I’m a terrible volunteer. Once, I went to an elementary school to help Breakfast Club of Canada serve food to children who would otherwise start the day hungry.
In no time at all, there was an obvious bottleneck at my station (I was put in charge of handing out milk cartons AND straws). So the stint basically turned into a photo session. It was a hit with the teachers, but the kids completely ignored me. They were much more interested in the chocolate milk being passed out by a volunteer mom who obviously knew what she was doing.
I’m also someone who’s been very fortunate in life. So I give back, and always have. There are a number of causes that resonate with me, a number of injustices that I feel need to be righted, and when I don’t know what else to do, I give money.
Which I often do haphazardly. If I switch on the TV and I happen upon a telethon with Luc De Larochellière singing SI FRAGILE to a sick child, I start sobbing and dial the number at the bottom of the screen, as my tears drench the receiver and my credit card. (Claude Dubois singing SI DIEU EXISTE to a child with Down syndrome does the same thing to me.) The problem is, if I hadn’t come across the show by accident, it wouldn’t ever have occurred to me to make a donation.
When Christmas rolls around, I send in my donations to Moisson Montréal, Refuge des Jeunes and other places that help the marginalized after I spot one of their ads and listen to the charming spokespeople doing the media rounds to remind me of their existence. Would I have thought to give otherwise? I’d like to think so, but I’m not so sure.
And yet, it’s hard to forget Sainte-Justine. I’m the ambassador for the Foundation, and the hospital has saved my son’s life twice. No mystery there. So I’ve made a donation to them every year, without fail. And it’s something I’ll never forget to do.
Why? Because my annual donation has become a monthly donation. It gets charged to my credit card automatically. I simply pick the amount that suits me and I don’t give it a second thought.
Kids can get sick any time of year, whatever the season, whether or not we’re in the middle of a pandemic, whether the economy is growing or shrinking. Illness never takes a break and doesn’t adapt to fluctuations in our portfolio. It’s sneaky and surreptitious. Horrible and life-threatening.
Join me in giving monthly to the hospital that’s here for all children across Quebec.
A huge thank you on their behalf,Guy A Lepage
Father and Ambassador of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation
*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.