One of the fabulous things about supporting the AMBI Gala is that you are not only giving to a worthy cause, but you have the opportunity to meet some fascinating individuals. Take Ben Soave, for example. Here, we have a gentleman who has a spent a lifetime helping others—and he isn't finished.
Mr. Soave dedicated 35 years serving our country as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), during which time he worked tirelessly, particularly in the areas of organized crime and terrorism. He spent 15 years in foreign service, living and working in Singapore, Lima and Rome, with responsibilities in South East Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East. He has witnessed many things, both good and bad, and naturally, has been shaped by these experiences and come to appreciate the value of life.
“I've had the good fortune and blessing to enrich my personal and professional experience working in [troubled areas], seeing poverty, [the varying] politics—I'm forever thankful for that as it gives me a better understanding of issues and I can relate to them,” says Mr. Soave.
Since his retirement as Chief Superintendent from the RCMP in 2005, Mr. Soave has undertaken numerous ventures, including the launch of Ben Soave Associates Inc. The company specializes in security and risk management as well as intelligence consulting.
It is under this identity that Mr. Soave came to be involved with the inaugural 2015 AMBI Gala.
Security measures are an important consideration for many events, but due to the magnitude of the guest list—royalty, politicians, executives—it was important to ensure that proper procedures were being followed. Mr. Soave's role was to liaise and coordinate with security teams to ensure the safety and security of guests, and to provide guidance and advice to AMBI through the planning stages.
“It was an honour for me to be asked and be able to contribute,” says Mr. Soave. “I believe in the [Prince Albert II of Monaco] Foundation and what [the Prince] is trying to do with the environment and sustainability. All that is in line with my beliefs and values.”
Mr. Soave's ventures and interests go beyond security. He is active in his community, including the recent incorporation of 2 Kids With Love, a charity co-founded by two Toronto children, Serena and Alessandro, and which already has two projects underway: the building of a school in a poverty-stricken area of Mexico, and a school for the blind in Cuba.
Mr. Soave also works actively in the healthcare field, in a manner that takes advantage of his international experience, while continuing his quest to help others.
A ‘matter of opportunity’ is a key concept behind the existence of Global HealthQuest. Mr. Soave and business partner Ms. Rosemary Toscani, a Registered Rehabilitation Professional, operate the company, which helps to connect Canadians with alternative opportunities to heal through healthcare services found in Cuba, Mexico, Thailand and Costa Rica.
Global HealthQuest caters to clients who are looking to improve the quality of their lives by escaping wait-lists or seeking alternative treatments.
“Health tourism is a huge global market. People are looking for phenomenal health treatment at good prices—people want treatment while feeling like they are on holidays—and people are taking advantage of it,” explains Mr. Soave.
The leap from security to healthcare came about thanks to his cousin, Dominic Soave.
“He was the first foreigner to be authorized by the Cuban government to publish a magazine about Cuba, outside Cuba,” Mr. Soave says with pride. Through the magazine, CubaPLUS, Mr. Soave learned about health care and medical advancements in Cuba, and became fascinated with the concept of health tourism. “It's amazing when you learn what Cuba has done with all the disadvantages it has—yet it has survived and made discoveries in medicine. Disadvantage forced them to focus on prevention. They've made phenomenal advancements.”
With one doctor per 150 people in Cuba, the level of attention is much greater than can be found in Canadian cities, and some types of care can happen much more rapidly than here at home.
“Patients have access to concentrated therapy they couldn't afford in Canada, explains Mr. Soave. “For a decent price, individuals can receive extensive therapy from start to finish.” Global HealthQuest focuses primarily on rehabilitation services (physical, neurological and addictions), common surgeries, such as knee replacements, for which there are often long waits in Canada, and some alternative medical treatments for a variety of conditions, including cancer.
The firm works hand-in-hand with patients through the entire process, from preliminary inquiries through to follow-up and transfer of care upon return. Company representatives will match clients with appropriate medical partners in the destination country, assist with consent forms, medical reports and travel arrangements.
“We know the doctors, the facilities, the treatments and the downside, such as language, and we explain all this so there is a full understanding of what to expect and the challenges that will be faced,” says Mr. Soave, who adds that medical expertise and equipment is on par with Canada.
“We are passionate about what we do. We care about patients and we have a lot of confidence. If we didn't have that, we wouldn't send patients there.”
For more information on Global HealthQuest, visit globalhealthquest.ca.