There are nearly as many reasons to support the children at Sainte-Justine as there are donors. Some people become donors because they care deeply about children; others want to give back to their communities or build a healthier future for generations to come. Still others have a personal connection to Sainte-Justine. This is the case for Suzanne Violette and Pierre Bédard, a couple who chose to make a lasting impact on our university hospital centre through a bequest.
“When you give to a cause you’re passionate about, the love comes back to you tenfold. And that feels really good. It’s incredibly fulfilling.”
CHU Sainte-Justine has held a special place in Pierre’s heart ever since his first wife, Candide, who died of cancer at the age of 49, worked there as a pediatric nurse. The couple had no children, but Candide treated all the kids at Sainte-Justine as if they were her own, with boundless kindness and love.
“When the time came to make my will, it seemed obvious to include the Foundation as a beneficiary,” says Pierre. “The work they do at Sainte-Justine is so important, and it meant so much to Candide.”
“And now, thanks to her, we feel like all the children at Sainte-Justine are a part of our family,” adds Suzanne Violette.
Finding a family in Sainte-Justine
Planning a bequest to Sainte-Justine also held special meaning for Suzanne.
A retired disability and group insurance manager, Suzanne had dreamed of having a big family with lots of children to love ever since she was a little girl. But, at the age of 25, a medical condition forced her to abandon her hopes of one day giving birth. She and her spouse at the time looked into adopting, but the couple separated before Suzanne’s wish could come true.
“Since only couples could adopt back then, I had to give up on my dream of having children,” explains Suzanne. “It was a very difficult mourning process for me. But, with time, I realized that Sainte-Justine is one big family, and I could be a part of it, too!”
“I don’t have any children of my own, but if my gift can change the life of even one child or one family, I’ll be satisfied that I’ve left a positive impact on the world.”
The couple hope that their donation will help advance knowledge in pediatrics and further the development of less invasive treatments for children.
“We know, for example, that thanks to research, most cancer treatments are more effective than ever before, and cancer patients have a better quality of life,” says Suzanne. “We learned that first-hand, since Pierre has had cancer twice. That’s why we feel it’s so important to support the development of better treatments for childhood cancers.”
Finally, Pierre and Suzanne emphasize that you don’t have to be wealthy to make a gift in your will: “We’re middle class. People often assume that you have to be rich to donate, but in reality, there’s no gift too small.”
“You don’t have to be rich to be generous and empathetic. If you have the means to sit down, think about a cause you care about, and make a donation, then it’s important to do so.”