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A Loving Legacy for Our Children

Francine Lebel

“Children have always held an important place in my heart. They’re our future: they’re the ones who will build the society of tomorrow. And I know that they’re not all born with the same opportunities.” 

Having worked for 35 years with youth as a remedial teacher, Francine Lebel deeply cares about children and has long known that she wants her legacy to help transform their lives. Recently, she chose to make a life insurance donation to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation to make a concrete impact on the evolution of pediatric health care. 

“When we think about what we’re going to leave behind when we’re gone, we often think about our inner circle, our kids. But I think it’s just as important to think about what we’re going to give back to society. What are we leaving behind to build a better world for future generations?”

Over the course of her career, Francine has worked with many children with learning disabilities and various mental and physical health problems. Because of this, she knows all about the excellent care and support that Sainte-Justine provides children and their families, and just how important it is. She understands that care provided in childhood does more to secure a better future for patients than interventions provided at any other stage of life. 

“When I listen to the news and hear about children who have health problems or who are being abused, it always sticks with me,” says Francine. “I think to myself, Sainte-Justine has to be able to help these kids so that they can flourish and reach their full potential.” 

Inspired by people who care 

Philanthropy has been a part of Francine’s life for many years. But it was when illness struck her husband, Raymond Charbonneau, in 2017, that she felt the urgency to think more seriously about her legacy. She was greatly inspired by Raymond’s generosity. He wanted to leave a meaningful legacy that reflected his own love for children. 

“Raymond was a geography teacher, so young people were extremely important to him, too,” says Francine. “He would always ask me: ‘When it’s my time to go, what am I going to leave behind for society?’ When he died, there were scholarships created in his name for education students. And that inspired me. I thought, ‘When I die, I want to leave my mark, too.’” 

Francine was also touched by her meeting with a remedial teacher at CHU Sainte-Justine a few years earlier. She told Francine about the invaluable impact that Sainte-Justine staff have on the lives of children who are sick or victims of abuse. From that moment on, Francine knew that she wanted to support Sainte-Justine’s mission. 

“The people who work at Sainte-Justine—doctors, nurses, social workers—are there because they care about the well-being of children, just like me. I know that my donation will be used to directly impact children’s lives.”

Learn more about life insurance donations 

Every year, people like Francine help advance pediatric health through bequests or life insurance donations. In doing so, they become part of the Future Fund. 

When you plan a donation to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, you’re making a positive, lasting commitment that has the power to transform children’s lives. You’re making the gift of a lifetime in service of a brighter future. 

To learn more about bequests and life insurance donations, or any other kind of planned gift, please contact Nathalie Gagnon, Director of Planned Giving and Legal Advisor, at or 514-345-4931, extension 6749. 

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