Charly wasn’t even a month old when he was wheeled into the operating room for heart surgery at Sainte-Justine. Inspired by his epic strength and grateful to his super-caregivers, his family will serve as ambassadors for the very first Halloween Hunt for Sainte-Justine ─ Superhero Edition, on October 28, 2021.
Only 23 days after he was born, Charly was back at the hospital. He was having difficulty breathing, and he had a cough that wouldn’t let up. His parents, Marie-Ève and Olivier, were worried. At Sainte-Justine, the results of a cardiac ultrasound blasted them into an alternate universe: one where their infant son had a heart defect. A coarctation of the aorta, to be precise. His little heart was working far too hard. He was rushed into the operating room in a matter of hours.
Marie-Ève and Olivier were overcome with fear. They clasped on to the only glimmer of hope they had: the knowledge that Charly was in the hands of the superheroes of the world of pediatric medicine. That went a long way in putting their troubled minds at ease.
Just before the operation, Dr. Pierre-Luc Bernier, Charly’s cardiac surgeon, had a word with Olivier, who was visibly shaken by the idea of his infant son being put through something like this. “In our world, this is a routine operation. It’s pretty standard stuff.” And that’s when it dawned on Olivier that they were indeed in the presence of a powerful team of superheroes.
The operation was a success. Charly slowly but surely made his way back to the business of being a baby. After three intense weeks, he was sent home. That’s when Marie-Ève and Olivier started to realize how fortunate they were. Thanks to the expertise of the teams at Sainte-Justine and the donors who support them so generously, their son was on the mend. And they already knew they wanted to find a way to express their gratitude.
Our experience at Sainte-Justine was incredible. Despite all the emotions we went through, the teams managed to make things pleasant for us… well, almost pleasant! (laughter) No matter how worried, sad or powerless I was, seeing Charly suffer, I always felt an amazing sense of humanity radiating from these superheroes, who save children’s lives every day.
Olivier, Charly’s dad
Now three years old, Charly is a super-bundle of energy. The only reminder of what he endured is a tiny scar, and the twice-yearly checkups at Sainte-Justine he’ll have until he turns 18.
Giving back, paying it forward
It was during a donor recognition activity through his employer, National Bank, that Olivier had the opportunity to tour one of the labs at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre in 2019, only a few months after Charly’s operation. Coincidentally, he ended up talking to a surgeon who specializes in his son’s condition.
Olivier got his chance to say thank you once again to the teams of Sainte-Justine. Because of these researchers and the generous donors who believe in them, pediatric medicine is advancing at the speed of light and saving more lives than ever. This is a fact that continues to strike Olivier to this day.
After Charly’s experience at Sainte-Justine, we started donating monthly to the Foundation. There’s definitely a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ in our case. Knowing what it’s like to be there, we really get the importance of donations. It puts everything in perspective. I mean, what’s a few dollars when it comes to supporting the hospital that saved our son?
Olivier, Charly’s dad
Putting the “fun” in “fundraising”
Olivier works for National Bank, a CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation partner for many years and the presenting sponsor of the Halloween Hunt ─ Superhero Edition. Motivated by the quality of the care his family received at Sainte-Justine and by a strong urge to give back, Olivier is committed to raising funds for the Foundation, along with his partner, Marie-Ève, and their children, Charly and Lara, through this event. Together, they are determined to rally as many people as they can around this very worthy cause.
The Halloween Hunt invites the entire Montreal business community to take part in this “spook-tacular” event that will put teams to the test with a series of brain teasers and skill-testing challenges ─ all with the goal of raising $250,000 in support of Sainte-Justine.
On October 28, 2021, join us as we celebrate the inaugural edition of this one-of-a-kind event honouring the true superheroes of Sainte-Justine: young patients like Charly and the people who care for them.