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All Roads Lead to Sainte-Justine

Johanne Viau has long felt drawn to supporting children’s health — first as a volunteer, then as a notary at the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation. She recently decided to take her commitment to the next level by including Sainte-Justine in her will.

Since 2011, Johanne, in her role as a notary for the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, has talked to many donors interested in leaving a legacy of wellness for future generations, either through a charitable bequest in their will or a gift of life insurance.

She felt inspired to share this experience, and this prompted her to make a provision in her own will to benefit Sainte-Justine.

“I remember when I gave birth, my doctor said that, for her own delivery, she decided not to have an epidural so she could feel what her patients felt,” said Johanne. “That got me thinking. I figured I should do the same thing by including a bequest in my will so I can understand the process from the point of view of the donors I work with.”

“Now that I have made these arrangements, I feel like I’m in a better position to help people who are thinking about taking this route. I know first-hand what’s going on inside their head, because I’ve been there myself.”

Johanne made sure to talk to her partner and two daughters about her decision so they were aware of her intentions. Her family was very supportive, and her daughters said they would be proud to carry out her wishes when the time came.

I explained to my family why this donation means so much to me. I’ve worked for Sainte-Justine, I’ve contributed to the Foundation, and I want my support to live on after I’m gone, to the extent I’m able to make it happen.
Johanne Viau Notary and donor
Johanne Viau and her daughter, Dr. Annabelle Briand © Véronique Lavoie

A family affair

Johanne’s connection to Sainte-Justine goes beyond work. And it runs deep. Many people in her family are linked to the hospital in one way or another.

Her partner was born here. Her father-in-law was involved in the construction of the hospital during his 30+ years as a foreman. And her daughter is on the verge of finishing the fourth year of her pediatrics residency at Sainte-Justine, with a subspecialty in intensive care.

When we asked her daughter, Dr. Annabelle Briand, what she thought of her mother’s donation, she said she wasn’t surprised by her act of generosity.

“My mother has always been a role model for me,” she said. “One of the reasons I love pediatrics is because of how rewarding it is to work so closely with families and children. I came by that honestly. My mother has such a warm and caring way about her, in life and in her job, and that’s something that inspires me every day in my dealings with my patients.”

The longer you spend as a doctor, the more you realize how important charitable giving is to Sainte-Justine, be it through research, patient care or teaching. We’re very lucky to work in a place that is equipped with the latest technology, but that wouldn’t be the case without people’s donations.
Annabelle Briand, MD Daughter of Johanne Viau and pediatric resident at Sainte-Justine
Dr. Annabelle Briand, pediatric resident at Sainte-Justine © Véronique Lavoie

A meaningful gesture

Johanne wanted to maximize the impact of her bequest, which is why she opted to make it an unrestricted gift, leaving Sainte-Justine the freedom to allocate funds toward the areas of greatest need.

“I trust the teams at Sainte-Justine to use the money wisely and put it to work where it’s most needed. They’re the best people to decide how it should be used. They know where it will make the biggest difference.”

Her message to people who aren’t sure whether a charitable bequest is right for them is simple: “Just do it!”

“It feels incredibly gratifying,” she said. “I’ve been lucky to have two healthy children, but not everyone can say the same thing. I’m not a healthcare professional myself, so the next best thing I can do to help is make a donation. And if I can afford it, why not?”

Tell us your story!

Are you committed to building a healthier future for our children? Have you included the Foundation in your will, or are you planning to do so? We want to hear your story!

Nathalie Gagnon

Your contact information will be sent to Nathalie Gagnon, Director, Planned Giving, and Legal Advisor.


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