Generosity is a learned virtue — and one that can be spread. Philanthropy came into my life partly out of a sense of duty and partly out of a sense of curiosity. And it’s never gone away. As a father and a man of conviction, I decided to get involved with Sainte-Justine and help build a healthier future for the generations to come.
I was born in Saint-Georges de Beauce. My father worked as a lumberjack, carpenter, construction foreman and site superintendent before founding Pomerleau, the company he built with his own hands and operated from our small family home on 18e Rue until I was seven years old. He worked very hard to grow the business he would eventually turn over to my brother and myself. In the decades since those humble beginnings, Pomerleau has built hospitals, schools and universities, and has grown into a leader in the Canadian construction industry, creating tomorrow’s living environments with a focus on sustainability and uncompromising excellence.
I tend to believe that one good deed inspires another. I have been shaped by my father’s integrity and passion for great work, great ideas and great people. And I have enthusiastically lent my support to some wonderful causes over the past 30 years. Making life better for our kids is one such cause that has been near and dear to my heart since my own children were born at Sainte-Justine. My son, Louis-Philippe, was a preemie. He started out his life in the neonatal unit where he overcame a few complications that, thankfully, were not as serious as they could’ve been.
I still think how lucky I was — how lucky he was — that things turned out as well as they did. Every day at Sainte-Justine, there are parents who are processing the news of a diagnosis or coping with the realities of caring for a sick child. One of our employees at Pomerleau recently let me know that she is one of these parents…
For them and for families across Quebec, I wanted to take on a new and meaningful challenge. I wanted to have an even greater impact on children’s health. That’s why I was honoured to step into the role of chair of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s Board of Directors in April. I plan to do everything I can, with all due humility and sincerity, to help the next generation, and the organization itself, grow beyond their current bounds. Because nothing is more important than that.
As a father, I have every confidence in Sainte-Justine. I know that here the potential for pushing research and health care forward is practically limitless, especially given how recent advances in genomics, data science and artificial intelligence are changing the way patients are treated.
Early intervention is key to keeping our children as healthy as possible and safeguarding their future. The younger they are when we address their needs, the more decisive the impact on their entire life trajectory.
But I can’t do any of this on my own. It takes an entire village to raise a child — and an entire village to heal them when they’re sick. A village where every child and every parent can turn to caring, compassionate people like you for support.
We have a responsibility to work together to forge a better world and to offer ever-growing quality of care on an ever-growing human scale. Together, we have the power to transform the lives of children and families from across the province.
This is the pledge I am committed to delivering on with your help.
Father of three and CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation Board Chair
*The remarks expressed in this article reflect the opinion solely of the author and should not be considered as representative of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.