to develop Jansen Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Prior to Potash, Simon was Project Director of the BHP South Flank Project, General Manager of Operations and previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Veris Limited.

Simon is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Melbourne.


Simon believes that everyone deserves dignity and respect, especially our community’s most vulnerable. He hopes that through his participation in Sanctum it will highlight the plights impacting members of our community that don’t always get the voice and support they need.


Executive Director, National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATAO) and The Vice Chair, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Chris Sicotte

Chris Sicotte is a proud Cree/Métis member of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (formerly Nelson House First Nation) in Treaty 5 territory, with family ties to Cumberland House and the Red River Métis Settlement. He serves as the Executive Director of the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATOA) since October 2022, after a 30-year career in financial services. Chris has worked across Canada on providing financial services and advice to First Nations governments, Tribal Councils, Métis governments, and entrepreneurs.

Chris is the Board Chair of Sparrow Hawk Developments, a Director of the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC). He has chaired various organizations, including the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and the City of Saskatoon’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Committee. Chris was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal (Saskatchewan) in March 2023 for his volunteer work.

He is a sought-after speaker on Indigenous Economic Development, Finance, and Urban Reserve development, and actively promotes community building between Indigenous and newcomer Canadian communities, as well as the inter-faith community of Saskatoon.

Chris lives in Saskatoon (Treaty 6 territory) with his wife Darlene Okemaysim-Sicotte, is stepfather to four adult children, and proud grandfather of four grandsons and one granddaughter.


I am participating in the Sanctum Challenge because, personally, as an Indigenous person, and professionally, as a leader in Indigenous business and economic development, I want to better understand the factors contributing to homelessness. By walking in someone else’s shoes, for a brief amount of time, I hope to gain insights that can inform and improve my work in addressing this issue.


Get Involved

2024 Sanctum 36 Hour Challenge

On May 30 & 31st, community leaders will experience challenges related to homelessness and chronic disease in Saskatoon as part of the Sanctum 36-Hour Challenge. Participants will be given tasks to complete, each task will aim to demonstrate certain challenges that society is often unaware of, but which are an everyday reality for people who experience homelessness and chronic disease in our community. Participants will wear donated clothes and shoes. They will not be allowed any personal belongings other than a phone to update the public on their journey.

The event itself is both powerful and unprecedented. It attempts to shed light on the intense hardship faced by people who experience poverty, homelessness and chronic disease here in Saskatoon.

Sanctum Care Group Inc. acknowledges that the 36-hour homelessness experience by no means accurately depicts the numerous barriers and complex issues faced by people who survive daily in poverty and homelessness. However, Sanctum Care Group Inc. believes that drawing awareness to some of the many challenges will be a catalyst for real and lasting change.

In our effort to raise awareness, follow us on social media as community leaders share their experience throughout the 36 hour challenge.